Famous Thotlakonda Buddhist site cries for attention

Weeds grown around the cisterns (troughs) at Buddhist site near Mangamaripeta in Visakhapatnam | RVK Rao

By Express News Service | Published: 22nd February 2017 02:02 AM

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Thotlakonda Buddhist site at Mangamaripeta in the city is in sad state of affairs with negligence of officials concerned. Tourists visiting the historical site seek minimum facilities.

Said to be a sacred place of Buddhists during 300 BC to 300 AD, the place was discovered by the Indian Navy in 1976 during an aerial survey. The excavations conducted by the department of Archaeology and Museums from 1988 to 1992 revealed the ruins of a well-established Theravada (Hinayanana Buddhism) monastery. The tourists visiting the site express their displeasure over the maintenance and lack of amenities.

The tourist spot neither has any drinking water facility nor even toilets for visitors. A number of stupas and other excavations are ill-maintained. Unwanted plants are grown almost all over the area. The site which is famous for its cisterns (troughs), which were said to be used by the Buddhists for drinking water purpose are also neglected. Weeds and waste water can be seen.

“At least a small shop should have been set up. We do not even have water facility. If we need to spend some time, minimum facilities are required,” said Adarsh Babu, a tourist from Tenali, who came along with his family.

The premises is littered with liquor bottles. It was learnt that some unidentified persons had a booze party by breaking liquor bottles. Some persons expressed displeasure over the entry of couples, who disturb with their activities. Some places, which were said to be holy for the Buddhists are defaced with names of people written. The Maha stupas, cisterns, votive platforms, kitchen complex and dining hall are major attractions at the spot. The officials have recently put up sign boards describing the places and dustbins.

However, with thick growth of waste plants grown here and there, tourists are not able to view them.

“During winter season, there are around 100 tourist footfalls per day. Tourists also visit the place during summer vacation,” said Raju, the only guide at the site.

On the issue, a tourism official said that they had set up sign boards and dustbins. He said that a good footpath was also laid and direction boards were set up showing the path. “A hall is being constructed to house a museum. Pictures of stupas and other Buddhist monuments would be displayed in the museum,” he said. The official also said that a children’s park would also be developed.

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