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Purana Qila ancient artefacts to be showcased in on site museum

Among some of the valuable artefacts found during digging in Purana Qila was Vaikuntha Vishnu (Pics. Courtesy PIB)

The latest ongoing excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India in Purana Qila in Delhi has yielded rich dividends so far in terms of artefacts and relics.

The diggings which commenced in January this year as reported by India Narrative aims to establish a complete chronology of the historic site. At present, the exploration has exposed structures from the early Kushana period, with a depth of 5.50 meters reached thus far.

Purana Qila Gaja Laxmi
Gaja Laxmi

It is expected that this round of excavation will provide further insights into the ancient city of Indraprastha.

So far, the diggings have yielded a remarkable collection of artefacts. Notable findings include a stone image of Vaikuntha Vishnu, a terracotta plaque of Gaja Laxmi, a stone image of Ganesha, seals and sealings, coins, terracotta figurines of humans and animals, beads of various stones, and a bone needle. Along with other items like pottery and antiquity objects, these will offer valuable insights into the ancient civilization and trade activities at the site.

The objects reveal a continuous existence of human habitation and activities spanning 2500 years, underscoring the importance of Purana Qila. More than 136 coins and 35 seals and sealings have been discovered from a small excavated area, indicating the site’s pivotal role as a centre for trade activities.

G. Kishan Reddy, the Union Minister of Culture and Tourism visited the Purana Qila site to inspect the excavation yesterday. Talking to the media, he said: “This is the only site in Delhi NCR where one can witness the continuous history of Delhi from the Pre-Mauryan to Mughal period through the excavated remains. The findings showcase the rich cultural heritage of our country.”

The Minister made a significant announcement during his visit when he said: “The excavated remains will be preserved, conserved, and provided with a shed. The site will be showcased as an Open Air Site Museum, allowing visitors to experience the rich historical legacy of Delhi.”

The remains discovered in Purana Qila will also serve an important attraction for the G20 Summit delegates which is scheduled to be held in Delhi in September 2023.

There have been several excavations conducted in Purana Qila in the past. Notable among them are the ones headed by Padma Shri Prof. B.B. Lal in 1955 and 1969-73, followed by excavations led by ASI’s Dr. Vasant Kumar Swarnkar in 2013-14 and 2017-18.

The efforts of these diggings have brought to the fore nine cultural levels, representing different historical periods, including Pre-Mauryan, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Post Gupta, Rajput, Sultanate, and Mughal.

Also read: Fresh round of excavation to begin at Delhi’s Purana Quila