MONUMENTS IN VISAKHAPATNAM

 

 

Monument No: 1

Monument Name: ANCIENT BUDDHIST MOUNDS LOCALLY KNOWN AS 'DHANA DIBBALU'

Location: Kotturu (near Gokivada Forest)

Brief History:
There are many mounds on the hill, the excavation of which revealed a brick stupa chaitya. The stupa is in wheel shape in plan. The big mound near the stupa appears to be a vihara complex. The antiquities recorded from this place are similar to those Sankaram and other Buddhist sites in the region. The Buddhist remains here are datable to 1-2nd century AD.on the basis of datable antiquities recovered during excavation.

Monument No:2

Monument Name:BUDDHIST ROCK-CUT STUPAS, DAGABAS AND CAVES AND THE RUINS OF A STRUCTURAL CHAITYA WITH ITS OUTBUILDING AND OTHER ANCIENT REMAINS ON TWO ADJOINING HILLS KNOWN AS BOJJANNA KONDA

Location: Sankaram

Brief History:
Sankaram, a small village, is situated about a mile to the east of Anakapalli in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. Within a short distance to the north of the village are two hills, one on the east called Bojjanna-konda and the other on the west called Lingala-konda both surrounded by paddy fields. The eastern hill [Bojjanna-konda] is on a higher elevation than the western hill [Lingala-konda] and its western slopes bear a series of rock-cut caves. Both the hills contain numerous monolithic stupas, rock-cut caves, chaityas and monasteries forming one of the most remarkable Buddhist establishments in Andhra Pradesh, the date of which assignable to a period from the 4th to the 9th centuries AD.

The name of the village Sankaram is evidently a corruption of Sangharama as these Buddhist establishments are generally known by this appellation.

REMAINS ON THE EASTERN HILL-BOJJANNA-KONDA:
The whole of the west slope of the eastern hill is covered with groups of monolithic stupas and a few some structural ones, standing on rock-cut platforms or terraces which converge to a large stupa on the summit which is partly rock-cut and partly constructed in brick. The dome of the stupa is found constructed of brick and is now partly extant. The brick casing of the circular and square platforms still remain. Groups of rock-cut and brick stupas and small chaityas surround this stupa. In two of the brick stupas, stone relic caskets in the form of miniature stupas were found. Some of the groups of the smallest of the stupas which stand on the terrace around the stupa are encased in square or circular brick buildings. On the west face of the eastern hill is a stepped way of about 65 steps leading to a double-storeyed rock-cut cave situated below the west end of the ridge.. It faces the west and is the first one to be seen on ascending the eastern hill. The cave has sixteen pillars, or which five are broken, and it enshrines a monolithic stupa in the centre. There is a pradakshina-patha around it. On the ceiling over the stupa is a carving of a chhatra, i.e., umbrella which was originally connected with the top of the stupa, the shaft being now lost and gone. Above this cave is an upper storey with the figures of Buddha. In all, on this hill [Bojjannakonda], there are six rock-cut caves of which some have sculptured panels. In general, each panel consists of a seated Buddha and attendants.

At a lower level and situated against the north-east, east and south sides of the rectangular rock on which stands the chaitya, are long rows of brick cells with most of the walls intact. Facing those on the north and east sides and separated from them by a passage is another row of cells. These form the monastry for the Buddhist monks. There is also a stone [Linga being the name locally applied to the stupa].image of the Goddess Hariti here at the foot of the hill.

LINGALA-KONDA:
The western hill or the Lingala-konda is covered with a large number of rock-cut stupas. Since the remains are all stupas and cut-out in rock along the ridge the hill acquired the popular name, the Lingala-konda. Numerous antiquities were recovered during the excavations conducted by Mr. Alexander Rea in 1907-08 on both the hills. Many of them were obtained at the ashy deposits at various places around the upper slopes of Bojjanna-konda. From this area were recovered pottery, coins of gold, copper and lead; seals, terracotta inscribed tablets, terracotta beads, and terracotta figures. A stone image of Hariti was also recovered from the site. One gold coin belonging to Samudra Gupta of the Gupta dynasty who ruled Magadha from 340 to 375 A.D. was found here. Some copper coins belonging to the Eastern Chalukya king Vishnuvardhana surnamed Vishamasiddhi (633 A.D.) were also obtained. Only one lead coin was found. It has the impression of a horse and as such might belong to the later Satavahanas. It is on the evidence of these antiquities that it has been possible to date the Buddhist settlement here as lying between the 2nd and the 9th century A.D. For, among the earliest coins discovered at the site is that of Samudra Gupta of the 4th century AD. To a slightly later date belongs a terracotta sealing with a legend in Kalinga characters of about the 5th-6th century A.D., mentioning a person whose name can be read as Puti Durjaya Sri. The name Durjaya is not unfamiliar among the early kings who ruled in this part of the country among whom a ruler called. Rana Durjaya is known. Of the Buddhistic antiquities recovered from the site, some are the inscribed terracotta tablets containing the Buddhist creed commencing with the words "he dhama hetu Prabhava". These tablets, belonging to various periods as determined by the paleography of the script on them, appear to be the offerings made by pilgrims who visited the site from time to time from the 4th to about the 9th century A.D. The variety of scripts in which these tablets are found written, viz., the Kalinga script (5th cent.), the Chalukyan script (7th cent.), the proto-Nagari script (8th cent.) and the east Indian or proto-Oriya-Bengali scripts (8-9th cent.), indicate that the Buddhist shrine and monastery here attracted devotees from different parts of India.