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The great paintings and arts of Ajanta And the Amravati

Updated on March 4, 2016

ajanta and amaravati paintings


The Satavahana dynasty


Satavahanas carved out an empire out of the ruins of the Mauryan Empire

In the Deccan, the satavahanas and the Andhras carved out an empire out of the ruins of the Mauryan Empire. The founder was Simukha, but it was his successor Satakarni Ist who made the Satavahana eminent. At one time, the Satavahanas were overpowered by the Shakas in the region of Maharastra. The fortunes of the dynasty were restored by Gautamiputra Satakarni AD 106 – 130. his empire extended from Malva in the north to Karnataka in the South. He claimed to have defeated the Sakas. This seems to be true because about 8000 silver coins belonging to the Saka ruler Nahapana, discovered near Nasik, bear marks of being struck by the satavahana king.

Coins and inscriptions prove that under Vasishthiputra Pulumayi AD 130 – 154, the successor of Gautamiputra, the Satavahana rule extended up to Andhra. Pratisthana or modern Paithan was the capital of Vasishthiputra pulumayi. It is this time that the Sakasatavahana rivalyry was resumed. The Sakas ruler Rudraman defeated the Shatavahans twice and took possession of the Konkan coast and the Malwa. Yagna Sri Satakarni AD 165 – 194 recovered north Konkan and Malwa from the Sakas. His coins have been found in Maharastra, Madya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra. These coins bear pictures of ships, indicating that the Shatavahans had maritime trade. By the second century AD, the Satavahana power declined. They had controlled the Deccan for nearly 300 years.

The Satavahanas claim to be Brahmins. They worshipped a number of gods, such as Vasudeva and Krishna. They made liberal grants to the Brahmanas. However, the Satavahanas also gave land grants to the Buddhist monks. Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati became important centres of Buddhist culture. The construction of the Amravati stupa was started in about 200 BC. It was completely reconstructed in the second half of the second century AD. Its dome is 53 across the base, 33 meters in height and is full of sculptures, depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. Buddhism was particularly followed by the merchant community in Maharastra, especially in the area of Nasik.

The Chaitya at Karle in Pune is about 40 meters long, 15 meters wide and 15 meters hight. At Nasik, three Viharas contain the inscription of Nahapana and Gautamiputra. It is believed that the Ajanta cave painting and the Ellora caves sculptures began at this time. Prakrit was the language of the inscriptions and also the official language of the Satavahanas. The brahmi script was used in the inscriptions. All these sits are our glorious heritage today.

The history of Shatavahanas


The Ajanta jataka


Shatavahanas promoted art, literature and education

The great paintings and arts of Ajanta And the Amravati were created by the Satavahanas.

In the Deccan the Satavahanas were the first to have established a dynasty. The king Satavahanas had settled themselves in the land between the Godavari and Krishna rivers. Great kings Satavahanas were the vassals of Chandragupta Maurya and were paying tributes to him. The Simuka got to be free and made Srikakulam in the year 220 BC, the city of capital.

The king was supreme in the shatavahana rule. The kingdom had been isolated into provinces called Janapada for reason for the administration and officers had been named to take care of them. The urban areas and towns were taken care of without anyone else - overseeing establishments.

There was no discrimination on the basis of varna in the society. Even women held high offices and had status in society. The occupational associations were in the countryThere were people of unmistakable occupations like agriculturists, merchants, goldsmiths, fishermen, skilled workers, handloom weavers and prescription man and so forth. Later these affiliations rose as business and exchange associations. There was consolation for even remote exchange, and Nasik, Kalyan, Broach and Bhatkal were exchange focuses.

The Satavahanas who followed the Vedic tradition, encourages other religions like Buddhism and Jainism and believed in harmony.

They promoted art, literature and education. Literature was created in Parkrit, the language of both scholars and common people. Gathasaptashati written by Hala is an example of this.

Ajanta and the Amaravati paintings were created during the period of Shatavahanas. The Temples, Viharas and Chaityalayas were also constructed in the Shavahana country. A Chaityagraha was built in Karle by the merchant of Banavasi Bhootapala.

During the period of the Shatavahanas, the Kannada land was prosperous and had adventurous and able administrators. They had enriched Indian culture by their contribution.

The Amaravati painting



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