Archeaological Survey of India has discovered the earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India.

  • This inscription was discovered in Chebrolu village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It was issued by Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.
  • It is also the earliest epigraphic evidence so far for the Saptamatrika
  • Also predates Nagarjunakonda inscription of Ikshavaku king Ehavala Chantamula issued in 4th century A.D. which was considered the earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India previously.

Saptamarika cult

  • Saptamatrikas are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism.
  • Matrikas are the personified powers (shakti) of different Devas.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, the Saptamatrika cult was widely prevalent during the rule of the early Chalukyas of Badami (6th to 8th century A.D.), though the worship of the goddesses is traceable at Nagarjunakonda from 4th century A.D. o The new discovery predates the earlier references of Saptamatrika worship found in the early Kadamba copper plates and the early Chalukya and Eastern Chalukya copper plates by 200 years.
  • The concept of seven Mothers or Saptamatrika also finds reference in texts like the Rig Veda, Puranas and Shilpasastras.

About ASI

  • Under the Ministry of Culture, it is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
  • It regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.
  • Also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
  • It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who also became its first Director-General.
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