Rare and precious Buddhist artefacts were unearthed and recovered in Kanaparthi, a forlorn village in Prakasam district.
Several number of bronze and Panchaloha idols of the Lord Buddha and other artefacts in the coastal village, that were once referred to as ‘Kanakapuripatnam, were recovered. Kanakapuripatnam is situated close to river Gundalakamma, which was once a cradle of Buddhism in the early Christian era.
“Unearthing of 55 bronze artefacts at one place is very rare,” G V Ramakrishna, Director, State Archaeology and Museums (SAM) said, while speaking to the media. He added that earlier only one bronze idol of the Buddha had been found at Neelakondapalli in Khammam district in Telangana State. He said that a detailed study will be done on the idols.
The unearthed findings are said to date back to circa 4th century to 5th century A.D, the time when Buddhism was on its decline, and Hinduism was flourishing, as per the Director.
Ten of the idols that were unearthed are in standing posture showing ‘Abhaya Mudra’, and three in a meditating posture. There were also three limestone railings with images of animals and plants. The idols were later shifted to the on-site museum on Tuesday.
“Flying Gandharvas, bells and other pooja materials that were unearthed were found stored in a big pot, perhaps, fearing onslaught from zealots,” Mr. Kesava, SAM in charge and assistant director explained. The idols might have been used as processional deities during religious festivals, according to another SAM In-charge Assistant Director T. Kamalakar.
“More research should be done in the 4 sq.km area to bring to light the rare idols ,” said K. Venkateswara Reddy, an Assistant Professor in History at Acharya Nagarjuna University.