Sites & cities that bear the name of Kosambi


Today in : India
First trace of activity : ca. 12th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Recorded names : Kosabi, 𑀓𑁄𑀲𑀩𑀺, Kaushambi, Kauśâmbî

Description : Kosambi (Pali) or Kaushambi (Sanskrit) was an important city in ancient India. It was the capital of the Vatsa kingdom, one of the sixteen mahajanapadas. It was located on the Yamuna River about 56 kilometres (35 mi) southwest of its confluence with the Ganges at Prayaga (modern Prayagraj). Kosambi was one of the greatest cities in India from the late Vedic period until the end of Maurya Empire with occupation continuing until the Gupta Empire. As a small town, it was established in the late Vedic period, by the rulers of Kuru Kingdom as their new capital. The initial Kuru capital Hastinapur was destroyed by floods, and the Kuru King transferred his entire capital with the subjects to a new capital that he built near the Ganga-Jamuma confluence, which was 56 km away from the southernmost part of the Kuru Kingdom now as Prayagraj previously called Allahabad. During the period prior the Maurya Empire, Kosambi was the capital of the independent kingdom of Vatsa, one of the Mahajanapadas. Kosambi was a very prosperous city by the time of Gautama Buddha, where a large number of wealthy merchants resided. It was an important entrepôt of goods and passengers from north-west and south. It figures very prominently in the accounts of the life of Buddha. The excavations of the archaeological site of Kosambi was done by G. R. Sharma of Allahabad University in 1949 and again in 1951–1956 after it was authorized by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in March 1948. Excavations have suggested that the site may have been occupied as early as the 12th century BCE. Its strategic geographical location helped it emerge as an important trading center. According to James Heitzman, a large rampart of piled mud was constructed in the 7th to 5th centuries BCE, and was subsequently strengthened by brick walls and bastions, with numerous towers, battlements, and gateways but according to archaeologist G. R. Sharma who led the archaeological excavation of the city, rampart was built and provided with brick revetment between 1025 BC and 955 BC and moat was excavated at the earliest between 855 and 815 BC. Carbon dating of charcoal and Northern Black Polished Ware have historically dated its continued occupation from 390 BC to 600 A.D. Kosambi was a fortified town with an irregular oblong plan. Excavations of the ruins revealed the existence of gates on three sides-east, west and north. The location of the southern gate can not be precisely determined due to water erosion. Besides the bastions, gates and sub-gates, the city was encircled on three sides by a moat, which, though filled up at places, it still discernible on the northern side. At some points, however, there is evidence of more than one moat. The city extended to an area of approximately 6.5 km. The city shows a large extent of brickworks indicating the density of structures in the city. The Buddhist commentarial scriptures give two reasons for the name Kausambi/Kosambī. The more favoured is that the city was so called because it was founded in or near the site of the hermitage once occupied by the sage Kusumba (v.l. Kusumbha). Another explanation is that large and stately neem trees or Kosammarukkhā grew in great numbers in and around the city.

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