Sanghol is a village located in Fatehgarh Sahib District of Punjab, India, It is also known as Uchha Pind Sanghol. Situated on the top of a mound, it is about 40 km from Chandigarh on the way to Ludhiana and approximately 8 km from Morinda, and is spread over an area of 20 km. This place holds a special position on the archaeological atlas of India. It is famed for the Sanghol Museum. A large of number of relics dating from the late Harappan civilization (1720 BC – 1300 BC) to 6th century AD is found here.
Sanghol is one of the most important sites in the Punjab where antiquities of many periods in history have been discovered. It is particularly rich in Huna coins. Indeed no other site has yielded as many coins of the Huna period. Excavations at the site have yielded coins and seals related to Toramana and Mihirkula belonging to Central Asia.
Sanghol was also an important centre of Buddhism and was visited by the Chinese pilgrim Yuan-Chawang during the period 629-645AD. It was also the capital of the kingdom of She-to-tu-lo or Satadru. She-to-tu-lo was evidently the land of the river Sutlej which is just nine miles from Sanghol, where the remains of an ancient stupa have been found. A Buddhist stupa was excavated in 1968, but in February 1985 a rich treasure of 117 beautiful carved stone slabs which includes 69 pillars, 35 crossbars, figures and figurines, was excavated by the experts of the Directorate of Archaeology, Punjab. Scholars have explained them as Kushan sculptures of the Mathura school of the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. These treasures have since been displayed for art lovers and historians in the Sanghol Museum. Many of the art pieces from this museum often go on display as special exhibits at various museums around the world.
Sanghol is a famous village in the area. There are some mythical stories about the destruction of this village. The main village sits very high clearly visible from the surrounding towns. It is also linked to the Kissa (narrative) "Roop Basant" stories as well. Some people from surrounding villages say that its ancient name was Sangla-deep.
The Hunas, a barbaric, fierce and nomadic central Asian tribe, invaded India during the time of Skanda Gupta (455-467 AD) through the north west, destroying and plundering the Buddhist cities and monasteries. They settled in Sanghol and attacked other parts of India from there. Evidence of this is seen in coins and names. Sanghol was clearly an important political and trading centre.
Sanghol has an extremely long history. It was first occupied by the Harappan Civilisation around 2000BC and then by people using painted grey ware in the first half of the first millennium BC. The next inhabitants of the site were people using black slipped ware between 700BC. During the rule of the Indo-Parthian King Gondopharnese, in the first century AD, Sanghol was an important part of the kingdom. In the Kushana period (1st-3rd century AD), the town was expanded and became a major centre of trade, traffic, religion and art. A large citadel and a series of moats were built to protect residents from outside attack and in recognition of the city’s standing.
A variety of coins and seals of the Kushana rulers were found with Kharoshi and Brahmi scripts. This shows that Sanghol was a very prosperous centre. The stupa, along with a monastery, was established during this period. In Gupta times (4th and 5th centuries), Sanghol was the seat of a governor or a chieftain, as indicated by the discovery of a large number of seals bearing the legend ‘Sri Maharaja Kapita Niyuktasyadhikarnasys’ in Gupta script.
In addition, many seals bearing the figures and symbols of Hindu gods such as Vishnu and Siva, as well as some terracotta figurines of Mahishamardini, were found at Sanghol. The mound’s surface has also yielded a standard type of gold coin of Samudragupta, one of the most illustrious Gupta kings. Two gold coins with the legend Vasu in Brahmi were also found. Vasu was one of the successors of the imperial Kushanas from the middle of the third century AD.
Sanghol was reduced by vigorous attacks of the Hunas in the fifth century. Among findings from the period are a large number of coins of Toramana and Mihirkula, as well as a copper seal of Mihirikula. A gold coin of Kidar Kushana, a silver coin of Samanta Deva and Sapalpata Deva and many from the Kotas and late Kushanas and a few from Balban were also found on the site. These show that the site was occupied up to early mediaeval times, after which it was deserted for a period. The site was reoccupied on several occasions including by the Rajputs of Jaisalmer during the time of Jehangir in the early 17th century.
Today Sanghol is home to several communities who live there in complete harmony. It is now a vast site of rolling mounds concealing the remains of those who lived and died there over the centuries.