according to Hiuen Tsang.
     Both Bana and Hiuen Tsang talk about the existence of many subcastes
such as the class of vernacular poets, class of bards, class of betal-bearers,
and so on. However, all those groups and subcastes were not new to this
period and at least some of them existed in the earlier periods. The rise of
those subcastes was due to the social violation in the code of marriages and
general ethics, and also different occupations. Hiuen Tsang takes note of
many outcastes and untouchables such as butchers, fishermen, executioners
arid scavengers, who were segregated and were not allowed to mix with the
people of the higher varnas and had habitations marked by a distinguishing
     The position of women seems to have suffered a further decline during
this period. The institution of svayamvara (self-choice in choosing the
partner) declined and there is no instance of its practice in the contemporary
literature. Remarriage of widows was not permitted particularly among the
higher varnas. The evil system of dowry, according to Bana, was quite
common. There are also a few examples of the practice of committing sati.
Religion under Harsha
Brahmanism, which reasserted itself under the Guptas, got further
strengthened during this period. Its gradual ascendancy brought about the
decline of Buddhism despite the patronage given to it by Harsha which is
evident from the account of Hiuen Tsang. But Jainism did not undergo any
major changes and it made neither progress nor any decay. Saivism became
the main theistic system of this period. But Vaishnavism, which was very
popular during the age of the Guptas, was gradually declining during this
period as is evident from the rare references to it. The Vedic ceremonies and
rituals once again came to be regarded as inseparable and integral
constituents of Brahmanism, and the people practised them on a large scale.
                           SIRPUR TEMPLE
  The archaeological remains in and around Sirpur consist of both Hindu
  and Buddhist monuments in the form of temples and monasteries. Among