Material evidence supporting the time of Mahabharatha

Archeological research is though going on only in a moderate phase to unveil the material evidences of Mahabharata, there are some convincing evidences emerging out because of these efforts. In Kurukshetra, the scene of the great Mahabharata war, Iron arrows and spearheads have been excavated and dated by thermoluminence to 2,800 B.C.E., the approximate date of the war given within the Mahabharata itself.

The Mahabharata also describes three cities given to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharata, after their exile: Paniprastha, Sonaprastha & Indraprastha, which is Delhi's Puranaqila. These sites have been identified and yielded pottery & antiquities, which show a cultural consistency & dating consistent for the Mahabharata period, again verifying statements recorded in the Vedic literatures.

Marine archaeology has also been utilized in India off the coast of the ancient port city of Dvaraka in Gujarat, uncovering further evidence in support of statements in the Vedic scriptures. An entire submerged city at Dvaraka, the ancient port city of Lord Krishna with its massive fort walls, piers, warfs and jetty has been found in the ocean as described in the Mahabharata and other Vedic literatures.

This sanskrit verse from the Mausala Parva 7 verse 40 of the Mahabharata, describes the disappearance of the city of Dvaraka into the sea.
"After all the people had set out, the ocean flooded Dvaraka, which still teemed with wealth of every kind. Whatever portion of land was passed over, the ocean immediately flooded over with its waters."

Dr. S. R. Rao, formerly of the Archaeological Survey of India, [ Also read  Discoveries of S.R.Roa ] has pioneered marine archaeology in India. Marine archaeological findings seem to corroborate descriptions in the Mahabharata of Dvaraka as a large, well-fortified and prosperous port city, which was built on land reclaimed from the sea, and later taken back by the sea.

Dr. Rao wrote "The discovery of the legendary city of Dwaraka which is said to have been founded by Sri Krishna, is an important landmark in the history of India. It has set to rest the doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of Mahabharata and the very existence of Dwaraka city. It has greatly narrowed the gap in Indian history by establishing the continuity of the Indian civilization from the Vedic Age to the present day."

Among the extensive underwater discoveries were the massive Dvaraka city wall, a large door-socket and a bastion from the fort wall. Two rock-cut slipways of varying width, extending from the beach to the intertidal zone, a natural harbor, as well as a number of olden stone ship anchors were discovered, attesting to Dvaraka being an ancient port city. The three headed motif on this conch-shell seal, found in the Dvaraka excavations, corroborates the reference in the scripture Harivamsa that every citizen of Dvaraka should carry a mudra or seal of this type. Ref  [

Apart from Dvaraka, more than thirty-five sites in North India have yielded archaeological evidence and have been identified as ancient cities described in the Mahabharatha. Copper utensils, iron, seals, gold & silver ornaments, terracotta discs and painted grey ware pottery have all been found in these sites. Scientific dating of these artifacts corresponds to the non-aryan-invasion model of Indian antiquity.  Moreover we should acknowledge that India unlike Turkey and Greece was continuously and densely inhabitated for thousands of years. Archeological surveys are very difficult to be conducted. When the europeans with their advanced and hi-tech equipments are unable to escavate the city of Atlantis in southern Spain (that too being an unused baren land) due to water pressure and other constraints !! imagine the case of the densely populated India. May be in future with advanced technologies we could bring to light more evidences from these densely populated areas. [read more about Dr S.R.Roa findings]

Sri Kota Venkatachalam the author of the book “Age of Mahabharata War” gives us the details regarding the inscriptional evidences available. He states "There are mainly four inscriptions extant are available to us which prove conclusively that the Mahabharata war occurred in B.C. 3138 or 36 years before Kali".

"After Parikshit died in B.C. 3041 his son Janemejaya was crowned in. In the 29th year of his reign that is in B.C.3013-3012 or Kali 89, in the year Plavanga on Monday the-new-moon day at the end of Chaitra, he donated two villages to two religious institutions and the two gift deeds were prescribed. The first inscription is found published in the pages 333, 334 of the Indian Antiquary which clearly states that the gift of land for the worship of Sitarama made by Emperor Janamejaya in Jayabhyudaya Yudhistira Saka 89 means Kali 89 or B.C.(3101-81)=3012".

The 2nd inscription is that of a copper-plate on which a gift deed in inscribed and is preserved to this day at the Kedara Kshetra, in the Himalayas. A similar gift of land was made by Emperor Janamejaya for the worship of Kedaranatha swamy.

The 3rd inscription is an inscription on the walls of a temple of a siva in the village “Iballi” in the Dharwar district. It was carved by the direction of king Pulakesin II in A.D.634.

The 4th one is the copper plate inscription of Emperor Sudhanva who ruled over Gujarat. It was a memorandum presented by Emperor Sudhanva to Sri Sankara was inscribed on copper-plate dated the year 2663 on the Yudhishtira Saka. The copper plate inscription of Emperor Sudhanva proves that the year of the demise of Sri Sankara is 2663 of the Yudhishtira Era or B.C. 477-76. The beginning of Yudhishtira Era is the time of the Mahabharata war. It had already proved to be B.C. 3138. So Sri Sankara’s life works out to be B.C. 509 to B.C.477-476, Yudhishtira Era 2662+476=3138 B.C.

The other inscriptions available are (1) The gift deeds dated on the Gupta Era (2) An inscription found in the temple of Madhukeswara in the village Banavasi in the North Canara district dated 168 of the Yudhishtira Era. (3) The inscription in the Belgaum district of the Mysore state dated on the Yudhishtira Era. [source : The ]