Buddhist relics used in cattle rearing

A view of the Buddha statue spotted at Chitrada in East Godavari district. —Photo: By Arrangement.

A view of the Buddha statue spotted at Chitrada in East Godavari district. —Photo: By Arrangement.

Dawn
December 16, 2015 05:45 IST
K.N. MURALI SANKAR

Upland area of East Godavari district was an abode of Buddhism during the period of Savahanas

In a district where Buddhist relics are being spotted in somewhere or the other at every now and then, a few remains of ‘Vajrayanam’ of the Buddhist era were spotted at Chitrada village near Pithapuram in East Godavari very recently.

The sorry state of affairs is as the pillar shaped reminiscences were used in the construction of houses and cattle sheds, while a circular shaped construction was being used to provide shelter to the domesticated animals.

Defaced condition

The Buddha statue of a height of three-and-a-half foot and length of two and a half foot is in a defaced condition, and the holy feet of Buddha, however, are being honoured by the villagers in the name of goddess ‘Paadalamma’ in a small temple.

The upland area of East Godavari district was an abode of Buddhism during the period of Savahanas with Buddhists of international repute visiting the area and spent their leisure en route their world tours.

Relics are being spotted every now and then at Kapavaram, Kummarilova, Korukonda, Kodavali, Rampa Erravaram, Bendapudi, Vajrakootam and surrounding areas.

Even the Department of Archaeology has undertaken excavation in a few sites. A plan to construct Buddhist museum at Tuni, however, is remained on the papers for many years.

“Going by the minute details of the relics that include statues, pillars and bricks, they belonged the ‘Vajrayana,’ the period when the Buddhism witnessed several splits,” observes Merapala Narayana Rao, a Buddhist scholar from the district, who has taken the initiative to bring the relics into the limelight.

“During the rule of the Rajahs of the Pithapuram, several buildings were built at Chitrada for the close relatives of the Rajahs. Those buildings were built over the Buddhist relics. Subsequently, the vacant lands around the buildings were encroached by the villagers and the relics turned into construction material,” points out Mr. Narayana Rao.

“A proposal to construct a Buddhist museum at Kummarilova has been pending with the government for quite a long time. Since it is a forest area, allocation of land by the Forest Department seems to be the major hurdle. On behalf of the INTACH, we have been bringing the issue to the notice of the officials and elected representatives frequently,” says L. Seshu Kumari, convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s district chapter.

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