ASI Discovers 1,300-yr-old Buddhist Stupa
- 28 Feb 2023
- 6 min read
Why in News?
Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered a 1,300-year-old stupa right in the middle of a mining site in Odisha’s Jajpur district at a Khondalite mining site.
- It is the place from where Khondalite stones were supplied for the beautification project around the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
What are the Findings of the ASI?
- The stupa could be 4.5-metre tall and initial assessment showed it may belong to the 7th or 8th century.
- It was found at Parabhadi which is situated near Lalitagiri, a major Buddhist complex, having a large number of stupas and monasteries.
- Lalitgiri Buddhist site is believed to be the most sacred among the three sites (Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri) as it unearthed a massive stupa where a relic of Buddha was discovered inside a stone casket.
What are the Khondalite Stones?
- Khondalite is a type of metamorphic rock that is found in the Eastern Ghats region of India, particularly in the state of Odisha. It is named after the Khondalite Group of rocks, which is believed to have formed around 1.6 billion years ago during the Proterozoic era.
- Khondalite is primarily composed of feldspar, quartz, and mica, and has a distinct pinkish-grey coloration. It is commonly used as a decorative stone in construction and is particularly prized for its durability and resistance to weathering.
- Khondalite stones were widely used in ancient temple complexes. They are proposed to be used widely to maintain aesthetic value of some projects such as heritage security zone, Jagannath Ballav pilgrim centre, etc.
What is Stupa?
- About: Stupas were burial mounds prevalent in India from the vedic period.
- Architecture: Stupas consist of a cylindrical drum with a circular anda and a harmika and a chhatra on the top.
- Anda: Hemispherical mound symbolic of the mound of dirt used to cover Buddha’s remains (in many stupas actual relics were used).
- Harmika: Square railing on top of the mound.
- Chhatra: Central pillar supporting a triple umbrella form.
- Material Used: The core of the stupa was made of unburnt brick while the outer surface was made by using burnt bricks, which were then covered with a thick layer of plaster and medhi and the toran were decorated with wooden sculptures.
- Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh is the most famous of the Ashokan stupas.
- Piprahwa Stupa in Uttar Pradesh is the oldest one.
- Stupas built after the death of Buddha: Rajagriha, Vaishali, Kapilavastu, Allakappa, Ramagrama, Vethapida, Pava, Kushinagar and Pippalivana.
- Stupa at Bairat, Rajasthan: Grand stupa with a circular mound and a circumambulatory path.