Category Archives: Archaeology

Trove of Buddhist relics found in Midnapore

Deccan Herald
Kolkata:Jan 31, 2016, DHNS

The site, currently a buzz of activities, has led to the discovery of some 50 relics connected to Buddhism, which was widely practiced in eastern Indian between seventh and 12th Century. Reuters file photo for representation only

Fourteen years after archaeologists stumbled upon the nondescript mound at Moghalmari in West Midnapore district, the site has thrown up one of the largest finds of Buddhist history in India.

The site, currently a buzz of activities, has led to the discovery of some 50 relics connected to Buddhism, which was widely practiced in eastern Indian between seventh and 12th Century.

While archeologists from Calcutta University first came across this site in March 2001, the state archaeology department has since taken charge. On January 23 this year they came across around 40 bronze artifacts dating back to fifth and sixth century. Since then, diggers have come across more relics, with chances that digging deeper will lead to further finds.

In 2001, archaeologists first found the structural details of a monastery, an inscribed seal and a broken bust, believed to be of the Buddha. While Moghalmari village, around 180 km from Kolkata, became an important find in understanding history of Buddhism in India, particularly Bengal, the dig emerged a centre of attention since January 23, with archeologists believing the site will provide crucial insights in assessing and understanding spread of Buddhism to eastern India and eventually to other parts of Asia. Continue reading

16 Buddhist stupas found at Nateshwar

The site of the 1000-year-old Buddhist stupas discovered by archaeologists in Nateshwar in Munshiganj. Photo: Star

The site of the 1000-year-old Buddhist stupas discovered by archaeologists in Nateshwar in Munshiganj. Photo: Star

The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2016

Excavation on for 1,000-year-old site

Our Correspondent, Munshiganj
Sixteen Buddhist stupas, around 1,000-year-old, have recently been unearthed at Nateshwar in the district with a rich archaeological background.

The aesthetics of these stupas is unique in architectural style. There are 16 stupas in four inter-connected “Stupa Hall Rooms,” each square-shaped and fenced with brick walls 16 metres in length and 3.5 metres in width.

Evidence of this ancient civilisation came to light during an excavation jointly conducted by Bangladesh and China at Nateshwar Deul under Tongibari upazila.

Last year an around-1,300-year-old Buddhist city was unearthed on the eastern side of this site. Apart from Buddhist stupas, various structures including old roads and drains were found there.

Prof Sufi Mustafizur Rahman of Jahangirnagar University, also research director of the Excavation Project, and the director of Hunan Provincial Archaeological Institute of China expressed their high expectation that Nateshwar is going to be a part of World Heritage.

Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin, director of the Excavation Project, said Nateshwar, adjacent to Bajrajogini, the birthplace of Buddhist scholar Atish Dipankar, a holy place for the Buddhists, would become their second holy site.

He said the aesthetic structures would attract many tourists, adding, the archaeologists of China had expressed their interest to set up an “Archaeology Park” there. Besides, a museum with various facilities including research work, seminar halls and accommodation for tourists would be there. Continue reading

Seven ancient Buddhist caves found in Mumbai

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 12.03.41 AMTimes of India
Clara Lewis | TNN | Jan 17, 2016, 03.34 AM IST

One of the new caves, about an hour’s hike north-east from Kanheri. (TOI photo by Sandeep Takke)

MUMBAI: Seven caves have been discovered in the forests of the sprawling Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli, on the northern fringes of the city. The caves are Buddhist ‘viharas’ (residences for monks) with only one of them showing the remains of a ‘harmika’ (the top railing of a stupa). They are believed to have been constructed before the Kanheri Caves nearby and probably served as a monsoon shelter for the monks.

While a formal approval from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is awaited for detailed exploration and documentation of the new caves, the team that has discovered the caves date them between 1st century BCE (or BC) and 5th-6th century CE (or AD). The discovery was made by a three-member team last February under an excavation programme jointly conducted by the Centre for Archaeology, Mumbai University, and the department of ancient Indian culture, Sathaye College, Vile Parle; the head of the department, Suraj Pandit, led the team.

“The newly discovered caves may have been older than the Kanheri Caves as they were simpler in form and they lacked water cisterns, which are found in the more evolved architecture of Kanheri. Moreover, we found monolithic tools which were prevalent in the 1st century BC. The absence of water cisterns also indicate that monks lived there in the monsoon,” said Pandit.

Pandit said the seven new caves were not an accidental discovery, but rather the result of a systematic survey of the area. Before beginning actual field work, the team carried out documentary research for three months, which included a study of the area’s topography and water resources as most viharas were constructed close to a water source. The Kanheri Caves, which date between 1st century BCE and 10th century CE, are famous for their water management and rain water harvesting systems. This helped to zero in on areas where they were most likely to find caves. The team also referred to Pali texts, which describe caves around Rajgir in Bihar, as viharas (residences) of Buddhist monks and expected to find similar viharas, either natural or man-made, around Kanheri. They also studied 150-year-old reports of the ASI to understand how to conduct the exploration. “The reports narrate the discovery of pot shreds and microlithic tools, and we decided to look for these,” said Pandit.
Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 12.04.13 AM

Continue reading

Moghalmari fest to bring ‘buried’ Buddhist vihara under limelight

Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey & Sujay KhanraJan 10, 2016, 11.45 PM IST

Kolkata: Buddhist monks from different corners of the country are set to converge on Buddhist monks from different corners of the country are set to converge on Moghalmari near Dantan in West Midnapur on January 24 to stake their claim on a newly excavated site, believed to be one of the oldest Buddhist viharas in India.near Dantan in West Midnapur on January 24 to stake their claim on a newly excavated site, believed to be one of the oldest Buddhist viharas in India.

What was written off as just a mound, which residents of the area believed to hide an ancient lore, has turned out to be a 5th century Buddhist site. The state archaeological department’s excavation has pushed the Raktamrittika Vihara at Karna Subarna in Murshidabad, dated 7th century, to the second position on the Buddhist religious map and calendar.

The Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha, headquartered in the city, has organised the two-day Moghalmari Buddhist Festival, which will see a rare congregation of monks at the site that dates back to the era of Raja Samachar Dev. This was the time when the Gupta dynasty had waned and local satraps had managed to shake off its suzerainty to declare their independence, Raja Samachar Dev being one of them. Most details of the pre-Pala age of Bengal is shrouded in mystery owing to lack of any historical evidence but now, scholars believe that the Moghalmari vihara excavation would help them piece together this past.
The excavation of the site, which had been put on a hold for nearly two years, will be taken up again from Monday. The state archaeology directorate had stopped the digging after archaeologists found coins and seals that had to be analysed to verify the site’s antiquity.

With the inscriptions on the seals finally ascertaining the fact that the vihara was founded and fucntioned during the 5th-6th centuries, if not earlier, the state government has decided to release funds for the new phase of excavation. Already, more than Rs 3 crore has been spent. Continue reading

Evidence of Buddhist monastery found in Andhra Pradesh village

1373756150MONESTARYThe Island
December 21, 2015, 7:33 am

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, December 20: A treasure trove of historical evidence of immense heritage value has been by found by archaeologists at the Vommili village of V Madugula mandal in Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh in South India recently.

The objects retrieved from a trial excavation on the surface include a standing image of the Vajrayana deity ‘Heruka’, a terracotta elephant head, conical mud bowls, thumb and finger print designs on pots, polished black ware, dull chocolate-coloured slipware and herringbone patterns.

The site, located close to the hills at Vommili, was used for cultivation for a long time, causing damage to some of the historical evidence.

The idol of ‘Heruka’ was found by the villagers and placed under a tree and was being worshipped.

The discovery of some more earthen materials like potsherds and decoration pottery may have given rise to the suspicion that a treasure trove was lying buried under the ground.

The land had changed hands and the latest owner applied to the District Collector seeking permission for digging and construction.

The Collector then appointed the Special Deputy Collector (R & R), APIIC, Atchutapuram, RDO (Anakapalle), the Tahsildar and the Sub Treasury Officer (both V. Madugula) and Station House Officer of V. Madugula besides the Assistant Director (Archaeology and Museums) to look into the matter . Continue reading

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. Continue reading

1st century AD coins, arrowheads discovered

567068c8dee8fDawn
AMJAD IQBAL — UPDATED DEC 16, 2015 08:40AM

TAXILA: The Federal Department of Archaeology has discovered coins and arrowheads dating back to the 1st century AD at the site of a Buddhist stupa that dates back to somewhere between 200 to 500 AD in Taxila. The discoveries were made during excavations in a remote part of the Margalla Hills.

The archaeology department director general, Mohammad Arif, told Dawn at the site on Tuesday that the stupa and monastery were from the Kushan period, between 200 and 500 AD. The stupa is locally known as Ban Faqiran. It is located about two kilometres from the Giri Buddhist monastic complex in Taxila valley.

Mr Arif said renowned archaeologist and professor, the late Ahmad Hassan Dani, Dr M Ashraf, Dr Mark Kenoyer and Dr F.D. Kakar discovered the stupa. He said excavations were held at the site for the first time, as it was located in a particularly remote and hilly area. He said remains of the complex were scattered around a 1,000 square metre area on a hilltop. Continue reading