रूद्र पाड़ा, सुल्तानगंज (Rudra Pada) – Sultanganj

(Content source: http://silentpagesindia.blogspot.com/)

Top view of Rudra Pada Rock, Sultanganj (image source: http://silentpagesindia.blogspot.com/)

Just below the Murali hill, exists a neglected but massive rock boulder which has the potential of transforming the identity of the site for popular tourism. The reason for such potential is since among various sculpted panels on its face containing different images of Shiva and other deities, it has a unique sculpture, a representation of the foot prints of Shiva, which is probably not found elsewhere, with an inscription below, in boldly cut Gupta age (4th/5th Century AD) letters, which was also noted by Cunningham, who read it as ‘Rudra Mahalaya‘ or ”Rudra-mahala‘ and thus called it as ‘Rudrapada’.

Foot prints of Shiva, Rudra Pada, Sultanganj (image source: http://silentpagesindia.blogspot.com/)

It seems that in the past, this particular rock boulder, which has a Shiva Linga sculpted on the top facing the sky, may actually have been associated with some legend regarding the footprints of Lord Shiva, which has probably been lost and remains unknown.

That the site had been surely popular in the Gupta times is clear from the existence of inscriptions not only on the Rudrapada, but also on other sculptures including one under a large head in a niche “in beautifully formed Gupta characters”, and reading as “Kumarasya17”, and under another figure in two lines of Gupta characters reading “Dedharmmayam Vahakasya (i.e. a pious gift of Vahaka)18”. Bloch summarily mentioned two of these inscriptions as belonging to the 7th or 8th century and nothing further.