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Geography and Geology of ancient India

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Geography and Geology of Ancient India Edited by Dr. A.S. Nene Retd. Professor of Civil Engineering, VNIT Nagpur, India Email- [email protected]
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Page 1: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Geography and Geology of

Ancient India

Edited byDr. A.S. Nene

Retd. Professor of Civil Engineering, VNIT Nagpur, India

Email- [email protected]

Page 2: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Vedic literature includes the Vedas,

Upanishads, Brahmans, Aranyakas,

Puranas, epics and Shilpasamhitas etc. It is now proved that these are encyclopedias full of scientific and technical information.

Page 3: Geography and Geology of ancient India

India was called as Jambudweep (Iceland ,shape of which is like a guava) . India has gigantic rivers such as Sindhu,

Ganga and Bramhaputra in the northern part and Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean on other sides. The ancient names for Arabia and Mesopotamia were Shalmali Dweep and Shak Dweep respectively.

Page 4: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Ancient Indian sages have described “Bharatavarsh or Bharatakhand” as the land between Himalaya and Kanyakumari. The land of India was formed in three different periods and under different geological conditions.

Page 5: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Description of Ancient India

हि�माद्रि�कन्योरंतर्ग�तो देशस्तु भारत: ॥ सोऽहि� देशस्त्रिस्�धाभिभन्नस्तत्तदेशभवैरु्गर्णै$: ॥हि�रु्गरं्णै तस्त्रि%�चकं्र च हि�वर्णै(च क्रमातस्मृतं ॥ शि+ल्�र%न अ १६

Page 6: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Ancient text “Shilparatna” describes these three rock formations as shown in Map 1.

Page 7: Geography and Geology of ancient India

The entire time span was divided into four Yugas namely Tretayuga, Krutayuga, Dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga. Modern geologists call these as Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Recent respectively.

Page 8: Geography and Geology of ancient India

This land can be classified into three types according to the three time spans, three stages or three colors. Due the different conditions of formation, the rocks, minerals, climate, flora and fauna are also of three types.

Page 9: Geography and Geology of ancient India

1. Land between Himalaya and Vindhya mountains is formed by sedimentation of soil particles.

2. Land between Vindhya Mountain and Tungabhandra River is formed of igneous rocks as a result of cooling of molten magma.

3. Land to the south of Tungabhandra River is formed of metamorphic rocks.

Page 10: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Ancient texts designate these three land zones as Saatwik, Raajas and Taamas The texts describe these zones as below.

आग्नेयाविवंध्यसह्याद्या: सौम्यो हि�महिर्गरेस्तत: ।अतस्तदोषधाहिन स्यु: अनुरू�ाभिर्णै �ेतुभिभ: ॥ भृरु्गसंहि�ता हि�मवव्दि>दंध्ययोम�ध्यं सात्वि%वकं भूतलं स्मृतं ॥विवंध्यशैलाद्रिदकृष्र्णैांतं रजस �रिरकीर्तिततंं ।�ुन: कृष्र्णैाद्रिदकन्यांतं तामसं भूतलं भवेद॥्नार्गरं सात्वि%वके देशे , रजसे �ाहिवडं भवेद।्वेसरं तामसे देशे, क्रमेर्णै �रिरकीर्तिततंा: ॥ शिशल्�र%न अ १६

Page 11: Geography and Geology of ancient India

A-Saatwik land: The hilly area between Himalaya and Sahyadri mountains comprises of igneous rocks. The climate in this area is hot or cold and fruits are dry or juicy. The rocks do contain fossils. This land is suitable for Nagar style of planning and Kashyapa type architecture,

Page 12: Geography and Geology of ancient India

B-Rajas Land: The area between Vindhya mountain to Krishna river is termed as “Rajas” or “Raja sampanna” (which means made of fire and ash). This land is suitable for Nagar style of planning and Bhrugu type architecture.

Page 13: Geography and Geology of ancient India

C-Tamas land: The land below Krishna River is termed as “Tamas” (a Shadow forming land).

This land is suitable for Nagar style of planning and Maya type architecture.

Page 14: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Ancient Indian lexicon “Bruhan Nighantoo” also mentions the characteristics of these zones . Aagneya Zone:The ground is plane, with little vegetation, Terrain is Hilly with boulders,Common trees are Shmee, Karir, Bel ,Pilu, Ber etc,Common animals are Deers, Bears, Tigers, and Bison etc.Fruits are sweet and juicy, Land is full of forests, Windy area.It is full of oasis, dusty, dry lakes, Irrigation mainly depends on well water, There is scarcity of grass hence scarcity of milk. Rice as main crop, People with angry mood etc.

Page 15: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Soumya region: Land is full of rivers, lakes, hills, Lakes are full of lotus plants,Common birds are swans, Saras, Karandav,Chakrawak etc, Common animals are rabbits, pigs, buffalo etc.Trees are green and full of leaves, flowers and fruits ,Common crops are rice and sugarcane. Rivers are with abundant water,People suffer from cough or acidity,Such land is a reclaimed marshy land.

Page 16: Geography and Geology of ancient India

आकाशशुभ्र उच्च्श्च ल्��ानाय�ाद�:।शमीकरीरहिNल्वाक� �ीलुकक( धुसंकुल: ॥

�रिरनैर्णैर्क्ष��ृषतर्गोकर्णै�खरसंकुल: । सुस्वादुफलवांदेशो वातलो जांर्गल: स्मृत: ॥

खर�ुरुषहिवशाला: �व�ता: कंटकीर्णैा�: । द्रिदशिश द्रिदशिश मृर्गतृष्र्णैा भूरू�ा: शीर्णै��र्णैा�: ॥

अहितखररहिवरश्मिVम�ांसुसं�ूर्णै�भूमिम: । सरशिस रसहिवहि�न: कू�कारंभकष�: ॥१॥

तदनुहिवरससस्या�ारिरर्णैो र्गोमहि�ष्य:। प्रभवहितरसमांसे रुर्क्षभावश्च सम्यक्॥

�ुनर्ति�ं हि�मवा�ं शाशिलसस्यं न चरुे्क्ष:। भवहित रुमिधरहि�तं्त कोषमाशु दु्य�हित॥२॥ Nृ�मिन्नघंटु

Page 17: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Taamas or SadhaaraN land:This land is of mixed properties, The soil is neither too wet nor too dry and non Silty soil, Trees are without thorns trees, There is adequate ground water, Climate is neither to hot nor cold, Main crops are wheat, black gram, Bengal gram and maize. The land is plain and comfortable. Physicians term it as average land.

Page 18: Geography and Geology of ancient India

नदी�ल्वलशैलाढ्य: फुल्लो%�लकुलैयु�क्त: ।�ंससारसकारंडच्क्रवाकाद्रिदसेहिवत: ॥शशवरा�त्विम्�षरुरुरोहि�कुलाकुल: ।

Page 19: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Some ancient Indian Sages have classified the land of India into five types. The description is as below; North part: 1-Hilly (Tejas) and 2-Plain (Yayas)Central part: 3-Hilly (Aapya) and 4-Plain (Parthiv)South Part: 5-Common (Aakashy).

Page 20: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Table 1-Land characteristicsSn 1 2 3 4 5

Name Parthiv-Muddy Land

AagneyaAapya

Taijas Vayaveey Aakaashy or Antarikshya

Ground Sandy/gravelly

BouldersGravels

Red rocks-laterite

Black stones (Trap)/soil

With hills or mountains

Water bodies Big lakes Big rivers Delta region formed by rivers

Soil particles square Semi circular Triangularcrystals

Hexagonal Round or flat, white

Trees Yellow flowers Catechu/Bamboo

Babul /non juicy fruits

Animals Yellow Small dears

Example Malawa Himalaya foothills/ Kolkata

Belgaon or Konkan area

Dharwad. Bijapur, Solapur

Puri,Kathewad, Rajastan, Tamilnadu (places of pilgrimage)

Page 21: Geography and Geology of ancient India

उभयर्गुर्णैयुतं वा नाहितरुरं्क्ष न स्त्रिस्नग्धं । न च खरNहुलं वा नाभिभत: कंटकाढं्य ॥भवहित जलहिवकीर्णै( नाहितशीतं न चोष्र्णैं । समप्रकृहितसमेतं हिवध्दिध्द साधरर्णैं तत॥ य�>दयोरहि� च लर्क्षर्णैयोहिनव�श: । र्गोधूममाषचर्णैाभिभधयावनालै: ।यो राजिजत: समजलो जनसौख्यदायी । साधारर्णै: सा र्गद्रिदतो ऽध्दिखलवैद्यराजै: ॥१॥ Nृ�मिन्नघंटु

Description SadhaaraN land

Page 22: Geography and Geology of ancient India

१-�ार्थिcवंप्रदेश �ीतसु्फर>दलयशक� रिरलाVमरम्यं । �ीतं यदुत्तममृर्गं चतुरस्�भूतं ॥प्रायश्च �ीतकुसुमामिन्नतवीरुदाद्रिद।त%�ार्थिcवंं कद्रिeनमुद्यदशेषततस्तु ॥१॥२-आग्नेय प्रदेश अध�चं�ाकृहितश्वेतकमलाभट्टट्षश्मिhतं । नदीनदजलाकीर्णै( आप्यं त%रे्क्ष�भुhते ॥ ३-तैजस प्रदेशखद्रिदरद्रिददृमाकीर्णै( भुरिरशिच�कवेर्णैुकं । हि�कोर्णैरक्त�ाषार्णैं रे्क्ष�ं तैजसमhुते ॥

Page 23: Geography and Geology of ancient India

४-वायवीय प्रदेश धूम्रस्थलं धूम्रदृष%�रीतं । षटकोर्णैकं तूर्णै�मृर्गावकीर्णै( ॥शाकैस्तृर्णैैरंहिकतरुवृर्क्षकं । प्रकारयेत्त%खलु वायवीयं ॥५-आकाVय प्रदेश नानावर्णै( वतु�लं त%प्रशस्तं । प्राय: शुभ्रं �व�ताकीर्णै�मुच्च्यै: ॥यh स्थानं �ावनं देवतानां । प्रा�: रे्क्ष�ं हि�र्क्षर्णैं %वांतरिररं्क्ष ॥

Page 24: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Comparison of ancient and modern geography

A-Kruta Yug is the period in which large geological transformations took place. The southern part of India was formed in this period. It never went under water.B- Treta Yug was the period in which mountains and hills were formed due volcanic eruptions. Land of Maharashtra and Vindhya region was developed in this period. C-Dwapar Yug was the periods in which sedimentary rocks were formed. River basins of Sindhu, Ganges and Yamuna were formed in this period.D- Kali Yug is the present period in which no major geological activities are occurring.

Page 25: Geography and Geology of ancient India

कशिल: शयानो भवहित संजिज�ानस्तु >दा�र: ।उभित्तषं्ठस्�ेता भवहित कृत: सं�द्य� चरन्॥

Page 26: Geography and Geology of ancient India

English Sanskrit term

Age YugaPrimary orArkian

Kruta Yug1.Ratnachakra (Precious stone era2.Hem Chakra (Gold era)3.Loh Chakra (Iron era)

SecondaryIron Era

Treta Yug

Tershry Dwapar YugRecent Kali Yug*

* This has no relation to Kaliyuga mentioned in the epic Mahabharata.

Page 27: Geography and Geology of ancient India

The growth of vegetation and animals depends

upon the land and the climate thereof. The

customs of people also depend upon local

conditions. The construction practices too depend

upon available building materials of the land.

Eighteen styles of architecture were evolved

based on eighteen regions of ancient India.

Page 28: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Table 2 - Eighteen Kingdoms (states) of ancient India

Sn State Mountain River Tree Ores

1 Yalhik Hemkut Vipasha Pipal Gold

2 Souvir Pariyatra Sindhu Shak Mercury

3 Kaikay Himalaya Shatadru Oudumbar Silver

4 Magadh Gandhamada

n

Ganga Vat Copper

5 Malav Chitrakut Kalindi Plaksha Lead

6 Anga Uday Gandaki Bilwa Tin

Page 29: Geography and Geology of ancient India

7 Vanga Malyawan Sarayu Tulsi Bairunt*

8 Kalinga Nishadh Shona Amalaksh

a

Iron

9 Kamboj Lokalok Irawati Palash Karkut *

10 Vidarbha Vindhya Narmad Shirish Tin

11 Lat Satpuda Tapti Parijat Bell metal

12 Surashtra Raiwatak Gomati Aamla Lead

Page 30: Geography and Geology of ancient India

13 Aarat Sahyadri Godawari Wood apple

Lodhra *

14 Ramsrushti

Asta Bhimarathi

Ber Blue iron

15 Vishwamitra Srushti

Shriparwat Krushna Bakul White iron

16 Padya Nilgiri Kaveri Patli Gold

17 Chola Malay Tamraparni

Chandan Red iron

18 Madra Trikut Dhrutmala Tamarind Gems

Page 31: Geography and Geology of ancient India

A Sanskrit text BruhaNighantu (Worlds first lexicon) describes the animals, trees and minerals found in these three lands.Subsequently the thee lands were divided into five lands as belowThirty-one major rivers of south Asia are mentioned in Nadi-

stuti (praise of rivers) of Rig Veda. The epic Mahabharata contains a separate chapter devoted to geography of Indian subcontinent and adjacent countries in central IndiaPurana means old. One finds mention about Nile River in Skanda Purana. Puranas which are historical accounts of traditions, personalities, and their achievements, evolution of crafts, cosmology, cosmogony, cosmography, regions and people living therein.

Page 32: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Geology: Arthshastra is the earliest Indian text dealing with the mineralogical characteristics of metallic ores and other mineral-aggregate rocks. It recognizes ores in the earth, in rocks, or in liquid form, with excessive color, heaviness and often-strong smell and taste. The Arthshastra also mentions several subsidiary types of gems named after their color, luster or place of origin i.e. Vimalaka,

jyotirasaka, lohitaksa, sasyaka etc. It is surprising that even in the I Millennium BC; Indians had developed an elaborate terminology for different metals, minerals and alloys.

Geology

Page 33: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Many ancient Indian texts contain references related to earthquakes. Most of the references contain myths about the phenomenon of earthquake. But Brihat Samhita of Varaha Mihira (5–6th century AD) and Adbhuta Sagara of Ballala Sena (10–11th century AD) are the only texts which contain some technical information on earthquakes.

Earthquakes

Page 34: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Some myths about earthquakes are listed below.1. Kashyapa: The earth floats over a big ocean. It moves or shakes due to the movements of big aquatic creatures.  2. Garga: There are four "Quarter-elephants (Dig-gajas) supporting the earth on four sides.  When they get exhausted, they heaive a heavy sigh of relief. Hence the earthquakes and strong devastating winds blow over the earth.   3. Vasistha: When two powerful atmospheric currents collide and dash against the earth, there is earthquake.  4. Vrddha Garga: The earthquakes are due to some unseen (adrusta) cause.   5. Parashar: Earthquakes are caused by the solar and lunar eclipses and by the unnatural changes in plants.

Myths about earthquakes:

Page 35: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Bhishnaparwa of epic Mahabharata contains information on Animal behavior which may be precursors of earthquakes.

Hawks and vultures, and crows and herons, together with cranes, are alighting on the tops of trees and gathering in flocks. These birds, delighted at the prospect of battle, are looking down (on the field) before them. Carnivorous beasts will feed on the flesh of elephants and steeds. Fierce herons, foreboding terror, and uttering merciless cries, are wheeling across the centre towards the southern region

Precursors of earthquakes:

Page 36: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Kokilas, wood-peckers, water-cocks, parrots, crows and peacocks utter terrible cries.At sun-rise flights of insects by hundreds are

seen.

The animals are all weeping and their tears are falling fast.

Page 37: Geography and Geology of ancient India

The 32nd chapter of Brihat Samhita is devoted to signs of earthquakes and correlates earthquakes with cosmic and planetary influences, underground water and undersea activities, unusual cloud formations, and the abnormal behavior of animals. Varahmihir analyzed and arranged the details about the earthquakes on the following points:  •Time of the day. (Muhurta)•Presiding deity of that period (Devta)•The asterism assigned to the deity (Nakshyatra)•Prognostic symptoms of the quake (Yuti of

planets)

Page 38: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Ancient: Varahmihir categorizes earthquakes into different kinds and says that the indications of one particular kind will appear in the form of unusual cloud formations a week before its occurrence. Following are the, indications appearing a week. "Huge clouds resembling blue lily, bees and collyrium in color, rumbling pleasantly, and shining with flashes of lightning, will pour down slender lines of water resembling sharp clouds. An earthquake of this circle will kill those that are dependent on the seas and rivers; and it will lead to excessive rains."

Earthquake prediction using earthquake clouds:

Page 39: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Over the last ten years, Zhonghao Shou, a retired chemist based near Caltech in California, has been using satellite imagery and other scientific tools to fine-tune his theory of "earthquake clouds" as precursors to earthquakes. According to Shou, earthquake clouds are formed when underground water is converted into water vapors by the heat generated in the epicenter area of a fault rock, which is undergoing constant stress and friction.Zhou says that earthquake prediction is possible by identifying such clouds as "an earthquake generally occurs within 49 days of the first appearance of the cloud. Details of Zhous work are available on web.

Modern

Page 40: Geography and Geology of ancient India

• Adbhuta Sagara by Ballal Sen,ed. Murlidhar Sen,pub. By Prabhakari & co. Benars.• Arthshastra by Kautilya, Eng.Translation by R.P.Kangle, Pub. Motilal Banarasi das , New Delhi.• Brihat Samhita (of Varah Mihir),Pub. By Khemraj Shrikrishnadas Mumbai (1945)• BrihanNighantu (2011) Ed.D.S.Mathur, Pub. By Khemraj Shrikrishnadas Mumbai (1945)• Shilparatna (by Shivkumar ) part 1 and 2,Pub. By Gaikwad Oriental series, Baroda (1924)

References –Ancient

Page 41: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Modern References•Ali, S.M. (1966),”The geography of India from Puranas”•Sircar,(1960),”Studies in geography of ancient and medieval India” Varanasi.•Iyengar, R.N (1999),”Earthquakes in ancient India”, Jr . History of Sciences, New Delhi. •Nene, A.S.(2011) “Geotechnical Engineering in ancient India, Pub. Pune Vidyatrhi gruha prakashan, Pune.•Vaze.K.V.(1953),”Prachin Hindi Shilpa Shastra (Marathi), Book published by Varada prakashan, Pune.

Page 42: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Eighteen States of Ancient India: Puranas describe various features of the 18 Kingdoms (states) of ancient India. Shri K.V.Vaze (1924), in his book "Prachin Hindi Shilpashastra", compiled these features, such as mountains, rivers, trees, grains, rainfalls, roof slopes / types, metal ores, tools etc.

Appendix

Page 43: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Map 2- Eighteen states of ancient India

Page 44: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Map 3- Rainfall map

Page 45: Geography and Geology of ancient India

Map 4 Wind map

Page 46: Geography and Geology of ancient India

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