The Guntupalli town at West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh plays host to one of the earliest Buddhist sites and rock cut caves in the state which is only a few minutes away from the villages of Jilakarragudem and Kamavarapukota.
Intricate features of the Guntupalli Buddhist site and Intriguing References:
- There are a set of simple rectangular halls with cells in a row that welcome you to the rock-cut caves, supposedly the spaces where the monks used to live in.
- The entrances embellished with arched facades show up many similarities with the Bihar-bound Lomasrishi cave of Barabara hills.
- Several excavations conducted at the site over the years have gone onto unearth a series of votive stupas, circular Chaityagrahas i.e. the place of worships including a collection of Brahmi label inscriptions too.
- Among the others, the most significant monuments traced here over the times are the semi-circular Buddhachaitya, a chunk of monasteries of various sizes, pillared Mandapas and votive Stupas.
A Hint of The Ancestral Glory
- The Mandapa pillars engraved with inscriptions dating to the times of Sirisada, a king of the Kalinga dynasty, Maha Meghamahava give hints of its presence since 1st century B.C.
- A similar timeline is further suggested by the presence of Brahmi characters, historic pottery, the lime stone image of the Buddha as well as the Bodhisatva Padmapani (also known as the transitional period) icon made in bronze. The revelations conducted have results dating the site’s origin between the phase of 3rd– 2nd centuries B.C and 9th-10th centuries A.D.
- A legend here brings to light, the fact that the prominent Buddhist logician Acharya Dinganga during the 4th -5th centuries A.D lived in the monastic complex named Mahagnanaparvata, a label that the historians stumbled upon in one of the Brahmi label inscriptions.
How to reach Guntupalli
By Rail: Eluru Railway Station (34.3 km), Tadepalligudem Railway Station (41.5 km), Bhimadolu Railway Station (26.3 km)
By Air: Rajahmundry Airport (62 km)
By Bus: Gollapudi Bus Station, Ibrahimpatnam Bus Station, Kondapally Bus Station