The capital of the Vakataka dynasty that built the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad was found in present-day Nagardhan village near Ramtek of Nagpur by a group of archaeologists from Deccan College. Nandivardhan, the then capital, was of great significance to the dynasty which ruled south-western India from 250-550 AD.
A team from the Department of Archaeology and Museums of Government of Maharashtra led by project director Virag Sontakke, excavated the site from 2015 to 2018. Some typical artifacts from the time of Vakatak rule were unearthed during the period, along with ceramics and ear studs made of glass, that date back to 3-4th century BCE, said the researchers.
The researchers found written inscriptions and copper plates featuring the Vataka king Prithvisena, which attests to the fact that the king shifted his capital from Padmapura to Nandivardhan, during his rule. Apart from that, votive shrines, tanks, iron chisel, bowls and pots, terracotta images of gods, humans, spindle whorls and various day to day objects were also recovered from the place.
Shantanu Vaidya, a co-director told IE that, “The excavations were carried out in a planned way at six different locations. From the materials excavated, we find strong links confirming the presence of a capital of Vakataka dynasty here.”
Another vital sign that the team came across while excavating was a near-intact clay sealing of the Vakataka empress Prabhavatigupta, the chief queen of the Vakataka king Rudrasena II and daughter of Chandragupta II.