Buddhist monk comes to Sannati looking for Ashoka’s tomb

Relics of the once-beautiful stupa excavated at Sannati in Chitapur taluk in Kalaburagi district.— Photos: Arun Kulkarni  

Buddhist monk Bhante Tissavro, who heads the Bodh Gaya-based Budh Avsesh Bachao Abhiyaan (Save Buddhist Relics Campaign), has landed in Kalaburagi district in his search for the tomb of Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest propagators of Buddhism in India and elsewhere.

He says that while history speaks volumes about Ashoka’s achievements, there is complete silence on where he died and where his mortal remains were interred.

The monk, who is on a visit to one of the important Buddhist sites in India at Sannati in Chittapur taluk of the district, told The Hindu that his research over the years and visit to several Buddhist centres in India and outside had made him suspect that Ashoka, who had visited Sannati during his second sojourn to south India, had died there.

His tomb could be somewhere among the mounds at the Sannati site, he said.

Bhante Tissavro said that history was silent on whether Ashoka returned to north India after his second visit to the south, giving credence to the belief that Ashoka may have died at Sannati.

He said that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had taken up excavation at Sannati, should widen the scope of the work and search if the tomb of Ashoka was there.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the way the State government had taken up the development of Sannati and pointed out that the museum constructed to house the sculptures and other important findings recovered from the excavation site was yet to be handed over to the ASI.

He said that the State government should organise “Emperor Ashoka Mahotsav” and “Sannati Mahotsav” at Sannati to attract Buddhist pilgrims.

Sannati, on the banks of the Bhima in Chittapur district, is a well-known Buddhist site. The only available sculpture of Emperor Ashoka, in a limestone relief, along with his consort, was found here.

It was sculpted on the orders of an unnamed grandson of Ashoka. Excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India is on at this site. Those involved in the work have found a stupa and many Buddhist relics and sculptures in limestone and sandstone.

The State government has formed Sannati Development Authority to develop the region.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 2:25:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/buddhist-monk-comes-to-sannati-looking-for-ashokas-tomb/article7767930.ece

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