Buddhist marvel traced

Newindpress, February 26 2006

ATHAGARH, India -- The non-descript Koranga village in Athagarh-Dhenkanal revenue area is suddenly hogging attention. Some relics, lying in ruins over the years, have become objects of interest after local historians claimed those to be that of the Buddhist era.

Two caves, rock inscriptions, a well, broken verandah and earthen pots, among others, are seen on a 60-ft high hill near the village. Locals say these historic evidences were often sighted by them after illegal stone-cutters abandon the area once their job was done. But they were not aware of their significance.

Historians here maintain that the monuments reflect Buddhist culture of the 4th Century AD. Some Buddhist monks inhabited the caves and preached the faith for a few years, they believe.

Largely populated Buddhist areas of Maniabandha, Nuapatna and Rasraskipur of Athagarh sub-division and Ragadi of Banki sub-division justify the findings of the historians. The letters used in the inscriptions here resemble those on Dhauligiri hill.

Sub-Collector S.N. Girish has urged the Archaeological Survey of India to take immediate steps for preservation and detailed study.