North Indian Inscriptions
INSCRIPTIONS OF THE KALACHURIS OF RATANPUR
No. 89; PLATE LXXII
THESE plates were discovered in 1945 at Bilaigarh, the chief town of the former Bilaigarh. Zamindarī, in the Raipur District of the Chhattisgarh Division in Madhya Pradesh. They were sent by the Commissioner of the Chhattisgarh Division to the Government Epigraphist for India. They are edited here for the first time from an excellent impression kindly supplied by the Government Epigraphist.
They are two copper-plates measuring 11.8 “ broad and 6.5” high. They weigh 137 tolas. They have their rims raised for the protection of the writing and contain marginal decorative designs on three sides. They were strung together by means of a ring, about 1. 8” in diameter. The central portion of the ring was flattened into a round disk to serve as a seal of the plates. The upper half of this seal contains the figure of Gaja-Lakshmi in relief while the lower half has the legend Rāja-śrīmat-Pṛithvīdēvaḥ engraved in two lines. The record consists of 36 lines, 18 being inscribed on the inner side of each plate. The average size of the letters is .25”.
The characters are Nāgarī. Worthy of note are the forms of the following letters:- Initial i consists of two curves with a looped end, turned in opposite directions and placed one below the other; see iti, 1.9; dh is in a transitional form; its top does not yet show a horn, but the vertical stroke is slightly bent to the left; see narādhipa-, 1.16; the left limb of ś has become separated from the vertical on the right; see śūra-, 1.12. The avagraha is used to indicate the elision of a in lines 3, 10, 17, 20 and 29.
The language is Sanskrit. Except for ōṁ namō Vrahmaṇē in the first line and the date in the last, the whole record is metrically composed. The verses, of which there are twenty-four, are all numbered. The orthography shows the usual peculiarities, viȥ., the use of v for b except in the form babhūvuḥ; see vrahamaṇē, 1. 1; of s for ś as in sasvat-, 1.4, and vice verse in -sahaśrēṇa, 1. 28, and the reduplication of the consonant following r; see nirgguṇaṁ, 1.1.
The inscription refers itself to the reign of Pṛithvīdēvā II of the Kalachuri
Dynasty of Ratanpur. The object of it is to record the royal grant of the village
Paṇḍaratalāī situated in the Ēvaḍi-maṇḍala to a Brāhmaṇa named Dēlhūka on the
occasion of a solar eclipse. The plates were granted in the year 896 of an unspecified era.¹ The record was composed by Malhaṇa,² the son of Śubhaṅkara. The
copper-plates were prepared by Vāmana and the charter was written on them by a
son of Kīrti. The writer's personal name is not mentioned in the present inscription due
to the exigencies of the metre, but he may be identical with Sūpaṭa, the son of Kīrtidhara,
who wrote a grant of this very king Pṛithvīdēva II in the following year K. 897.³ The
record was incised by an unnamed son of Lakshmidhara. Lakshmīdhara incised the
Sarkhō plates⁴of Ratnadēva II, dated K. 880 and the Amōdā plates⁵ of Pṛithvīdēva II,
dated K. 900. His son, who incised the present plates, may have been Dharaṇīdhara,
mentioned in the grant of K. 897.
1 In the last line the figures of the date are followed by the word aminē which is itself followed by a
vertical stroke and a sign somewhat resembling the figure 5. Perhaps the intended reading was Asvi- (Āśvi)nē 15.