Nepal attracts people as a land of natural beauty, its hills and valleys, high snow capped peaks and its living temples and images sculptured on stones and woods with a high degree of artistic excellence displayed in the most inimitable style and existing since early centuries of the era. It is a country where lies the tallest mountains peak of the world and where lies the land where the great Buddha was born. It is a land of hoary antiquity and glorious past.
In the present volume the main task is to bring out in detail the epigraphic sources of the ancient period and we have tried to collect as many inscriptions as could be available to us in the present work. The volume in hand includes even those materials which have been traced up to date. Their number has gone to more than 170.
Actually speaking the inscriptions are the only source materials for the writing of the history of Nepal which is fascinating. Engraved on slabs of stones or pillars or pedestals of images or terracottas in late Brahmi script through Sanskrit medium they throw a flood of light on the cultural, political and economic aspects of life in ancient Nepal so that a complete history can be constructed on sure and secure foundation.
If epigraphy alone has come to our aid in history writing we should say that it is more true of Nepal of the ancient time. But that does not mean that we can ignore extant Indian, Chinese and Tibetan sources. Nor we can underrate the utility of Indian Smrti texts which provide a lot of information on subjects of socio-economic importance. However, the information is much limited and we are unable to give a total and complete structure of the situation.
A thorough scrutiny of the lines inscribed is made to give the records a correct reading as far as possible. Errors of reading so far made have been checked and corrected and corrections have continued till the lat so that the matter presented comes precisely in the right shape as far as possible. The value of the collection is enhanced because of the photographs of all the inscriptions through which the scholars can read for themselves the exact version of the text inscriptions and judge for themselves if my reading could be accepted as correct.
We have also the English translation of all the texts of inscriptions and it will surely help all those people who are not conversant with all Sanskrit to have thorough understanding of the contents of the texts incorporated in the volume. The notes which are separately published will enable the readers to understand and grasp the real purpose of all these expressions which might appear hard to follow in view of the context peculiar to the country they belong to. This is also the first time an English translation of the Inscription of Ancient Nepal has appeared.
There are many words which only a scholar of Nepalese history can understand and no one interested in Nepal can afford to miss them. The special notes the compiler has added to the work will be of immense utility to such people.
The work is chronologically documented, comprehensive in scope and illuminating as regards the meaning of the content and the picture emerging. This is the latest attempt at compiling and editing of inscriptional source materials of the history of a small but beautiful and proud country.
The book is divided into 4 parts: (1) Text of the inscriptions in the Devanagari scrip, (2) English translation, (3) Special notes regarding words and phrases of historical, social, political, cultural and economic importance. And (4) Photographs of all the inscriptions. There will be one more volume exclusively devoted to socio-economic conditions of ancient Nepal under a different designation.
This will be a really valuable addition to the growing volume of literature on subjects concerning Nepal.