Rare Buddhist idols unearthed in Prakasam

A Buddha idol that was unearthed at Kanaparthi in Prakasam district on Tuesday.- Photo: by arrangement

A Buddha idol that was unearthed at Kanaparthi in Prakasam district on Tuesday.- Photo: by arrangement

The Hindu
S. MURALI

Kanaparthi, a sleepy village in Prakasam district, is the Indologist’s delight, thanks to numerous artefacts throwing light on Andhra culture.

This has been proved yet again with the finding of a number of bronze and Panchaloha idols of the Lord Buddha and other artefacts in the coastal village, once referred to as ‘Kanakapuripatnam,’ which is situated close to river Gundalakamma, the cradle of Buddhism in the early Christian era. “Unearthing of 55 bronze artefacts at one place is very rare,” State Archaeology and Museums (SAM) Director G.V. Ramakrishna said, adding that hitherto only one bronze idol of the Buddha had been found at Neelakondapalli in Khammam district in Telangana State. “A detailed study is need of the hour,” he said.

The unearthed findings date back to circa 4th century to 5th century A.D. when Buddhism was on its decline, and Hinduism was flourishing, he explained.

Ten of the idols that were unearthed were in standing posture showing ‘Abhaya Mudra and three in the meditating posture. Besides, there were three limestone railings with images of animals and plants,” SAM Deputy Director K.S.B. Kesava said. The idols were later shifted to the on-site museum on Tuesday.

“Flying Gandharvas, bells and other pooja materials that were unearthed were found stored in a big pot, perhaps, fearing onslaught from zealots,” Mr. Kesava said. The idols might have been used as processional deities during religious festivals, according to SAM In-charge Assistant Director T. Kamalakar.

“More research should be done in the 4 sq.km area to bring to light the rare idols ,” said K. Venkateswara Reddy, Assistant Professor in History at Acharya Nagarjuna University.

Bronze and Panchaloha idols of Lord Buddha found during levelling of a field at Kanaparthi

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