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  • 06 March, 2023

  • 7 Min Read

1300-year-old Buddhist Stupa found in Odisha

1300-year-old Buddhist Stupa found in Odisha

  • A 1,300-year-old stupa was recently found by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Jajpur district of Odisha at a Khondalite mining site.
  • That is where the Khondalite stones for the Puri, India, beautification project surrounding the Shree Jagannath Temple from the 12th century came from.

What conclusions has the ASI reached?

  • Initial evaluation revealed the stupa may be 4.5 metres tall and date to the 7th or 8th centuries.
  • It was discovered in Parabhadi, which is close to Lalitagiri, a significant Buddhist complex with a lot of stupas and monasteries.
  • Among the three Buddhist sites (Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri), Lalitgiri is thought to be the most sacred because it yielded a huge stupa where a relic of Buddha was found enclosed in a stone casket.

About Buddhism:

  • Around 2,600 years ago, Buddhism emerged in India as a way of life with the ability to alter a person.
  • It is a significant religion in several South and South-Eastern Asian nations.
  • The founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautam, who was born in 563 BCE, served as its model and provided its foundational principles.
  • He was born at Lumbini, which is close to the Indo-Nepal Border, into a royal dynasty of the Sakya line that governed from Kapilvastu.
  • At the age of 29, Gautama abandoned his family, turned away from his life of luxury, and chose an ascetic lifestyle.
  • At Bodhgaya, a village in Bihar, under a pipal tree, Gautama achieved Bodhi (enlightenment) after 49 days of nonstop meditation.
  • In the Small village of Sarnath, close to the city of Benares, Buddha delivered his first sermon. This occasion is referred to as Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana (turning of the wheel of law).
  • At the age of 80, he passed away in Kushinagara, a town in UP, in 483 BCE. The occasion is referred to as Mahaparinibban.

Spread of Buddhism in ancient India:

  • Buddha had both monks (bhikshus) and lay worshippers as his students (upasikas).
  • For the goal of disseminating his teachings, the monks were gathered in the Sangha.
  • The Sangha had the authority to impose rules on its members and was ruled democratically.
  • Even during the Buddha's lifetime, Buddhism advanced quickly in North India thanks to the Sangha's organized efforts.
  • Following the demise of Buddha, his disciples traveled the world and explored the countryside while following his way of meditation.
  • Up until the arrival of the Great Mauryan Monarch, Ashoka, Buddhism remained eclipsed by its Hindu counterparts for 200 years.
  • Emperor Ashoka made the decision to abandon his program of worldly conquest and pursue Dharma conquest following the carnage in his invasion of the Kalinga.
  • A number of Buddhist missions were sent by Ashoka during the third Buddhist council to places like Gandhara, Kashmir, Greece, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Egypt, and Thailand.
  • Ashoka promoted Buddhism through his missionary work in West Asia and Ceylon. As a result, a local religious sect became a global religion.

What does Buddhism contribute to Indian culture?

  • Its main contribution was the idea of ahimsa. Subsequently, it developed into one of our country's most valued ideals.
  • It made a significant contribution to India's art and architecture. Sanchi, Bharhut, and Gaya's stupas are magnificent works of architecture.
  • Via residential universities like those at Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramasila, education was encouraged.
  • With the guidance of Buddhism, the Pali language and various regional tongues evolved.
  • It also aided in the diffusion of Indian culture throughout Asia.

The Khondalite Stones: What are they?

  • Khondalite is a form of metamorphic rock that is mostly present in the Indian state of Odisha and the Eastern Ghats. It bears the name of a group of rocks known as the Khondalite Group, which is thought to have originated in the Proterozoic period about 1.6 billion years ago.
  • Khondalite has a distinctive pinkish-grey colour and is mainly made up of feldspar, quartz, and mica.
  • It is frequently used in building as an ornamental stone and is highly valued for its sturdiness and resistance to weathering.
  • Ancient temple structures frequently used khondalite stones. To preserve the aesthetic value of various projects, like the heritage security zone and the Jagannath Ballav pilgrim centre, they are suggested to be used extensively.

What is a Stupa?

  • Burial mounds called stupas were common in India throughout the Vedic era.
  • Stupas have a cylindrical drum-like structure with a round anda, a harmika, and a chhatra on top.
  • Anda: A spherical mound that represents the earth used to cover the Buddha's remains (in many stupas actual relics were used).
  • Harmika: The top of the mound has a square fence.
  • Chhatra: A triple umbrella structure is supported by a central pillar.
  • used materials The outer surface of the stupa was constructed from burnt bricks, while the interior was constructed from unburned brick. The medhi and the toran were embellished with wooden sculptures.
Buddhist stupas:
  • A stupa is a memorial structure that typically houses holy artefacts connected to the Buddha or other saints.
  • It has a spire at the top and is sometimes a hemispherical structure with a variable-shaped base.
  • Buddhist stupas are nearly always found at locations considered important to Buddhism. Their original purpose was to shelter the physical remains of the historical Buddha and his companions.
  • The most well-known and well-preserved early stupa in India is The Great Stupa in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Stupas can be categorized into five different categories based on its form and purpose, including:
  • Relic stupa: A place where the Buddha, his followers, and lay saints' relics or bodies are interred.
  • Stupa of objects: Items that belonged to the Buddha or his followers, such as a begging bowl, a robe, or significant Buddhist texts.
  • Constructed to honour significant occurrences in the life of the Buddha or his disciples, a commemorative stupa.
  • Stupa symbology: To represent elements of Buddhist doctrine.
  • Votive stupa: A structure built to mark visits or for spiritual purposes, typically at the location of notable stupas that are frequently visited.

Source: The Hindu

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