Located over 3 kilometers to the north of Anakapalle railway station are two very surreal hillocks. Known locally as Bojjanakonda and Lingalametta, the village of Sankaram in Visakhapatnam flaunts the most amazing Buddhist rock cut caves. This site was first reported by Alexander Rea in the timeline of 1907 and 1908.
The hill of Bojjanakonda is dotted with a row of rock cut votive stupas, Viharas, rock cut cells and apsidal rock cut shrines. An image of the standing Ganesha had been carved on the façade of a cave and hence the name, Bojjanakonda.
Main features of the Bojjanakonda Rock Cut Buddhist Caves:
- The main stupa consists of a square platform that measures 80 X 11’9 inches, approached by a flight of steps, a drum and a dome.
- The projected bed rock of this hillock was trimmed into the domical part of the stupa upto a height of 4’7” and from there on, would have been covered with brick masonry work to get the shape of an Anda.
- The antiquities recovered from the site include seals, sealing, inscribed tablets, a lead coin with the horse symbol of Satavahana period, gold coin of Samudragupta of the 4th Century AD Gupta Dynasty, 70 copper coins of the Eatern Vengi Chalukyan Dynasty of 7th Century AD, Images of the Buddha and a huge life size image of Hariti predictably from the 9th century AD.
Based on the architectural features of the monastic complex and other early historic cultural material, the beginning of the site is dated to the 2nd century BC, which continued as a principal Buddhist site upto the 9th and 10th centuries AD.
The site passes through all the three phases – Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
The Buddhist rock cut caves in the Sankaram village of Vizag easily become few of the most cherished Buddhist relics of the world.