- Development of Culture Heritage of Uttar Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh in one of the most ancient cradles of Indian culture.
- While it is true that no Harappa and Mohenjodaro have been discovered in the State, the antiquities found in Banda (Bundelkhand), Mirzapur and Meerut link its History to early Stone Age and Harappan era. Chalk drawings or dark red drawings by primitive men are extensively found in the Vindhyan ranges of Mirzapur districts.
- Utensils of that age have also been discovered in Atranji-Khera, Kaushambi, Rajghat and Sonkh.
- Copper articles have been found in Kanpur, Unnao, Mirzapur, Mathura and advent of the Aryans in this State. It is most probable that snapped links between the Indus Valley and Vedic civilizations lie buried under the ruins of ancient sites found in this State.
- The cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh was maintained in the period of the Ramayan and Mahabharat i.e. the epic period. The story of Ramayan revolves round the Ikshwaku dynasty of Kosal and of Mahabharat aaround the ‘Kuru’ dynasty of Hastinapur.
- Local people firmly believe that the Ashram of Valmiki, the author of Ramayan, was in Brahmavart (Bithoor in Kanpur District) and it was in the surroundings of Naimisharany (Nimsar-Misrikh in Sitapur district) that Suta narrated the story of Mahabharat as he had heard it from veda Vyas
- Some of the Smritis and Puranas were also written in this State
- Gautam Buddha, Mahavir, Makkhaliputta Goshal and great thinkers brought about a revolution in Uttar Pradesh in 6th century C. Out of these, Makkhaliputta Goshal, who was born at Shravan near Shravasti, was the founder of Ajivika sect.
- Mahavir, the 24th Trithankar of Jains was born in Bihar but had a large number of followers in Uttar Pradesh.
- He is said to have lived twice during rainy season in this State-once in Shravasti and the second time in Padrauna near Deoria.
- Pawa proved to be his last resting In fact, Jainism had entrenched itself in this State even before the arrival of Mahavir.
- Several Tirthankars such as Parshwanath, Sambharnath and Chandraprabha were born in different cities in this State and attained ‘Kaivalya’ here.
- Jainism must have retained its popularity in this State in Subsequent centuries also.
- This fact is borne by the ruins of several ancient Buildings, etc. The remains of a magnificient Jain Stupa have been dug out near Kankali Tila in Mathura, while Jain shrines built in early middle Age are still preserved in Deogarh, Chanderi and other places.
THE AGE OF BUDDHA
- The founder of Buddhism, Gautam the Buddha, was born in Lumbini in Nepal. His father, King Shuddodhan, was the ruler of a small State, Kapilvastu (now in Siddharthnagar district). His mother, Maya, belonged to the ruling family of another small state, Deodah (now in Deoria district).
- The Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in Bihar but it was in Isipattan or Mrigdav in Sarnath in U.P. that the preached his first sermon and laid the foundation of his Order. From this point of view, Sarnath has the distinction of being the birth place of ‘Dhamma’ and ‘Sangha’, the two elements of the Holy Trinity of Buddhism, the third being the Buddha himself.
- Other notable places in Uttar Pradesh followed by Buddha’s association are Kushinara of Kushinagar (in Deoria district) where he attained ‘Mahaparinirvana, Shravasti the capital of Kisal where he performed a great miracle, and Sankashyar Sankisa (in Etah district) where another miracle of his life occured.
- The rulers of several states in the then Uttar Pradesh were greatly influenced by the teaching of Buddha.
- The People of the State also did not lag behind in showing love and devotion to the Tathagat, greater part of whose monastic life was spent in Uttar Pradesh. Thus it will be no exaggeration to describe Uttar Pradesh as the Cradle of Buddhism. Besides Buddhism and Jainism, Pauranic Brahmanism also had deep roots in the state. Ancient images of Gods and Goddesses of Brahmanical order, a temple of Kushan period has been found which alludes to Brahmanism. In fact Mathura can be said to be the birthplace of Indian Other temples of this faith built in different periods are in Varanasi, Allahabad, Ballia, Ghazipur. Jhansi and Kanpur.
MIDDLE AGE OF SYNTHESIS
- In successive centuries after Buddha, Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi, Mathura and several other cities continued to play important role in the making of religious and cultural history in India. Several kings who ruled the region became immortal because of Vedic rituals performed by them and patronage extended by them to learning. Scholars like Ashwaghosh, Kalidas, Ban, Mayur, Diwakar, Vakpati, Bhavbhuti, Rajshekhar, Laxmidhar, Sri Harsh and Krishna Misra adorned their courts. Yuan-chwang says that the people of Uttar Pradesh were full masters of the language and spoke it correctly, there pronunciation was like that of the Devas, elegant, beautiful, and their intonation clear and district, worthy of emulation by others, the rules framed be these people were accepted by Rajashekhar of Pratihar also payas homage in the similar vein to the people and poets of Panchal.
- Varanasi continued to be a prominent centre of learning as in the past. Ayodhya and Mathura acquired fameas birth places of Ram and Pilgrims from every corner of the country continued to throng to Prayag and as such it was called the Tirtharaj Similarly, the north mountain region, where Kailash and Mansarovar are situated and from where the holy rivers of the country originate, also remained sacred for the piligrims.
- The Shankaracharya established one of the four prominent sacred Dhams in Badrikashram in this region.
THE MAURYAN PERIOD
- With the emergence of the Mauryans in 3rd century C., a new chapter was opened in the history of Art. It is said that Ashok visited Sarnath and Kushinagar and had personally ordered for construction of Stupas and Viharas at these two sacred places.
- Their traces have disappeared but the remnants of stone pillars found at Sarnath, Allahabad, Merut, Kausambi, Sankisa and Varanasi give us an idea of the excellence of Mauryan All the Ashokan pillars have been built with Chunar stones.
- The Lion Capital of Sarnath is without doubt and excellent specimen of Mauryan Art.
- Writes the famous historian Vincent Smith, ‘It would be difficult to find in any country an example of ancient animal sculpture, superior or even equal to this artistic expression of Sarnath, because it successfully combines realistic treatment with idealistic dignity and every detail has Come out with utmost perfection.
- ’ Mathura was another important centre of Art in the Mauryan Colossal sculptures of Yakshas and Yakshinis have been found in the district Parkham, Borada and Jhing-ks- nagar and certain other places. All these represent contemporary folk art.
- There was considerable artistic activity in Uttar Pradesh during Shung-Satvahan Period. A large number of architectural and other fragments found in the ruins of Sarnath tell us the story of buildings, etc. Built during this period.
- The remains of a semi-circular temple of this period is now represented only by its foundation wall, During those days mathura was a prominent centre of Bharhut-Sanchi School of Several important specimens of this schools have been found here.
THE ART OF MATHURA
- The Mathura Schools of Art reached its pinnacle during the Kushan The Most important work of this period is the anthromorphic image of the Buddha who was hitherto represented by certain symbols.
- The artists of Mathura and Gandha were pioneers who carved out images of the Images of Jain Tirthankars and Hindu deities were also made in Mathura. Generally, all these intial images were huge in size. Their excellent specimens are still preserved in the museums at Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad and Mathura. Colossal images, in seated or standing postures, of Kushan emperors Vim Kadphises and Kanishk and Saka ruler Chashtan have also been found at Math in Mathura district.
- They are stated to have been installed in dev-kul (probably a place for worship of ancestors).There is not doubt that Mathura was the center of manufacturing of stone images (sculpture) during the Kushan These images had a great demand in other parts of the country. Scenes depicted on Stone pillars found in Bhuteshwar and other places in Mathura district present glimpses of contemporary life including dresses, ornaments, means of entertainment, arms, household furniture, etc.
- Stone carvings of intoxicated groups of people that have been found, speak about foreign (Hellenistic) influence on this school of art. Considerable construction activities have come to notice in Sarnath also in Kushan Period, ruins of several monasteries, temples and Stupas of that period lie catered there even today.
THE GOLDEN AGE
- The Gupta Period is known as the golden age in the history of Indian Art. Uttar Pradesh did not lag behind any of the country in artistic endeavour. The stone temple of Deogarh (Jhansi) and brick temple at Bhitargaon in Kanpur district is famous for their artistic Some other specimens of ancient art and craft are Vishnu images, the standing statue of the Buddha in Mathura and the seated image of Tathagat in Sarnath museum. Both the Mathura and sarnath schools of Art reached their zenith during the Gupta Period. Elegance and balance were the special features of the architecture of this period while the sculptures were characterized by physical charm and mental peace.
- Uttar Pradesh witnessed unprecedented advancement in iconographic forms and decorative motives during this Some excellent specimens of artistic statues made not only of stone but terra cotta as well, have also been found in Rajghat (Varanasi), Sahet-Mahet (Gonda-Bahraich), Bhitargaon (Kanpur) and Ahichhatra (Bareilly).
- There was a flurry of building activity again in Uttar Pradesh in early mediaeval period. Muslim historians have lavished profuse praise on cities like Kannauj, Varanasi, Kalinjar and Mathura and forts, places and temples scattered all over the State. During the reigns of Gurjar-Pratihars and Gaharvars, Kannauj had become a prominent centre of art and learning but it also borne the brunt of the wrath of Muslim invaders. Very few specimen now survive to tell of the glory and grandeur of Kumar Devi, the consort of Gaharvar king Govind Chandra had constructed a very grand building at Sarnath known as Dharm-Chakra Jain Vihar.
- The artistic beauty of Mathura temples was such that even the iconoclast Mahmud of Ghazni had praised them. The Chandel rulers of southern Uttar Pradesh were also great patrons of Art. Their building activities were mostly centered around Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh but remains of temples and ponds constructed by contemporary architects have been found in Mahoba, Rasin, Rahilia and other places in modern bundelkhand as well. The fort built by them at Kalingar was impregnable from defense point of view. The temples and divine images in hill areas of Uttar Pradesh represent a special Art tradition of its own
THE DARK PERIOD
- To far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned, the Sultanate period is known as a dark age in the realm of Art.
- Sharqis were originally indigenous converted islam
- The Sultans confined their building activities mainly to Delhi, although they constructed mausoleums and mosques here and there in Uttar Pradesh Also.
- After the advent of Sharqi rulers in Jaunpur, a new life was infused in art activities.
- Under their patronage famous mosques like Atalla, Khalis-Mukhis, Jhanjihri and Lal Darwaza were constructed.
- The grandest and the biggest of them all is the Jama Masjid. The Atall Masjid built by Ibrahim Sharqi in 1408 AD became a model for the comstruction of other mosques in Jaunpur.
- It is an exquisite specimen of the Hindu and Muslim architecture reflecting both vigour and grace in style of construction. The Jaunpur mosques have certain special features. The most important of these is their artistic propylaeum. These mosques have facilities for women to offer prayers. For this, beautiful galleries surrounded by artistic walls were constructed. Fortress architecture also development under the patronage of the Sharqis.
- The fort in Jaunpur constructed in Uttar Pradesh early in the mediaeval period has an importance of its own. Although it is in a dilapidated state now, when it was in good shape, its bold and graceful style was universally praised and widely followed. Today only its eastern gateway and a few extent are there to remind us of its past glory and splendour.
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