M.L. Melly Maitreyi
Submersion of Kotalingala village by the Yellampally project looming large
The 120-acre site is now home to remnants of fort, stupa, ancient Siva temple and more
‘Paithan and Kondapur are the two sites among the five only Sathavahana sites excavated’
HYDERABAD: Will the foot-prints of the only pre-Sathavahana period in the country be erased forever as the Archaeology department is yet to commence a systematic excavation of the Kotalingala site in Karimnagar district?
With the prospect of submersion of Kotalingala village by the Yellampally project looming large, numismatists and archaeologists fear Kotalingala site may end up Kondapur way. This fact is corroborated by late P. L. Gupta, renowned numismatist and founder director of Indian Institute of Research in Numismatics Studies, in his 1972 publication on ‘Sathavahana coins from excavations’. “Paithan and Kondapur are the two sites in Andhra among the five only Sathavahana sites excavated by Archaeology department during Nizam’s rule.
Paithan is said to be the ancient Pratishthana, the capital of Sathavahanas. Yet the two great archaeological sites had gone waste as neither systematic excavation was done nor report on what work had been done was published.
Thus vital links that would have helped numismatic scholars to fix the chronology of the kings were lost,” Gupta wrote. After Independence, Dhulikatta and Peda Bonkuru excavations too met the same fate. Even in the case of well preserved Nagarjunakonda, though over 3,000 coins were found, no report was published even after four decades and none knows the fate of those coins belonging to Ikshvaku kings. A report only spoke about 214 coins.
As Kotalingala excavations taken up by the Archaeology department during 1978-83 threw up invaluable and exciting numismatic evidences of pre-Sathavahana period, including antiquity of Telugu language in comparison with other Dravidian languages-- it was resolved by the Archaeology department then to take up a detailed and systematic excavations at Kotalingala.
The 120-acre site in the village is now home to remnants of fort, stupa, ancient Siva temple, open wells and connecting channels to know more about pre-Sathavahana period, not documented anywhere. But the Archaeology department took 13 years to bring out the report last year on Kotalingala coins. And what worries one is that no concrete plans have been drawn up yet for a thorough excavation of Kotalingala site even as clearance has been given to irrigation department to go ahead with the Yellampally project.
Precious time is being lost bringing the village close to submergence every day, says numismatist Dr. D. Raja Reddy with several research publications to his credit and co-author of a book on Kotalingala coins.
The Archaeology department officials maintain that the submergence would not affect the earmarked excavation site and a wall could be built to make it an island.