Historians dig out 9th century Buddhist relics

IBN Live, Apr 20, 2012

BHUBANESWAR, India -- Historians have stumbled upon what is believed to be remnants and relics of a Buddhist monastery belonging to the Bhaumakara dynasty of the ninth century, near Panaspur village in Cuttack district.

The backyard of a temple in Panaspur village is the place where these relics were first located. Locals informed about the relics to historians Harish Chandra Prusty and Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, who is also the chairman of the Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE).

The two historians started digging the spot and found what seems to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of Buddhist relics. “We have strong reasons to believe that the relics are part of a Buddhist monastery during the Bhaumakara period. We are yet to put a precise date to the relics, but can safely say that they belong to the ninth century,” said Patnaik.

The relics form an interesting assortment like the Buddha in the Bhumisparsha and Dharmachakra Pravartana (with the head missing) mudras, Padmapani Bodhisattva carved out Khondolite stone and many more. A huge pillar has also been found and the historians guess that it must be a part of the monastery. “With a well-planned and more thorough excavation, more vital relics can be dug out. This can open up a plethora of knowledge about the times in which the Buddhist monastery flourished,” explained Patnaik.

The two historians are now hoping that the Odisha State Archaeology or the Archaeological Survey of India would take up future excavation of the site. “With more experienced people with good resources working on the site will help unravel a lot more relics than what we have found till now,” said Patnaik.