May 3, 2016

About Sanghol

Sanghol, a small village, on top of a mound, is popularly known as Uchcha Pind. Located on Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway, 40 km from Chandigarh, spread over an area of 20 kms. Is in the administrative jurisdiction of Tehsil Khamano, District Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab.

The village, with historical linkages with Harappan civilization is of immense archeological significance in the Indian and international context. A large of number of relics belonging to Harappan civilization (1720 BC – 1300 BC) to 6th century AD, some of which are preserved in the Sanghol Museum, were found here during the excavations carried out by the Archeological Survey of India.

Archeologically, this is one of the most important sites in Punjab, where antiques belonging to different periods in history have been found, particularly Huna coins. Indeed no other site has yielded as many coins of the Huna period, along with coins and seals related to Toramana and Mihirkula belonging to Central Asia.

With great academic and research potentials, Sanghol was an important centre of Buddhism, visited by the Chinese pilgrim Yuan-Chawang during the period 629-645 AD, revealed in his travelogue. It was also the capital of the kingdom of She-to-tu-lo or Satadru, evidently, the land of the river Sutlej is just nine miles from Sanghol, where the remains of an ancient Buddhist Stupa were found during an excavation in 1968. In February 1985, a rich treasure of 117 beautifully carved stone slabs, comprising 69 pillars, 35 crossbars, figures and figurines, was discovered during an excavation carried out by the experts from the Directorate of Archaeology, Punjab. The excavation finds have been identified by expert scholars as Kushan sculptures belonging to the Mathura school of the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. These archeological treasures of immense historical and sociological significance are on display for the artists, art critiques and admirers, historians, tourists and general public in Sanghol Museum. On many a occasions, the ancient artifacts of this museum also requested for display at special exhibitions organized in various museums in India and around the world. Sanghol, a famous village in the area, due to its visibility from the distantly located towns in the surrounding, has mythical tales about its destruction and resurrection number of times, one such is linked to kissa (narrative) Roop Basant. The belief among many in the surrounding villages is that in the ancient times the place was nomenclature Sangla-dweep, signifying an island.

The Hunas, a barbaric, fierce and nomadic central Asian tribe, believed to have invaded India during the time of Skanda Gupta (455-467 AD) through the north-west corridor destroying and plundering the Buddhist cities and monasteries. Sanghol being an important political and trading centre, evident from coins and names, the Hunas settled here and attacked other parts of India. Evidently, having an extremely long history traced along Harappan Civilisation (3000 BC), the people using painted grey ware in the first half of the first millennium BC. The next inhabitants of the site during 700 BC, used black slipped ware. During the rule of the Indo-Parthian King Gondopharnese, in the first century AD, Sanghol constituted an important part of the kingdom. In the Kushana period (1st-3rd century AD), the town was expanded and became a major centre of trade, traffic, religion and art. A large citadel and a series of moats were built to protect residents from outside attack and in recognition of the city’s standing.

A variety of coins and seals of the Kushana rulers were found with Kharoshi and Brahmi scripts. This shows that Sanghol was a very prosperous centre. The Stupa, along with a monastery, was established during this period. During the Gupta period (4th and 5th centuries), it was the seat of a governor or a chieftain, as indicated by the discovery of a large number of seals bearing the legend Sri Maharaja Kapita Niyuktasyadhikarnasys in Gupta script.

In addition, many seals bearing the figures and symbols of principal Hindu gods, namely Vishnu and Siva, as well as some terracotta figurines of Mahishamardini, have been found here. The mound’s surface has also yielded a standard type of gold coin of Samudragupta, one of the most illustrious Gupta kings. Two gold coins with the legend Vasu in Brahmi were also found. Vasu was one of the successors of the imperial Kushanas from the middle of the third century AD.

The vigorous attacks with by the Hunas in the fifth century reduced this town to the ground. In the process of destruction many of the important artifacts were buried, which became evident from the large number of coins of Toramana and Mihirkula, as well as a copper seal of Mihirikula of that time. These artifacts included a gold coin of Kidar Kushana, a silver coin of Samanta Deva and Sapalpata Deva, many others of the Kotas, late Kushanas and a few of Balban. These finds suggests that the site was occupied up to early mediaeval times, after which it was deserted for some period. Further evidence of its reoccupation suggests by the Rajputs of Jaisalmer during the time of Jehangir in the early 17th century. Today Sanghol is home to several communities who live there in complete harmony, a vast site of rolling mounds concealing the remains of those who lived and died there over the centuries.