Memorial stones of junagarh – a preliminary study


The literary meaning of the word Junagarh means ‘old fort’. Junagarh was the old capital of undivided Kalahandi district of Odisha.  According to the Odia inscription of 1718 C.E. found from the Dadhivaman temple of Junagarh issued by Juga Shahi Deo III of Nagavamsi dynasty, the place is called “Kalahandi Nagara”. In the past Junagarh has “Chhakoti Bandha and NakodiTota” (120 ponds/tanks and 180 mango orchards). After Cuttack, Junagarh is the only town of Odisha which has completed her 1000 years. From 6thth century to 12th century Kalahandi (Kantara, Mahakantara, Chakrakota Mandala, Karunda Mandala) was reigned by dynasties like- Nala, Parvatadwaraka, Somavamsi, Kalachuri, Gangavamsi and Nagavamsi etc. and for political supremacy there were constant battle among these dynasties. These battles caused casualty of many soldiers. And for their memory large numbers of Memorial stones (Sati stone and Hero stone) are erected. So many Memorial stones found scattered in different parts of Junagarh. Sati stones are erected for women’s who sacrificed their life after the death of her husband and even to protect their chastity and purity. As many Sati stones are found, they commemorate the heroic death of many warriors and self-immolation of their wives. On the Sati stones of Junagarh, we found the Vedic trend which was observed before a woman going to perform Sati. The basic iconographic feature of Memorial stones is upright open right arm and hand bent at elbow and clearly showing bangles intact. Symbol of sun and crescent moon, worshiping Shiv Linga etc. are also depicted in Sati stones. These are of much political significance in history, because they prove that many wars were fought there and show the military and socio-religious concerned facts of the region. Lack of previous study and research unable reveal the importance and significance of this tradition. The present paper focused to highlight the Memorial stones culture, its origin and nature etc. To assess the Memorial stones culture the current research paper deals with different methods and techniques.

Keywords: – Junagarh, Kalahandi Nagara, Memorial Stones, Hero Stones, Sati Stones, Commemorate, Self-immolation

Raj Kumar Rate*