ASI encouraged by significant increase in tourist numbers
`Walkover floodlight system' installedProject reconstruction awaits Central approval
GUNTUR: Buddhist Mahachaitya standing at Amaravathi in Guntur district will have a new attraction for tourists with Archaeological Survey of India installing floodlights to make the stupa visible even during nights.
Deepaladinne -- that is how locals used to call this Mahastupa when Buddhism flourished at Dharanikota-Amaravathi twin villages, as monks used to light a series of lamps on the 150-feet structure in circumference. With the passage of time the structure collapsed and in the 50 years of its restoration, only a small solar lamp was installed there for a handful of Buddhist monks coming from South East Asian countries for meditation.
The ASI encouraged by the significant increase in the number of domestic and foreign tourists/devotees visiting the mahachaitya after last year's Kalachakra celebrations, took up the installation of comprehensive lighting system at a cost of Rs.20 lakh in the seven-acre national heritage site, where Lord Buddha's relic was found.
Archaeological Survey of India director D. Jithendra Das told The Hindu that three different kinds of lights were installed in the first phase of the project .
Metal halide `Walkover floodlight system' throwing a milky white light on the mahastupa has been installed with 70-watt 50 numbers of weather and shockproof fittings erected in a trench dug all round. For the walkways from two entry points to the mahachaitya, Bollard lamps of 2 feet high 18-watt fluorescent light fittings (50 nos.) have been installed along with another 19 numbers of 36-watt decorative die-cast aluminium lamps dotting the lawns all round the stupa.
About 200 foreign tourists/devotees arriving here every month meditate on these lawns. Prior to Kalachakra there used to be 20 to 30 devotees visiting every month, said Buddhist Museum curator D. Kanna Babu.
A mega project to restore the beauty and original physical appearance of the 27-metre stupa is pending with the Central Government as a policy decision had to be taken in this regard.