Historical laxity: Buddhist sites in state of neglect

Newind Press, July 1 2005

RAJAHMUNDRY, India -- India is a country which often fails to respect its historical heritage. Take the case of the various centuries-old Buddhist sites in East Godavari district, rich in tourism potential, which are in a state of dismal neglect.

Little-known sites such as the 2,400-year-old Adurru in Konaseema, Kodavali in Gollaprolu mandal and the Buddhist caves in Kapavaram, Korukonda mandal find no place on the tourist map with hardly any effort being made to develop them.

At Adurru, the Buddhist stupam, considered a ?mahakshetram?, which was constructed during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, was declared a protected monument way back in 1955. Locally known as the Dubaraju Temple, it has a main stupam, several upa-stupams, prayer halls, a Chaitya complex and a seat for the Buddhist pontiff.

The Adurru site now has a park, a tank for drinking water and fencing around the stupam, constructed at a cost of Rs 8 lakh and developed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The ASI is planning to purchase an acre adjacent to the stupam to create tourist facilities. Nagaram MLA Pamula Rajeswari has also submitted proposals for the construction of a guest house for tourists at Adurru.

The site at Kapavaram, 20 km from Rajahmundry, has brick-made prayer halls, meditation caverns and a rock-cut water tank. The ASI has constructed a flight of stairs and some resting areas on the hillock. But, as the site has no approach road, it is quite inaccessible and can only be reached after a tiring cross-country trek.

Even basic facilities like toilets and drinking water are not available here. Significantly, there are no proposals to develop this area, which is very close to Korukonda Lakshminarasimha temple.