In the quest of unveiling more historical treasures in Andhra, this time, we get to Bhattiprolu, a village in Guntur most known for its Buddhist traces.
Bhattiprolu, a small village earlier known as Pragatipura in the famous Sala kingdom-era, a comfortable 50 kms from Guntur, has accommodated space for a Buddhist Stupa that’s considered to be among the earliest ones constructed in Andhra Pradesh. Buddhist mounds here are regionally prominent as Vikramarkakota Dibba.
Here are 6 awesome facts surrounding Bhattiprolu’s history and after.
1. Bhattiprolu Alphabet Gave Rise to Telugu and Kannada Script
The earliest evidence of South India’s Brahmi script is said to have originated from Bhattiprolu. The script was first written on an urn that contained Buddha’s relics. This script was named as Bhattiprolu alphabet that gave rise to Telugu and Kannada languages.
2. First Findings of Republican Kingdom of King Kubera
The Stupa was apparently vandalised in the 18th Century with the first excavation suggesting the presence of Republican Kingdom of Kubera Raja from the inscriptions. It wasn’t until 1870 when Mr Boswell visited this town that the stupa earned its deserved prominence. Taking it from where he had left, Alexander Rea in 1892 tried his best to excavate the place. This very significantly brought to the fore, the Mahachaitya and stone relic caskets that exhibited Brahmi-inscriptions with Pre-Asokan characters.
3. Dating of the Stupa Analysed only in the 20th Century
Thanks to the archaeologist R Subramanyam, it was only in the mid-20th century (1969-70) that the detailing of the stupa and the vihara helped establish the stupa date to the period between 3rd century B.C and the 4th century A.D. However, it was found that the original stupa of 148 feet diameter and 65 feet in height had reduced by 18 feet.
The stupa, made of brick consists of a dome and a drum, representing a wheel-shaped structure. In addition, it has a eight-feet wide terrace and four ayaka projects on cardinal points. The drum, on the exterior, is layered with slices of lime-stone slabs.
4. Discovery of an age old festival
It’s interesting to note the presence of an age-old festival in the haydays of Bhattiprolu, celebrated by the natives, if the precious objects along with the relics of Lord Buddha, recovered from Mahachaitya are trustable sources to go-by. It was in the times of Raja Kubiraka that the dedication of the relics to the God was followed by the same, where monks and woman throughout the nation gathered at once.
5. Famous Stories Penned on Bhattiprolu
A native of Ilavaram, Dr Nakka Vijaya Rama Raju, has penned a series of stories set amidst the backdrop of Bhattiprolu titled Bhattiprolu Kathalu and Maavoori Kathalu.
6. Stupa contains Rare Buddhist Relic Caskets
The stupa, the rarest in the country bearing Buddhist relic caskets was open to public viewing from Marh 2007. The Archaeological Survey of India had scientifically cleared a heap of soil, totalling to tonnes, accumulated over a century.
How to Reach Bhattiprolu
Location: On the Repalle-Tenali stretch, Guntur
Distance from Guntur town: 50 kms
Distance from Tenali: 30 kms
Distance from Repalle: 15 kms
Feasible means of transport: Bus, Train
Closest railway stations: Bhattiprolu, Penumarru, Repalle, Palikona
Closest local airport: Gannavaram (Vijayawada)