Stupa found in Bihar 'could be world's second largest'

IANS, Feb 9, 2009

Patna, India -- A huge Buddhist stupa has been discovered in Bihar's Nalanda district and archaeologists on Monday said it could be the second largest such structure in the world.

A team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) located the brick stupa at Ghorakatora, about 100 km from here.

"The latest stupa discovered at Ghorakatora is unique as it is second in size only to the Kesaria stupa in East Champaran district. The Kesaria stupa is regarded as the largest Buddhist stupa in the world," said Sujit Nayan, an archaeologist in charge of the team that made the discovery.

Nayan said the structure was built of random rubble dry stone masonry. The material the stupa is made of had been used to fortify an area of 32 km near the mountain of Rajgir.

The stupa is around 20 to 25 feet high and its circumference is 70 to 75 sq. feet, Nayan told IANS by telephone from the excavation site.

"More excavacation is needed to make a final assessment of the stupa," he added.

According to archaeologists, the find is likely to throw more light on the ancient Nalanda University. The ancient seat of learning is said to have been founded in 5th century AD.

Well-known Chinese scholar Hieun Tsang stayed in Nalanda in the 7th century and left detailed description of the education system and monastic life practised at the university.