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Kotalingala village faces threat from Yellampally

M.L.Melly Maitreyi

The site excavation holds key to pre-Sathavahana history


There is no recorded history of early Andhra kings

Kotalingala coins prove antiquity of Telugu language



HYDERABAD: Are we on the verge of losing a treasure trove of archaeological evidence to the early history of Andhra Kings whose territory extended up to Central India much before the well-documented Sathavahana period?

The answer could be an unfortunate ‘yes’ if Kotalingala village in Karimnagar district, with tell-tale evidences of archaeological proof that can throw more light about the pre-Sathavahana period, is submerged by Yellampally project. This, even before a proposed thorough investigation of site is taken up by the government.

Time is running out as the project is progressing well and the villagers are to be shifted to pave way for the work. Though the Archaeology Department carried out excavations in a haphazard manner during 1978 -83 which resulted in finding of 450 coins, gold beads, pottery, decorative art of pre-Sathavahana period, a report was published only last year.

But the much-needed resurvey and systematic excavation of the 120-acre site at Kotalingala with remnants of fort, stupa, ancient Siva temple, open wells and connecting channels to know more about pre-Sathavahana period, not documented anywhere, is still hanging fire.

Significant discovery

The discovery of the coins of pre-Sathavahana and Sathavahana period in 1978 is considered significant in the numismatics history of South India as for the first time it showed that the inscribed coins belonged to Gobada, first Andhra King who ruled from Kotalingala and others followed by Satavahana kings.

Gobada is acknowledged as the first king who issued inscribed coins in the Andhra region, says numismatist D.Raja Reddy who did extensive research and brought out several publications along with P.Suryanarayana Reddy giving a clear description of these coins.

There is no recorded history of early Andhra kings and the Puranas only talk about Sathavahanas, referred to as Andhra Bhruthyas, who actually succeeded Andhra Kings but it was never conclusively proved till the discovery of Kotilingala coins, Dr. Reddy explained.

Just as Nagarjuna Konda and Amaravathi were preserved for posterity as a mark of contribution of Ikshvakus, who ruled a small territory in Krishna delta only for 100 years, Kotilingala fort site, the place from where Sathavahanas ruled up to Gwalior, comprising half of India at one time, should be preserved and protected.

The excavation could throw up valuable inputs just like Harappan excavations, Dr. Reddy says.

Kotalingala coins also came handy in proving the antiquity of Telugu in comparison to other Dravidian languages and the government has also published a book on it written by Dr. Reddy.

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