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Lapis found in Chandrawati depict trade ties with Afghanistan

Udaipur : The discovery of Lapis Lazuli, a semi precious stone at the archaeological site at Chandravati in Sirohi district recently, indicates trade relations between the Parmar dynasty and Afghanistan people, way back the Harrappan times. The ancient settlement is held to belong to Parmars of Abu branch spread in about 50 hectares. The team excavating at the archaeological site at Chandravati in Sirohi district found a small sized precious stone identified as Lapis Lazuli commonly known as Lajwart in hindi, which has great astrological importance too. The second season of excavation that commenced from January 12 is nearing its culmination as the team is set to wind up the digging task this week.

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The project is a joint venture of the Archaeological department and Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University, Udaipur. Archaeologists say, the presence of the stone in Chandrawati, which is found only in the Hindukush mountain region of Afghan territory suggest that the prosperous Parmar dynasty had business ties with the Afghanistan traders and perhaps they were informed of the astrological importance of the rare stone.“ Lapis is a semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense blue color. It has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for 6,500 years, and trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian sites, and lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania” said project director Prof. J.S. Kharakwal of JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth.

This opaque, deep blue gemstone has a grand past. It was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewellery and worked on. At excavations in the ancient centres of culture around the Mediterranean, archaeologists have again and again found among the grave furnishings decorative chains and figures made of lapis lazuli – clear indications that the deep blue stone was already popular thousands of years ago among the people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. “ Sodalite- a rich royal blue mineral which is found in Ajmer has some resemblance to the Lapis with red spots inside, however, Sodalite lack the luster and texture which is seen in Lapis, said Prof. Kharakwal. The bead found is half a centimeter in size. “ It is early to say now that the Chandrawati people had this stone for some religious or astrological purpose, same time, it cannot be ruled out that they knew its importance because the 33 temple complexes, remains of many Hindu and Jain deities explored here has established the fact that religion was given prominence by the people 1000 years ago” Prof Kharakwal claimed.


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