1,900 yr old Buddhist monastery discovered in Gujarat

ANI, Oct 13, 2008

NEW DELHI, India -- Gujarat State Archaeological Department has discovered a small size Buddhist monastery in Gujarat's Vadnagar, which dates back to 1,900 years.

According to a report in Desh Gujarat, the walls of the discovered monastery were built using bricks.

The 55 by 55 ft size monastery had a total of 12 cells for residual purpose of monks, with its entrance on the Northern direction.

"This Buddhist monastery probably belongs to 2nd to 4th century era. It was probably in use for 300 years," said Gujarat State Archaeology Superintendent Dr. Yadubirsingh Rawat.

"After two years of excavation, first we unearthed the monastery structure. For a brief time, it remained a mysterious structure for us as we couldn't figure out it's motive. After some research, observations and studies, we have confirmed that this was a Buddhist monastery," he added.

Decades back in Gujarat, when double size Devni Mori Buddhist monastery was discovered, a similar lay-out plane was found there.

Devni Mori Buddhist monastery also had northern side entrance, South-Western drain, open plot in centre and 29 cells for monks around the central plot.

In the course of two years of excavation, so far more than 2000 pieces of Archaeological importance have been found from Ghaskol Darwaja excavation site in Vadnagar.

The findings include a 2000 year old house, numerous clay utensils, silver coins, beads, ornaments, Roman style head sculpture, turbaned face clay plaque, votive tablet, head sculpture, plaque sculpture depicting Buddha, and parts of vessel on which Buddhism related words are written in Brahmi script.

Chinese traveler Hieun Tsanghad visited Vadnagar between 640 to 644 A.D. and documented presence of 1,000 Buddhist monks and 10 Buddhist monasteries in and around Vadnagar town known as Anandpur in that era.