More than two months after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began excavations at the Purana Qila in Delhi, the heritage conservation body is all set to put out the unearthed artefacts for public viewing on the World Heritage Day this Friday.
The ASI has found several artefacts from ancient and medieval periods, including Mauryan, Kushan, Gupta, Rajput and Delhi Sultanate empires. “Purana Qila is a rare site that has antiquities belonging to eras several centuries old. It was a trade route and one of the most popular sites to settle down in, right from the time of the Mauryan empire upto Mughal period.
We found seals of Gupta period with letters in Brahmi script, pottery, sculpted works, terracotta figurines from Kushan period and a Vishnu idol of the Rajput period,” ASI (Delhi) Superintendent Archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarankar told Newsline. He said the 18-cm-tall stone idol, which has conch and a chakra (wheel), the symbols of Lord Vishnu, was found at the southeastern corner of the Purana Qila excavation site.
The recent excavations were undertaken four decades after the last digging-up at the Purana Qila. Earlier works were carried out in 1955 and later, between 1969 and1973.
“Since we are excavating at the Purana Qila after a gap of 40 years, it is important that the public sees what we are doing. So we decided to put together an exhibition displaying everything we found. Volunteers will be posted at the location to explain the historical significance of each piece,” Swarankar said. “The public will also be able to see how an excavation is done.”
ASI is also planning to put artefacts on display permanently for the public. The project has received the green signal from authorities and efforts are being made to put them on display permanently.