New Indian Express
By Biju E Paul
Published: 03rd November 2014
ALAPPUZHA: The 12th century remains of the Buddhist monument at Karumadi is being renovated. The Department of Archaeology has begun renovating the statue of Lord Buddha at Karumadi near Ambalappuzha in Alappuzha.
The statue well known as Karumadikuttan forms one of the main archeological remains the religion in the state. The damaged statue is an icon that highlights the presence of the ancient religion of Asia here.
The historians believe that the statue may have been destroyed in an elephant attack.
According to G Premkumar, director of the Department of Archaeology, the department has been allotted `15 lakh for carrying out the preliminary restoration works. A compound wall, landscaping, installing of floor tiles, lights, security cabin, resting place for visitors and information counters will be constructed as a part of the project. The works are expected to be completed by December, he said.
We will deploy security guards here once the construction of the security cabin is completed,” said the director. Premkumar said that the statue is mat have belonged to the period to the 9th and 10th century, when Buddhism was at its peak. ‘Karumadikuttan’ is a large black granite statue of Lord Buddha and is located about 5 km away from the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Swami temple. The left hand of statue has broken off. It is almost three feet in height, and is seated in the Yogasana posture. The statue was recovered by Robert Bristow in 1930s from Karumadi brook. Recently, Rajeshkaran Pillai, found a portion of the hand of the statue. The district administration decided to fix the hand to the statue. This, however, attracted protests from historians. Later, the move was abandoned and the portion of the hand was handed over to the Department of Archeology. It being kept at the department’s museum at Krishnapuram Palace at Kayamkulam.
Premkumar said that the we are not ready to restore the statue’s left hand. We will conduct a detailed study to confirm that the hand we got from Pillai is the original hand of the statue, he said. The pathetic condition of Karumadikuttan was brought to the attention of the cultural affairs minister K C Joseph to two years ago by Karumadikuttans, a cultural forum of youths from Karumadi. Following this, the cultural department set up a seven member committee to execute a project for the preservation of this monument. Ambalappuzha block panchayat vice president Karumadi Murali is the chairman of the committee. According to Karumadi Murali, Karumadi, was known as Sreemoola Vasam, where the Buddha monks propagated Buddhism during 9th and 10th century. As per historical documents the statue was set up during that time and it lost its left hand after an elephant dashed on the statue,” he said.
Murali said that Dalai Lama visited Karumadi in 1965.
He also confirmed that the statue was set up here for the propagation of Buddhism in Kerala. He showed us many documents proving it.
He also handed over `6 lakh for the preservation of this statue. Utilizing that fund, we constructed a road to the statue,” said Murali.