Did Buddhist monasteries exist in Vadnagar? ASI to begin finding out today

PTI, December 8, 2015

Vadodara, India -- The Archaeological Survey of India will on Tuesday resume excavation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hometown Vadnagar, apparently to find evidence on existence of Buddhist monasteries in ancient time in the area.

"Last year's excavations at Vadnagar had thrown new light on ancient trade and commerce that was in existence at Vadnagar as well as the nature of the ancient city found here," the ASI stated in a release on Monday.

The operation will begin under Madhulika Samanta, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI.

The earlier excavation was able to find links pointing to the relationship between Vadnagar and Europe through West Asia.

"The ASI had been able to get two C14 dates from excavated localities at Vadnagar, setting the antiquity of these findings to the first century CE. Encouraged by these findings, the ASI has decided to excavate the remains of Vadnagar extensively this year," the release added.

The ASI had begun digging on January 5 to corroborate nearly 1400-year-old account of Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang who had mentioned existence of nearly 10 Buddhist monasteries in the area at that time.

The initial discoveries had indicated that one or more Buddhist monasteries could indeed have flourished at the site.

Underlining the ancient significance of Vadnagar ahead of the visit of the Chinese President last year, Modi had hosted on his website a feature titled 'Buddhist Heritage in Gujarat' which included a text and images about the account of Hiuen Tsang, the "excavations at Vadnagar", and unearthing of a "monastery datable from 2nd to 7th century AD.

According to the release, the excavations by the state archaeology department between 2006 and 2010 had unearthed monumental remains that could be of one of the monasteries.

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