Ancient Buddhist monastery comes to sight in Midnapore

by Shiv Sahay Singh, Indian Express, Mar 28 2011

Kolkata, India -- Archeologists from the University of Calcutta have excavated relics at Moghalmari in West Midnapore that indicate a strong presence of Buddhism in West Bengal between the seventh and twelfth centuries.

During the excavations at Moghalmari village of Dantan block, 180 km from Kolkata, the team found structural details of a monastery, an inscribed seal and a stucco human head (possibly of the Buddha).

The Sanskrit inscription on the seal has been deciphered as the Buddhist Dharmaparyay, a hymn that gives glimpses into the Buddha’s teachings on philosophy. The script dates back to the eighth-ninth centuries and shows characters peculiar to Siddhamatrika of the eastern Indian variety.

The archeologists, led by Asok Datta, reader in the department of archeology of Calcutta University, also found terracotta votive tablets showing the Buddha in the ‘dhyana’ pose along with two rows of miniature figures at the bottom showing the famous five transcendent Buddhas.