Monday, January 21, 2008

CHOTANAGPUR (JHARKHAND) WAS THE LANKA OF RAMAYANA?

WAS CHOTANAGPUR (JHARKHAND), THE LANKA OF RAMAYANA?
By
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi.
At present many Indian news channels are searching the historical records of the Lord Ram and place of incidents in Ramayana in country of Sri Lanka as well as in India. After the Ram Setu controversy many of us are showing interest regarding the existence of Lord Ram and his warriors. Recently I found an old research report in my Home Library. Report is regarding the site of the Lanka during the Ramayana age.
Report was published by historian Mr. H.D. Sankalia in the year 1971 in the Statesman news paper dated 5/10/1971. According to the report Chotanagpur (Jharkhand State) was the Lanka of Ramayana.

Sankalia is of the opinion that the Ramayana belongs to early iron-age and the Lanka in the holy epic can not be the island of Ceylon (Lanka). According to him, the Lanka of the Ramayana was somewhere in the Chotanagpur Plateau (Ranchi and Hazaribag district) of Jharkhand State of India and the ‘Vanaras’ and ‘Raksasas’ were the merely the Adivasis (tribe) of the area. Asurs were the early settlers in the Jharkhand. He has deduced from archaeological, geographical and botanical interpretation of the clues in the epics. His theory is that the story or the various incidents could have taken place in present Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand Plateau and Eastern Madhya Pradesh as early as 1,500 B.C.
He has sited excavations at Kausambi, Prahladpur, Chirand, Sonpur etc. to reveal the existence of a settled way of life about circa 2,000-1,500 B.C. These earlier cultures were destroyed or displaced by an iron-manufacturing people as is evident from archaeological findings at Mahisadal and Rajar-Dhipi.
In Ranchi district alone are found Asur forts and cemeteries. Over a hundred villages scattered through this region have Asur sites of this “long ancient people”, who were thought by the Mundas as a tall, huge limbed race of Herculean strength, having a much higher civilization. Asur graves are in irregular order and are marked by the slabs. The roof stones are generally 8 feet and sometimes 10 to 12 feet long.

He concludes that the critical edition of Ramayana belongs to the early iron age. “ this is amply proved by the repeated references to weapons of ‘Kalayasa’, Karsayasa’ and ‘Ayasa’ definitely means iron and not copper. At that time in Jharkhand iron smelting by the Asur tribes was flourishing industry. “The iron chest (box) with eight wheels in which the bow of Rudra was kept and which Rama alone could wield, requires highly advanced iron technology.

Ramrekha Pahar (hill) in sylvan surroundings about 25 miles west of Simdega town South of Ranchi district, it is a place of pilgrimage as well as beauty spot. According to Ranchi Gazetteer Lord Ram with his consort Sita and his brother Lakshman spent here a part of their exile. Ramrekha is so called because it is said to possess the footprints of Ram. There is a cave assiciated with the sojourn of Ram during his period of exile. Near the cave is Jalkunda (waterpit) called Ram Ganga, said to have been excavated by Ram through the stroke of his mighty arrow for bathing. This kund resembles a bow. It is deep and has a permanent flow of water. Its water is credited with properties to cure leprosy.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
email: rch_nitishp@sancharnet.in
nitish.priyadarshi@gmail.com
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