Friday, December 23, 2016

Commemorative Postage Stamp released on Samrat Vikramadiya on 22-12-2016

Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of ancient India. He is characterised as the ideal king, known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. There are hundreds of legends about Vikramaditya, including the ones in Baital Pachisi and Singhasan Battisi. Most of the legends present him as a universal ruler with his capital at Ujjain (Pataliputra or Pratishthana in a few stories).

According to the popular tradition, Vikramaditya started the Vikrama Samvat era in 57 BCE, after defeating the Shakas. For this reason, those who believe him to be based on a distinct historical figure place him around the 1st century BCE. However, this era is mentioned as "Vikrama Samvat" only after the 9th century CE. Other scholars argue that Vikramaditya is a mythical character as several of the legends about him are fantastic in nature. "Vikramaditya" was a common title adopted by several Indian kings, and it is possible that the various Vikramaditya legends are embellished accounts of different kings, particularly Chandragupta II.

Many Vikramaditya legends, especially the Jain ones, associate him with another legendary king—Shalivahana of Pratishthana. In some of them, he is defeated by Shalivahana (who establishes the Shalivahana era) while in others, he is an ancestor of Shalivahana; a few legends also apply the title of Vikramaditya to the king of Pratishthana. The political rivalry between the two kings is sometimes also extended to patronage of language, with Vikramaditya supporting Sanskrit and Shalivahana supporting Prakrit.

Department of Posts has released commemorative postage stamp on Samrat Vikramadiya on 22-12-2016

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