Neglected Buddhist site decks up to woo tourists

Newindpress, October 10 2006

GUNTUR, India -- Thanks to the State Government’s Archaeology department, a hitherto neglected and largely unknown Buddhist site on Krishna-Khammam border could soon become part of the Buddhist tourism circuit.

The department has launched a restoration and beautification initiative at the Buddhist site in Gummadidurru village, 15 km from Nandigama town. The nearest rail head is in Madhira of Khammam district, which is just 10 km away.

Believed to have been built between Second and Fifth Century AD, Gummadidurru was a seat of Buddhist learning and drew monks from all over the globe in the days of yore.

“This site remained much neglected. Hence, we have decided to give it a face-lift and bring it to light by taking up restoration and beautification works,” said Hyderabad circle superintending archaeologist Jitendra Das.

A team of archaeologists, comprising assistant superintending archaeologist D Kanna Babu, senior conservation assistant Veeranjaneyulu and foreman KVVS Murthy, have launched a massive restoration drive during the last one month.

“There are a number of smaller stupas in the area, some as small as one metre high. We have now succeeded in giving a shape to the site,” he said.

The development includes laying of a 1000-metre road up the hillock where the main stupa is located. “This place can grow into a tourist spot and can attract Buddhist pilgrims from far and wide as Madhira railway station in Khammam is just 10 km away from it,” Jitendra Das told this website's newspaper.

Gummadidurru was a seat of Buddhist learning and drew monks from all over the globe in the days of yore.
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