Prachi Valley : Everything You Need to Know
The Prachi Valley: More ancient than the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro Civilization.
The Prachi Valley civilization is believed to be older than the Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro civilization .
A Map of The Mahanadi and Kuakhai Distributary System
Geographical location & present Status
The Prachi is a small river with an area of expanse of about 600 square kilometers and a length of 60 km, which is part of the Mahanadi triangle of the eastern coast of India. It has originated from the river Kuakhai and travels around 60 Kms before becoming invisible near Keutajanga of Kakatpur. Although many call it an extinct river, its role asf a river valley of great importance in the cultural and historical context of Odisha cannot be denied. Parts of the present Puri, Khordha, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur districts are comprised of the Prachi Valley area.
At one time in the past, the river was well navigable( even till the 1940s) , which is now only visible during the monsoon season. The current state of the Prachi River can be blamed for the reckless construction of a number of unplanned structures in the riverbed , blockage of inlets,reckless landslides , the invisible blockade on the riverbed and the frequent change of direction of the river. There may be many different reasons for this.
Astonishing Findings in the Recent Past
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed stone and bone tools from a mound called Bharatiihuda near Jalalpur village in Cuttack district of Odisha. The above site is under the Prachi Valley.
Chalcolithic bones and animal fossils found during the excavations of Bharatihuda near Jalalpur have caused a great deal of excitement among archaeologists. In addition to bone weapons, black and red clay pots, stone axe,fossils of deer horns, fish, sharks and turtles were discovered at the excavation site. People were fishing with bones and ceramic equipments. Such discoveries indicate that a rural population may have grown in the area 4000-5000 years ago. Subsequent discoveries show that the development of rural culture has been ongoing since prehistoric times.
The discovery of ancient artifacts indicate that a rural settlement may have grown there at that time. The inhabitants of this village may have had cultural and commercial ties with other settlements in the Prachi Valley, which gradually developed around the Prachi River Valley and which gradually disappeared. The civilization of the Prachi Valley has contributed greatly to the integration, self-realization and expansion of various religions and cultures in this part of the earth. The rewriting of history has become a challenge of the present, so that ‘Prachi Mahatmya’ can find its rightful place.
The discovered ancient artifacts can provide a rich understanding of social life and the environmental conditions of ancient civilization at that time – believed to have existed in this area five thousand years ago.
It is believed that the huge rock pieces needed for the Konark Sun Temple were shipped by tremendous boats through the Prachi River. Traditionally, there was widespread trade in the valley at one time.
The valley area, which at that time spread over an area of about 3,600 square kilometers and was ruled by many dynasties of ancient Kalinga. Famous among them are Chedi, Bhoumakar, Somavanshi, Suryavanshi and Gangabanshi. In the ever-changing landscape of time, the Prachi Valley seems to have carved out a special place in terms of culture, art, and architecture.
In Uttarakhand of the Padma Purana, Prachi Mahatmya was emphasized.
Descriptions of Prachi can also be found in various mythological literature such as the Markandeya Purana, the Kapil Samhita, the Surya Samhita,the Shamba Purana, the Brahma Purana, the Skanda Purana, and so on.The Khandagiri-based Hatigumpa inscription specifically mentions the Prachi river . The Prachi context is also mentioned in the Odia Mahabharata written by the poet Balaram Das in the fourteenth century.
The Prachi Valley is nothing less than an open air museum.The priceless architecture of the Prachi Valley has survived from pre-Christian times to the modern era. It seems like a natural museum of our unique art history. It provides a unique opportunity to develop a good understanding about gradual evolution, study and exploration of Kalingan temple architecture and sculpture for which Odisha is famous today. The study and exploration of the Prachi Valley is an important challenge of our time to understand the depth of our history and culture.
Varahi temple, Chaurasi (10th century AD)
The Prachi Valley once held a glorious civilization whose many archaeological remains are still waiting to be discovered. It bears witness to a mix of historical monuments of various religions, including Jain, Buddhist, Shakti, Shaiva and Vaishnava religions. It is clear that religious tolerance prevailed among the people of that time.
In the Prachi Valley, the most revered temples of Durga, Parvati, Chamunda, Barahi, Mangala, etc. are found. The Angeshwar temple in Pitapada, the Mangala in Kakatpur, and the Buddhanath temple in Garedi Panchan have always attracted the attention of devotees. Mangala in Kakatpur is the most popular goddess of the ancient river valley . The ancient valley is also known for its many worshiped and preserved temples, such as the Barahi Temple in Churasi, the Madhav Temple in Niali, and the Durga Temple in Motia. The Kurum of Prachi Valley near Konark was a famous Buddhist site.
The ancient temples of the Prachi Valley include the Neelkantheshwar Temple, the Swapneshwar Temple and the Barahi Temple, which were built during the reign of Bhoumakar dynasty . In the second phase, the temples of Siddheshwar, Rameshwar and Sovaneshwar were built during the Somavanshi rule.
In the final phase, temples in the Ganga-era are Madhavananda, Bayalisabati and Bishnupur temples are presented. The design was developed from TRIRATH to SAPTARATH. The square temples were developed in to high-rise curvilinear rekha temples.
Livelihood of people
The excavations show that the people had a subsistence economy and were dependent on the natural resources available for their basic needs through agriculture, domestication of cattle, fisheries and hunting. Patterns of turtle shells, dolphins and shark teeth and fish bones indicate that the settlements were close to the coastal area. The fossil of rice and mung beans indicate that they were skilled in agriculture.
Rich Finding of Copper Age
Archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India have come up with a number of circular tunnel structures, mainly to look like modern-day bunkers that were probably used by people to take shelter during storms. The east coast of India was also unsafe at the time of the devastating cyclones during those days.. Clay and stone tools and weapons, clay pots, animal and bird bones, etc. are believed to be of the copper age.
Further research is expected to shed light on whether the Prachi civilization has any cultural connection with other contemporary civilizations and how the once established civilization around this ancient river was declined……..
Countless monuments of various religious communities have survived the onslaught of nature for centuries.
Having a glance on all the said evidences, we can come to the conclusion that we live in a place where this great civilization was once at the peak of prosperity.
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Dr. Manoj Mishra
More excavation and more research are required. Carbon dating of artefacts found must be done. Govt should fund for its exploration.
The great traveller of Ist century ,none other than Ptolemy has also mentioned about Prachi River Valley in his travelogue. There are several epigraphical records like copper plate grants recovered from Chaurasi, Kenduli and the inscriptions of Sri Baidyanath at Sobhaneswar temple,Niali speak a volume about Prachi Valley civilization.
Very much aptly said…
Thank you for the very interesting & unique information. Wish the archeology teams the very vest for their work
Thank you for your appreciation
But one thing for sure is that….there was some connection in between the river Prachi and river Chandrabhaga , through which huge rock pieces were being shipped to the construction site of the temple.
Prachi is pracheen Valley?
'Prachi' is the name of the river and the civilization which was developed in that river valley is being considered as to be very ancient ( pracheen)…The epigraphical records and other evidences support this ..
Well researched and well written. Unfortunately, much more systematic archaeological work has still to be done at many sites that will shed light on Indian history. Some of the regional colleges may take the initiative. Possibly India is just too big and too diverse for a wholly centralized approach.
Very much aptly said Sir.
A great study. Not only I congratulate you, but also appreciate your team to unearth this otherwise unknown history of odisha(at least in documented form)
I would like to recommend this to form a part of of History curriculum in the schools (Odisha in particular). The students should also visit such places as their study tour. If not done,suggestion to the Education Ministry of Govt of Odisha may be sent. Thank you.
Dr. Rajgopal Mohanty
Thank you Sir for your appreciation.. That really means a lot to me.
Great write up Yes I think it was named after The Maha Atman The Pracetas. What a wonderful rich hidden herritage this is. Its unbelievable Jai Maha Bharat The home of everyones eternal spirit soul