This book is the outcome of sustained interest, occasional surveys and researches in the archaeological and cultural heritage of Haryana by the author during the last four decades.
The very strategic location of Haryana on the route connecting India with the western world made it a rendezvous of the east and west and also a state to bear the brunt of all alien incursions from the early historic to medieval times. The medieval iconoclastic hordes demolished all religious edifices and tried to destroy all icons and images that came their way. What survived was very little. When the present state of Haryana was carved out of Punjab as a result of reorganization in November 1966, it was almost terra incognito as far as sculptures are concerned.
A short stint as the Deputy Director of the State Department of Archaeology and Museums in the eighties of the last century provided the author an opportunity not only to undertake exploratory tours and discover the things himself but also to have a first hand knowledge of what was discovered by others and existed in different holdings, institutional and personal. The present work lists about two hundred sites which have yielded sculptural remains. On the basis of unfinished sculptures about half a dozen centres producing sculptures have also been identified.
As in most other parts of northern India, sculptural activity started in Haryana during the Sunga-Kushana period. Its vicinity to Mathura may have been one of the incentives. Ganesa holding a sword from Gurawara and yogasana-Ganesa from Pinjore are interesting examples of iconography. Ekanamsa from Sanghel and images of Vishnu-Kubera from Pinjore, Ardhanari-Vishnu from Jaintipur; Harihara-Pitamaha from Purkhas; etc. are beautiful examples of art and iconography. Most of these and Jaina images have been brought to light for the first time.
The book discusses the iconography and style of all important Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina images discovered from the state so far and with nearly 400 text figures and plates, it presents a visual feast.
- Vishnu's incarnatory forms
- Syncretistic images
- Miscellaneous icons
- Buddhist images
- Jaina images
- Select bibliography