Vijayawada

Is it ghatam or kumbham?

Poornaghatam of the Amaravati stupa.- Photo: By Arrangement

Poornaghatam of the Amaravati stupa.- Photo: By Arrangement  

Even as different wings of the Government are engrossed in chalking out elaborate plans to ensure success of the foundation stone laying ceremony, a debate has ensued on the much-talked about Amaravati logo. A Poornaghatam , the original logo of Amravati, is said to have been altered to a Poornakumbham , a change that has apparently not gone down well with all those involved in the capital-building exercise.

In 1956, AP embraced a Poornaghatam (an overflowing vase) of Amaravati stupa along with an Ashoka chakra and the four lion heads as its official emblem on the occasion of the 2,500{+t}{+h}Buddha Jayanthi. Former Chief Minister the late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy unveiled in July 2008 a replica of this Poornaghatam sculpted on a cube-shaped granite block at the Secretariat.

Historians attribute the origin of this Poornaghatam to the time when the common citizens practised Buddhism in Amaravati. King Ashoka also had a stupa in Amaravati and people of all walks of life aided in the construction. Objects found in the stupa were said to have been gifted by various people from different religions.

The Poornaghatam in the stupa is said to have been gifted by Vidhikudu, a cobbler in 3{+r}{+d}century BC. While a Poornaghatam represented bounty, it also symbolised justice, liberty and equality.

This Poornaghatam , according to a resolution adopted by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, was to be the official logo of Amaravati, the new capital of the residuary Andhra Pradesh State. But in the hubbub that ensued in the aftermath of declaration of the new capital, somewhere along the line, the Poornaghatam got altered to Poornakumbham, a pitcher decorated with fresh leaves of mango tree and a coconut (Sriphala) placed on the top. The ‘quiet’ transformation of the logo has drawn mixed reactions. A few archaeologists and historians are upset as they feel that replacement of Poornaghatam with Poornakumbham would tantamount to an Amaravati sans the spirit of Buddhism while officials involved in the capital-building activity assert that the local population would be in a position to relate better to Poornakumbham .

The disagreement, sources indicate, is debated in hushed tones within the precincts of the CRDA office.

Original Poornaghatam

The Poornaghata or urn of plenty, is a vase in the shape of a reliquary filled with lotus blossoms, buds and other flowers with leaves and elaborately decorated with garlands, swags and fringed lotus roundels in the way of a stupa dome shown on a drum slab recovered from Amaravati and now on display in British Museum in London. The urn has a high narrow neck with a fluted cushion at the middle below a wide, lipped mouth. At the bottom of the urn is a row of swirling, striated foliate waves. At the bottom of the relief is a blank area with an inscription.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:02:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/is-it-ghatam-or-kumbham/article7736232.ece

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