Times of India
Gali Nagaraja | May 16, 2016, 09.04 PM IST
VIJAYWADA: In an archaeological excavation conducted by Dr. E Sivanagi Reddy, CEO, The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and a Buddhist Archaeologist, resulted in identification of Buddhist remains dating back to the 1st century BC on the hilltop at Vaikunthapuram, a Village in the capital region of Amaravati. Basing on the leads provided by the local people that there are a few brickbats and pot shreds, Dr. E Sivanagi Reddy took the investigation forward. He examined the two Siva Lingas on the Krishna river bed which recently surfaced due to the receding of water.
The Siva Lingas according to him are dating back to the 5th century AD of the Vishnukundin era based on the Stylistic grounds art. Dr. E Sivanagi Reddy, assisted by the villagers namely Bhogineni Nageswara Rao, Subhakar Medasani, Chaitanya Ravela continued their search on the hill top of Vaikunthapuram and found three mounds studded with brickbats and Red color pottery. These mound formed of huge boulders upon which brick- built stupas were raised. The bricks used in the construction of the Stupas and Viharas measure 60X30X8cm and 58X28X7cm invariability belonging to the Satavahana times i.e., 1st century BC. There are terracotta and brick tiles in huge quantities, of course in a broken form, used to cover the Chaityas and Viharas, Dr. Reddy said.
The explanations further revealed that the Buddhist monks relied on two tanks spread in an extent of half an acre and two 6-0′ X 6′-0X4′-0 rock cut cisterns for drinking water. At the centre of the Stupa, a few years back treasure hunters have dug up and found a relic casket with a gold leaf which was handed over to the district collectorate, Guntur ,said Subhakar Medasani and Chaitanya Ravela. The hill at Vaikuntapuram which yielded the remains of Buddhist Stupas, Chaityas, and Viharas survived from 1st century BC to the 5th century AD and was occupied by Saivism during the Vishnukundin times and by the Vaishnavites in between 13th -17th centuries AD as the temples of Venkateswara, one at the foot hill and the another one the at the top of the hill, according to Dr. Reddy. He further says that the 1st century BC Rock Cut cave on the hill top was installed with the idol of Venkateswara, during the 17th century AD. Mr. Deepak Joe of State Dept. of Archaeology has also inspited the site some time back, the Villagers said.