P. Sridhar

It is yet to get back historic Buddha statue shifted to Amaravati for

Kala Chakra fest

NALGONDA: The inordinate delay in shifting the life-size historical statue of Lord Buddha of 2nd-3rd century A.D. from Amaravati museum in Guntur district to its original enclosure at Panagal archaeological museum in Nalgonda district has eclipsed the grandeur of the museum at the historical village.

The magnificent statue of Buddha and a Prakrit inscription in Brahmi script were discovered on the banks of Bikkeru rivulet, a tributary of the Musi at Vardhamanukota of Arvapalli mandal in 1980. Subsequently, the two structures of archaeological significance were shifted to Panagal museum.

However, the Buddha statue and the inscription slab were shifted to Amaravati museum for the international Buddhist festival, Kala Chakra, in December 2005. Three more antique structures including Buddhist pedestal and a pillar stone of 12th century AD of Kolanpaka-based museum were also moved to Amaravati to showcase the vibrant Buddhist heritage of the region.

Even more than three years after their transfer, the historical structures remain at Amaravati museum till date. Several historians and heritage lovers have written letters to the authorities to reinstate the Buddhist structures at the site museums in vain.

“The limestone-made Buddha statue with its radiant white glow remained as a centre of attraction at the museum till its transfer to Amaravati”, recalled Nalgonda district history association president D. Surya Kumar. “The empty enclosure which hitherto housed the spectacular statue with its hoary past has cast a shadow on the museum,” he deplored.

“Phanigiri, Arvapalli, Gajulabanda, and other places flourished as famous Buddhist centres in this part of the region, he said. “The onus lies on the government to restore the glory and promote the heritage for the benefit of the future generations”, he said.

“It is most unjustified to deprive the museum of its prized possession which is defeating the very objective for which the museum was established ”, complains Satyanarayana, a regular visitor.

When contacted, Assistant Director of Archaeology and Museums Ramulu Naik said that efforts are on to bring back the Buddha statue from Amaravati.