SATAVAHANA ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE
dynasty (sAtavAhana) (ಸಾತವಾಹನ,
ಶಾತವಾಹನ) ruled in various parts of ‘Dakhan’
region comprising of Andhrapradesh,
Banavasi and Sannathi are the most
important bases of The Shatavahana architecture. Pioneering work by
H.R.raghunatha Bhat has unearthed a considerable number of relics. Foundations
of brick structures, pottery, clay idols, beads, bangles and coins unearthed
here resemble the Shatavahana relics found elsewhere in
Many finely polished, red coloured clay dolls found here are hollow and probably they were created from moulds. Dolls Yaksha, yakshi, horse and pigs are worthy of notice. The jewlry, hairstyle and facial expressions of the female icons deserve a detailed study. Many other statues do have Shatavahana features, but they are virtually in tatters and consequently it is difficult to arrive at any positive conclusion. The Naga sculpture found in the precincts of the Madhukshvara temple ranks among the earliest sculptures of Karnataka and it is a very fine model of Chutu-Shatavahana sculptural art. This icon was sculpted by a sculptor called ‘naTaka’. This is the first mention of a sculptor in Karnataka. The Buddhist Viharas in Banavasi mentioned by Hu En Tsang would have provided ample evidence of Shatavahana architecture. But they have not been traced.
Sannathi in Gulbarga district is another place where Buddhist-Shatavahana relics were found plentifully in recent times. This place was ruled by the Shathavahana kings from the first century A.D. to the third century A.D. The ruins of Buddhist stupas and other material of archaeological significance were scattered around this place. Bricks, tiles, earthen vessels with colored spots, clay and crystal utensils, beads, shell bangles, earthen idols and toys, hollow idols made of clay are some of the interesting discoveries. The clay dolls of human beings and animals have a touch of folk art. The Buddhist stupa is now razed to the ground and only the circular foundation has remained in tact. Some plaques that must have formed the covering for the egg shaped outer dome of the stupa are found in the vicinity. They contain carvings of a he-buffalo and a few winged horses in its pursuit. These figures are highly realistic and are vibrant with life energy. They depict the rich and luxuriant life style during the regime of the Shatavahanas. Many of them are intimate family scenes. Some lead coins and beads made of Cornelian and lapris are indicative of Shatavahana presence. Similar artifacts found in Brahmagiri, Chandravalli, Kurugodu, Vadgaon-madhavapur and Hampi can be definitely associated with the Shatavahana style
Shatavahana kings have encouraged Hinduism also to some extent. The pillar inscriptions at Chandravalli and Talagunda refer to the praNavEshvara linga and lOkanAtha linga worshipped by the sAtakarNi kings. Parts of brick buildings reminiscent of Shatvahanas are found at doNanaguDda near tALagunda and maLeya mallEsha temple in Balligaave. harISi village in Soraba talluk contains an ancient Shivalinga and corresponding wall foundations. A bass relief found in Belvadagi village of Gulbarga district depicts a human couple with a cart driven by oxen.
Even the coins minted during Chutu-Shatavahana regime contains images and and drawings which are in tune with Shatavahana art tradition. Two forts belonging to this period are found in Banavasi and Sannathi.
All in all, Shatavahana architecture and sculpture constitute a minor presence in Karnataka. This is perhaps due to the fact that many evidences are now extinct. However the relics are among the most ancient ones in the state.
1. SATAVAHANA CULTURE IN KARNATAKA-RECENT EVIDENCES By Dr. A. V. Narasimha Murthy in ‘Sri Subrahmanya Smriti’ Dr. Raviprolu Subrahmanyam commemoration volume, Volume 2 edited By Inguva Karthikeya Sharma and B.Vidyadhara Rao, 1981, Sundeep Prakashan.
Shatvahanara Kale’ (Kannada) By H.R.Raghunatah Bhat in ‘Karnataka Shasana,
3. ‘Recent researches in Karnataka archaeology’ By MV Krishnappa, R Gopal - 2000 - Department… of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Karnataka
4. ‘Vadgaon-Madhavapur’ By A.Sundara, The Andhrapradesh Journal of Archaeology, 1990, Director of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Andhrapradesh