Patna circle of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered two 1200-year-old miniature votive stupas during landscaping activities near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district in the state. The stupas, carved from stone, depict Buddha figures.
“These two votive stupas (offered in fulfilment of a vow) were discovered by the ASI officials during landscaping near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara on January 4. These, carved from stone depicting Buddha figures, must be around 1200 year old. Our archeologists are examining it further”, Goutami Bhattacharya, Superintending Archaeologist (ASI, Patna circle) told Press Trust of India.
“Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings. Devout pilgrims visiting various holy sites and temples throughout Asia would either purchase small votive offerings or make their own”, said Ms Bhattacharya.
The Nalanda Mahavihara site comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
“Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years”, she said.
The archaeological remains of Nalanda Mahavihara were systematically unearthed and preserved simultaneously, she said, adding these are the most significant parts of the property that demonstrate development in planning, architecture and artistic tradition of Nalanda.
Meanwhile, the ASI-Patna Circle had recently submitted a proposal to its Delhi headquarters to conduct an excavation at ‘Nindaur’, for its probable connection with Nanda kings of Magadha, in Kaimur district, 220 km from the state capital Patna.
The Nanda dynasty ruled Magadha in northern India between 343 and 321 BCE (Before Common Era) with its capital at Pataliputra (modern-day Patna).
“The geographical position of the site is very important. It is situated on an ancient route between Patliputra to Kashi via the Son river Sasaram-Bhabhua. It is the largest city settlement between ancient Magadha and Kashi mahajanapada. The site may have served as an administrative and trade centre. The site deserves thorough probe by archeologists and archeological excavation here may be extremely rewarding”, said a senior archeologist of the ASI.
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