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Unique `umbrella', verily

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A unique inscribed `chatra (umbrella) donated in the 2nd Century A.D. by a cobbler Mula and his wife Bapiya to the Dhammarama stupa at Ghantasala in Krishna district.
A unique inscribed `chatra (umbrella) donated in the 2nd Century A.D. by a cobbler Mula and his wife Bapiya to the Dhammarama stupa at Ghantasala in Krishna district.

Jayaraj Manepalli

GUNTUR: A unique `chatra' (umbrella) with inscriptions, belonging to 2nd century A.D., which was a part of the stupa at Ghantasala in Krishna district, was discovered during the recent scientific clearances (excavations) undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The uniqueness of Chatra comes from the inscriptions in Bramhi script of the Prakrit language on its rim. "This is the first time that an umbrella with inscriptions is found in Andhra Pradesh, which had many flourishing Buddhist sites for many years," ASI Hyderabad Circle Superintending Archeologist D. Jithendra Das, who led the archeological team at Ghantasala, told The Hindu .

Decorative motif

The umbrella with a diameter of 1.5 feet was a decorative motif of the stupa. It was made of limestone and was in its full perfection. The inside part of the umbrella had lotus-shaped motif with buds as in a lotus. The inscription, which was deciphered by Assistant Superintending Archeologist D. Kanna Babu, revealed that it as a gift of a mendicant Mula and his wife Bapiya during the time of the Satavahanas.

"Victorious gift of the umbrella to the Dhamorama (righteous monastery at Ghantasala) by lay worshipper Mula and his housewife Bapiya," was the exact translation of the inscription, Mr. Babu said.

Mula was believed to be a cobbler by profession and was a staunch follower of the Buddha. The umbrella donated by a common man, put up on the dome of the stupa explains that equality was not only taught but was also practised during that period. All people, irrespective of their professions enjoyed equality, said Mr. Babu.

The chatra and other discoveries brought to light during the three-month -long excavations from March to May were put up on display at the Archeological Museum at Ghantasala, Mr. Babu added.


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