Buddhist treasure troves of Visakhapatnam

Buddhist treasure troves of Visakhapatnam

2022-11-26 09:51:24

There are a variety of theories on how town of Visakhapatnam acquired its title. One amongst them means that town was named after the earliest Buddhist girl monk or ‘Bhikkhuni’ by the title ‘Visakha’. Although that is disputed by many, fairly a number of senior historians, archaeologists and anthropologists from Andhra College help this principle.

It’s a well-known proven fact that this a part of the current Andhra Pradesh was then (third century BC) a part of ‘Dakshina Kalinga’ (southern Kalinga) and was below the ‘Asmaka Janapada’.

Distinctive to Visakhapatnam

In A.P. itself there are round 300 recognised Buddhist websites, however what makes Visakhapatnam distinctive is that about 4 main Buddhist settlements are positioned inside a radius of about simply 20 km.

Extra importantly, in contrast to within the case of different Buddhist settlements which had been positioned near rivers, these 4 websites are positioned on hillocks near the ocean (Bay of Bengal). From Srikakulam to Visakhapatnam, there are about eight main Buddhist websites and these 4 websites in Visakhapatnam shaped a cluster, mentioned former Head of the Division of Anthropology, AU, Prof. P.D. Satyapal.

The websites have been recognized as Thotlakonda, Bavikonda, Pavuralakonda and Panchadarla. Whereas the primary three are positioned near the seashore, Panchadarla is positioned within the hinterland however falls throughout the 20 km radius.

Nearly all 4 websites had been monasteries and every accommodated, on common, near 150 to 170 monks, because the excavation has proven the presence of single-room ‘Viharas’, the resting place for the monks.

Historians counsel that if about 600 monks had been current inside a radius of about 20 km, then at the moment Visakhapatnam will need to have been a affluent village or city, with a inhabitants of near 40,000 folks.

This principle relies on the truth that Buddhist monks lived by looking for alms and imparting information, from and to the folks. “It’s only in the course of the monsoon interval that the monks cooked for themselves, as they didn’t come out, as per the previous Buddhist texts,” mentioned Prof. Satyapal.

As per the archaeologists of the ASI, all 4 websites date again to the third century BC they usually flourished until the tip of the third century AD. Initially, the monks practised the earliest type of Buddhism, the ‘Hinayana’ mannequin of Buddhism.

The ‘Ashoka’ connection

Thotlakonda is exclusive, as the traditional complicated is perched atop a hill at a top of about 128 metres above sea degree. It instantly overlooks Bay of Bengal and as per the historians, it has derived the native title due to the variety of rock-cut cisterns current there, as ‘Thotla’ in Telugu interprets to water tanks.

There’s clear proof that this complicated was the connecting level to all different complexes, because it was from right here that there was sea-borne commerce and journey.

Based on Prof. Satyapal, there’s an historical map at a Buddhist complicated in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which means that Sangamitra, the daughter of Asoka the emperor, had began her sea-borne journey to Sri Lanka to evangelise Buddhism from this area, and he or she had carried the well-known Bodhi sapling someplace from this location. Historians infer that it might be from Thotlakonda.

This web site got here to mild throughout an aerial survey by the Indian Navy for organising a sign station. After its discovery, main excavations have been carried out by the Andhra Pradesh State Archaeology Division from 1988 to 1993.

Findings from excavation

“It was throughout these excavations that silver cash of the Roman empire and lead cash of the Satavahana dynasty had been discovered. Terracotta tiles and pottery, ornamental items and miniature stupa fashions in stone and different archaeological artefacts had been discovered. About twelve inscriptions on stone, in Brahmi and Pali scripts, had been additionally discovered, which indicated that the complicated might need been referred to as ‘Senagiri- Sena’ which suggests elder- superior,” Edward Paul, historical past chronicler of Visakhapatnam and member of Indian Nationwide Belief for Artwork and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

In Bavikonda’s excavations, gold caskets had been discovered with the stays of human bones together with charcoal, which signifies that it would belong to a revered monk or to Buddha himself. They’re now within the museum in Hyderabad and we demand that they be returned to A.P., submit bifurcation of the State, Mr. Paul added.

Although Pavurallakonda and Panchadarla are but to be absolutely excavated, all three forms of ‘Stupas’ reminiscent of ‘Maha Stupa’, ‘Parabhogika Stupa’ and ‘Votive Stupas’ had been discovered at Thotlakonda and Bavikonda.

At Thotlakonda, other than the ‘stupas’ and ‘viharas’, there’s proof that there existed one giant congregation corridor, with about 64 pillars.

Uncared for websites

Consultants and heritage lovers really feel that ample safety will not be given to the websites, because the websites, particularly Bavikonda and Pavurallakonda are discovered plagued by liquor bottles and different waste materials.

Furthermore, in addition they really feel that the conservation and preservation of the websites weren’t carried out utilizing correct scientific strategies. “You both go away such excavated websites as they’re or preserve and protect them scientifically. There is no such thing as a level utilizing new bricks and different supplies to revive the websites, simply to draw vacationers,” they are saying.

Based on Ms. Rani Sarma, former convenor of INTACH and heritage activist, the earlier State authorities had chosen to subordinate the State Archaeological Division to the State Tourism Division and indiscriminately undertook development exercise, a few of which even might have violated the provisions of the A.P. Historic Monuments and Archaeological Websites and Stays Act of 1960.

There have been additionally some makes an attempt by the sooner and the current State Governments to participate of the land at Thotlakonda to construct some buildings, which had been opposed by the civil society and the makes an attempt had been stalled after a case was filed within the A.P. Excessive Courtroom.

Former bureaucrat EAS Sarma mentioned that every one the lands fall below the A.P. Historic and Historic Monuments, Archaeological Websites and Stays Act, 1960, and trying to take action will probably be unlawful.

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