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Buddhist-era lamps found near Indo-Pak border

TNN, May 13, 2016

Amritsar, India -- Earthen lamps dating back to Gautam Buddha's era were found by a villager near the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar district. Balwinder Singh, a resident of Bahadurnagar village situated on the border, found three earthen lamps from a mound.

The three earthen lamps have unique features, and stand apart from the present-day earthen lamps. These can be hanged with a thread or a wire, and can be used as lanterns. "A few days ago, I chanced upon finding these three unique earthen lamps from the mound," Balwinder told ToI on Thursday.

Bahadurnagar is situated close to Kotli Vasawa Singh village, where lie the remains of Buddhist civilization buried under mounds. These buried unique articles of the past are being plundered by amateur and professional artefact collectors. "Finding such archaeological objects dating back to the Buddhist era is not uncommon in this area, which once had a thriving Buddhist civilisation," said BS Goraya, a historian.

He said it was strange that despite being in the knowledge of the Punjab Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), no one took the initiative to have a detailed survey of excavation of the mounds, to preserve the remaining cultural heritage and prevent it from being looted by a few private collectors.

Balwinder said the mound had several pieces of clay pottery embedded in it or just scattered on the ground. "During rains, many such utensils come out of the mounds, and most of them are broken, but it is strange to see how they are embedded in the soil for centuries," he said, adding that he was lucky to have found the unique lamps.

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