Bavikonda, one of the extensive Buddhist sites in the Visakhapatnam district, is a living example of fine structures, relics and votive stupas. The site actually showcases the clear existence of the once extensive Buddhist Arama (Visitor Rooms), containing Mahachaitya that is enshrined with relic caskets, a Vihara complex, stupas, Silamandapa and a refectory.
Located 16 kilometres away from the main city, Bavikonda site is an ardent subject of study for the seekers and the historians. Massive excavations were carried out during the 1982-87 field seasons that brought to light the evidence of the Arama.
Mahachaitya at Bavikonda – One of its kind
The Mahachaitya at the Bavikonda site is an imposing structure that has been erected on the northern side of the complex. This Mahachaitya has four entrance ways that measure up to 2X4.3 meters on the four cardinal points.
The other important features of the Mahachaitya
Lower Pradakshinapatha that is 3 meters wide
Circular drum with niche Ayaka platforms
Upper Pradakshinapatha with a hemispherical Anda
Half-moon shaped steps in the brick at the entrance ways that lead to the lower Pradakshinapatha
Main drum that is reached by a flight of steps attached to the brick and Ayaka platforms.
Brick wall structures that were plastered with lime
The extant dome was raised to the height of 2.25 meters, consisting 12 courses of bricks and measuring a Dia of 16 plus meters. The hollow space inside the dome was filled with rubble and red earth. The bricks that were used in the construction of the Chaitya measure 57X27X7 cms and 50X25X7 cms.
Other Interesting Facts
The entire monastic complex was conserved and restored for the benefit of visitors. One Satavahana lead coin, three Roman silver coins, fragments of Brahmi label inscriptions and Buddha Pada slabs that are decorated with Ashtamangala symbols were recovered, dating back to the timeline between 3rd Century BC and 3rd Century AD.