Into the Glory of Ghantasala

Written by
Ghantasala Main

Ghantasala houses a Buddhist marvel in the Krishna district that boasts of a rich past. Here’s delving deep into the reasons that would help us celebrate its presence all the more.

A Happening Sea-borne Centre

Ghantasala, hardly an hour’s journey by car from Vijaywada, has Buddhist roots that are believed to have originated in the 1st century B.C. Prior to Boswell’s discovery of the Buddhist Arama here in about 1870, the place was known to be one of the most happening sea-borne trade centres.

More Insights Into The Legend Around The Site

Ghantasala-2 Into the Glory of Ghantasala

  • Lanjadibba, the mound in the site measuring 112 m diameter and 23 feet high, got a revamp first with the help of the British ruler A. Rea. Co-incidentally, this also helped unearth a considerable chunk of the structural remnants of a Mahachaitya that went on to represent 12 zodiac signs.
  • The latest series of excavations were significant to unleash the presence of many panels mirroring Buddha’s life events besides Jataka stories representing several phases of an ideal life like Mandhata, Champeyya, Sibi and Vessantara.
  • The findings of many inscriptions from the early Satavahanas and Ikshavaku besides several coins bear witness that the Buddhist rule here couldn’t have extended beyond the 3rd century A.D.

Uncanny Resemblances

There are number of influences in Ghantasala that suggest inspirations borrowed from the sites in Bhattiprolu, Nagarjunakonda and even Amaravati.

Ghantasala1 Into the Glory of Ghantasala

  • The similarities with Bhattiprolu and Nagarjunakonda lie in the fact that they were built on the shape of a wheel with Ayaka platforms and Pradakshinapatha (passage between the outer and inner walls).
  • The presence of limestone panel fragments, in the form of coping stones (the highest stone in a structure), railing pillars with dwarf figures bearing garlands around the stupa are enough to talk about the connections with Amaravati.

Other Notable Trivia Surrounding The Site

The dome of the Stupa was earlier believed to have been decorated with 47 slabs, of which, interestingly, few can now be traced to Paris.

  • Few of the antiquities and sculptural panels recovered from many excavations can even be seen in the site Museum.

Ways to Reach Ghantasala

By rail: Nearest station- Machilipatnam (20 kms), Chilakalapudi, Vijaywada Junction (65 kms)

By bus: Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Kodali, Muvva, Kuchipudi

By air: Vijayawada Airport (47kms)




Article Categories:
Buddhist Trails · Heritage
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