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Day of lunar eclipse 1,402 years ago marked Chalukya king’s victory over Vardhana emperor

Inscriptions on a copper plate owned by Mumbai-based Raghuveer Pai became a vital link in establishing the day and year in which Chalukya king Pulakeshin II emerged victorious over emperor Harshvardhana.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
May 26, 2021 10:04:11 pm
Copper plates bore the Sanskrit content written in Brahmi script revealing the year of victory as 619 CE. (Pic Courtesy : BORI)

Some parts of the world, including India, witnessed a total lunar eclipse coinciding with Buddha Purnima (Vaishakh Purnima, according to the Hindu calendar) on Wednesday. But it was one such lunar eclipse, also on a Vaishakh Purnima 1,402 years ago, that helped establish the exact day when a Chalukya king defeated a Vardhana emperor, redefining India’s medieval history.

Inscriptions on a copper plate owned by Mumbai-based Raghuveer Pai became a vital link in establishing the day and year in which Chalukya king Pulakeshin II emerged victorious over emperor Harshvardhana.

Pulakeshin II held forts of almost the entire Deccan region of southern India, whereas Harshvardhana’s empire extended across the present-day North and Northwest regions of India.

Until 2016, the historic battle was believed to have taken place sometime between 610 CE (Common Era) and 634 CE. What really helped establish this crucial year of victory was the discovery and study of these copper plates. “The Sanskrit inscriptions in Brahmi script on copper plates revealed the exact date when Vardhana emperor was defeated in 619 CE at the hands of Pulakeshin II,” said Shreenand Bapat, curator and registrar at Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI). It was his work in 2016, using these copper plates, that deciphered the missing year in India’s history.

It is believed that these copper plates — highlighting the victory — were commissioned by Pulakeshin II on Vaishakh Purnima in 619 CE.

The battle ended with a historic geographical demarcation — Narmada river became the boundary between the southern territory of Chalukyas and Vardhanas’ empire in North India.

 

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