NATIONAL

Buddhist stupa damaged for treasure

Vandal act: The Buddhist stupa damaged by miscreants for treasure at Dhulikatta village in Karimnagar district on Monday. — Photo: Thakur Ajay Pal Singh

Vandal act: The Buddhist stupa damaged by miscreants for treasure at Dhulikatta village in Karimnagar district on Monday. — Photo: Thakur Ajay Pal Singh  

A historic Buddhist stupa of Satavahana period and one of the 30 walled cities mentioned by Megasthenes dating back to 2nd century BC were found damaged by unidentified miscreants reportedly for a ‘treasure trove' at Dhulikatta village of Eligaid mandal in Karimnagar district.

The miscreants damaged the heritage structure by digging the stupa for a diameter of 10 feet and depth of five feet in search of treasure. Though the Archaeology Department had discovered the stupa in 1975 in Dhulikatta village adjoining a picturesque rivulet, it has been neglected since then.

The Buddhist stupa on the mound was constructed with light-weight big bricks dating back to 2nd century BC. It is embellished with sculpted veneer slabs and beautifully carved limestone slabs. Historians say that the site had attained importance as it was constructed with 47 slabs to enhance the dome with the stupa.

Concerned historians

Of late, the damages caused by the miscreants in search of treasure had become a cause of concern for the historians, who have been striving to protect the ancient relics.

Though it is located about 35 km from the district headquarters, it is inaccessible as there are no pucca roads and one has to travel on bullock-cart from Dhulikatta village to the stupa and also cross the rivulet to reach the spot.

Village sarpanch Parusharamulu told The Hindu on Monday that ever since the stupa was discovered, Buddhist monks were frequently visiting for prayers every year. But, the authorities failed to provide any facilities including the laying of a road. There is no guard or a signboard educating the people about the importance of protection of the ancient Buddhist relic, he said.

He said that he had approached the archaeological authorities to take necessary measures to protect the ancient monument, but in vain. He appealed to the government to take measures to protect the ancient history and heritage of the Buddhist stupa in the village.



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