Another reason to visit Kamakhya -The Umachal Rock Inscription
Ever visited the Kamakhya temple in Assam ? Located in the heart of the Guwahati city on a hill top, the Kamakhya temple attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. Though the temple is famous for its sprituality, but there are other factors that make it a “must visit place”.
The temple has a large amount of sculptures and inscriptions that when observed minutely tells of the history of this region. One such inscription is the Umachal Rock Inscription. The inscriptions of ancient Assam are generally found engraved and not written.
The Umachal Rock Inscription belonged to Maharajadhiraja Surendravarman,identified with king Mahendravarman of the Pushyavarman dynasty. It belonged to the 5th century AD and was meant to serve the purpose of a label of an artificial cave or cave temple constructed by Maharaja Surendravarman for Bhagavat Balabhadrasvamin. The importance of this inscription lies in the fact that Maharaja Suredravarman known from this record to have held sway over the heart of the Pragjyotisha-Kamrupa country (ancient name of Assam) during the rule of the Guptas but without assuming the imperial style ‘Paramesvara’ or ‘Paramabhattaraka’ is not known from any source. The inscription certained the fact that Surendervarman was a predecessor of king Bhaskarvarman (greatest king of the varman dynasty) because the Umachal hill lies in a short distance from Guwahati where the kings of Pushyavarman’s house had their headquarters. Ofcourse it is not altogether impossible that he was a person belonging to the same line or another dynasty and ruled for a short time but historians prefer to call him Mahendravarman. This is because ancient kings liked to have numerous names and they were sometimes named by synonyms. The word mahendra(the great Indra) and surendra (the lord of gods) being synonymous can be possible to be meaning one person. Mahendravarman’s father Ganapativarman was also called Ganendravarman because both ‘Ganapati’ and ‘Ganendra’ mean the god Ganesha.
The king mentioned in the Umachal inscription was devoted to Bagavat Balabhadrasvamin who was probably not a saint but the vaishnavite deity variously called Balarama or Balabhadra, mostly regarded as vyuhas of Vishnu. The independent worship of Balabhadra being rare elsewhere in India,its occurence in Assam in the 5th century AD is an interesting fact of the religious history of India.