Rupnagar also spelled Ropar or Rupar, is a city and a municipal council in Rupnagar district in the Indian state of Punjab. Ropar is a newly created fifth “Divisional Headquarters” of Punjab comprising Ropar, Mohali, and its adjoining districts. The ancient town of Rupnagar is said to have been named by a Raja called Rokeshar, who ruled during the 11th century and named it after his son Rup Sen. It is also one of the bigger sites belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization.
History of Ropar District
Rupar is a 21 metre high ancient mound overlaying the Shiwalik (also spelt as Sivalik or Shivalik) deposition on the left bank of the river Sutlej where it emerges into the lains. It has yielded a sequence of six cultural periods or phases with some breaks from the Harappan times to the present day. The excavations were carried out by Dr. Y.D. Sharma of Archaeological Survey of India. The migration of the Harappans to Rupar has been postulated through the lost Saraswati River to the Sutlej as both rivers once belonged to one system.
At Rupar excavation, the lowest levels yielded the Harappan traits in Period 1, which falls in the proto-historic period. A major find was a steatite seal in the Indus script used for the authentication of trading goods, impression of seal on a terracotta lump of burnt clay, chert blades, copper implements, terracotta beads and bangles and typical standardized pottery of Indus Valley Civilization. They flourished in all the Harappan cities and townships.
The dead were buried with head generally to the north and with funerary vessels as unearthed in cemetery R-37 at Harappa (Sind, Pakistan). What led the Harappans to desert the site is not known.
Period II belongs to Painted grey ware people who followed the Harappans. Typical pottery of this period consisted of fine greyware painted black, terracotta bangles, semi precious stones, glass, bone arrowheads, ivory kohl sticks and copper implements. This period is identified as the period belonging to the Great War Epic – Mahabharata.
A new settlement sprang up here by about 600 BC – chronologically Period III at Rupar. Grey pottery of Period II still continued. This period belongs to circa 600 BC to 200 BC. It yielded the earlier coins (punch marked and uninscribed cast coins), copper and implements. An important find was an ivory seal inscribed in Mauryan Brahmi script (4th and 3rd century BC)
Minutely carved and polished stone discs with a figure and motif associated with the cult of the Mother goddess of fertility have also been unearthed in the excavations from Taxila (now in Pakistan), Patna in the state of Bihar and other Mauryan sites. Houses of mud and kiln burnt bricks were by no means rare. A 3.6 metre wide burnt brick wall traced to a length of about 75 mts probably endorsed a tank which collected water through inlets. The upper levels have soak wells lined with terracotta rings of Shunga and Kushana periods.
Period III To V
From Period III to V there are fairly rich dwelling complexes with houses of stone and mud bricks. The full plans of the houses could not be exposed owing to the vertical nature of excavations carried out.
The next phase, Period VI revealed the evidence of the Shungas, Kushanas and Guptas and their successors. Excavations also revealed successive building levels of various dynasties. In the upper levels a hoard of copper coins of Kushan and Gupta rules were found. This includes a gold coin issued by Chandragupta-Kumerdevi of the Gupta dynasty, which is also known as the golden age in ancient Indian history.
A large number of terracotta figurines of Shunga, Kushana and Gupta periods were also discovered. Amongst them was a Yakshi figure with cherubic expression and a beautiful seated figure of a lady playing on the lyre reminiscent of Samudragupta’s figure in a similar position on the famous gold coins of the Gupta dynasty. A set of three silver utensils for ritualistic purpose with Greek influence depicts the fine craftsmanship of the Gupta dynasty in its chased decoration.
The pottery of this period in the upper levels is for the most part red ware and is frequently decorated with incised motifs. After a short break, there is evidence of a fresh occupation identified as Period V commencing around the early 6th century and continuing for three or four centuries. The coins of Toramana (circa AD 500) and Mihirakula (circa 510-40) have been recovered from these levels. The spacious brick building of the fifth period were constricted neatly and evidences showed a good measure of prosperity during this period.
Probably after desertion, a new town sprang up here around 13th century AD on the same site named Period VI and it continues to flourish to the present day.
An archaeological site museum has been set up to house some of the antiquities of Rupar along with the photographs displaying excavation material.
Famous People from Ropar District