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Buddhist site found near Tuni

B.V.S. Bhaskar
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‘Four stupa mounds are found in the middle of hill ranges'

Stones with Buddhists inscriptions found in Kummarilova village in East Godavari district.— Photo: S. Rambabu
Stones with Buddhists inscriptions found in Kummarilova village in East Godavari district.— Photo: S. Rambabu

A Buddhist site, possibly belonging to the Satavahana period, has been discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India at Kummarilova, 5 km from Tuni, the mandal headquarters in East Godavari district.

ASI officials found four disturbed Buddhist stupa mounds and veneered stupa stones other evidence that proved that Buddhists had lived in the village lying close to the foothills.

The explorations revealed that Buddhist monks lived in Kummarilova for some years and had business transactions with Burma, Indonesia, Bhutan, Tibet, China and Thailand. Officials found glass coins and Roman gold coins that were seized near Gopalapatnam village, and utensils.

ASI Assistant Director S. Bangaraiah said the four stupa mounds were found in the middle of the hill ranges.

The smaller stupa on the North East direction was of approximately 22 feet in radius and the third one on South East direction measured 25 feet in radius. Veneered stupa stones, bricks, which were used as foundations and for decoration of stupas were found on the mounds.

The brick foundations of small rooms were about 80 m long. They might be associated with Bikshu Viharas.

Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao, freelance archaeologist of Tenali who visited the place, said the villagers had told him that they came across black and red polished stones, red slippery pot shards, conical bowls, big storage jar rims, highly polished red pots and clay jars with auspicious symbols of Astamangala (Buddha) on the site.

At present a big red pot, some other clay vessels and huge bricks can be seen in the village.

It is believed that the Buddhist structures were constructed with two types of bricks mixed with clay and covered with lime. It is believed the Buddhist site belonged to the Theravada sect and established during the Satavahana period (1 B.C. to 3rd A.D.). The stupa and the vihara structure found on the middle of the hills and foothills were built systematically.

Merapala Narayana Rao, historian and archaeologist who has visited the place along with INTACH director Rani Sarma, Kolluri Suryanarayana of Andhra University, Robert Sheek of Texas University and Ilsa Bhoom of Berlin University, examined the stupas.

They have appealed to the government to keep the finds in a museum and preserve them for posterity.


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