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Semi–precious beads found in Asurgarh, Kalahandi

The Asurgarh (Fort of Asura) near Narla in Kalahandi was an ancient metropolis that existed from 500 BC to 500 AD. Findings from the pre-historic Stone Age and Copper-Bronze Age have been found from Asurgarh. Around 2000 years ago, a well civilized, urbanized, cultured people inhabited this land mass when Asurgarh, near Rupra Road in Kalahandi, was one of the oldest metropolis in Odisha. The other one was Sisupalgarh (of Kalinga) near Bhubaneswar. Asurgarh served as the political - cultural and commercial hub of the Taitilaka Janapada and Atavikas during 500 - 100 BC.


From the 1st to 3rd century AD, Ancient Kalahandi (Atavika land) had commercial and socio-cultural relationship with the Chedi of Kalinga and Kushan Empire of the northwest. In the Amaravati stupa inscription the land is designated as Mahavana.

In 335 AD, Kalinga had lost its pristine glory and was reduced into small principalities. The Gupta emperor Samudragupta thus attacked Kosala and Kantara or Mahakantara in course of his Deccan campaign and defeated king Vyagraraja and Kantara, but restored his kingdom. The emperor, in order to perpetuate the memory of the heroic fight of Vyagraraja, introduced the Tiger type of Gold Coin in the Gupta Empire.

In 5th century AD Sanskritization in Odisha was first started from Kalahandi – Koraput [ancient Kantara]. Kalahandi was the cradle of Stambeswari Creed in 5th century AD due to sanskritization, which was a forerunner of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra or Jagannatha Cult. The first Brick Temple in Eastern India was built at Asurgarh during 500 AD, which was the temple of Goddess Stambeswari.


It is almost rectangular in shape, having four gates piercing the surrounding mammoth wall made of brick, rubble and earth.[1] After the wall, a wide and deep moat girdles the fort on three sides respectively, the north, south and east. The fort area measures 24.29 hectares of land. On the west of the fort, the river Sandol flows close to the western rampart towards north to meet the river Utei, a tributary of the Tel, at a distance of about 3 km from the fort site.

Close to the eastern ditch, the builders of the fort excavated a huge water reservoir measuring 200 acres of land. It is popularly known as Asursagar. It has been pointed out that the water of the reservoir could be trained into the ditch of the fort through two sluices gate. On the southwest corner of the fort, another small tank was dug, which is known today as Radhasagar. The Habitation zone of the inhabitants is documented towards the south and north of the fort immediately after the fortified wall. Lowe town or habitation area is further superimposed by another mud wall within 100 hectares radius at each settlement zone, the mud wall has a single gate in the middle.[2][3]


  2. ^ S.C.Behera(ed.), 1980, Interim Excavation Report, Asurgarh, pp 1-7, Sambalpur University
  3. ^ B.Mishra, J. Bengal. Art, 13-14, 2008-2009, 191-228

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