All the Antiquarians, where are you at? This article is absolutely for you guys, who are interested in ancient history and in ancient architecture. Vizag is definitely among the most famous cities with ancient history and beauty. Coming to the ancient heritage of Vizag, there are a few things that we need to talk about, THE BUDDIST SITES! Buddhism had a great influence on the lives of the people originated about a thousand years ago.
A number of buddhist priests were amazed with the beauty of Vizag and set up places for worship, universities, etc. It was since then, the Vizag city had been carrying the subtle influence of Buddhism and acquired a special place among the World Buddist Spots. Since then, the government of Andhra Pradesh started developing the Buddhist sites into tourist attractions and equipped the sites with the sculptures and other items of ancient heritage which dates back to 2nd Century BC To 7th Century AD.
The Vizag city has relics of all the three phases of Buddhism, which are – Hinayana, Mahayana and Vijrayana. Now since we all know the history, let us look into the famous Buddhist sites in Vizag –
Bavikonda Ancient Buddhist Monastery :
The ancient Bavikonda Buddhist Monastery was built around the 3rd century BCE. The site has numerous wells, sculptures, temples, galleries, caves, etc., situated about 16 km from Vizag. Along with the remains found, lies the Bavikonda stupa which is also known as the Mahastupa. Also one of the caves has a large statue of Buddha himself. There are a total of 24 pillars and rooms inside the cave. This site is filled with the beauty of ancient heritage of the Buddhist period.
Thotlakonda Buddhist Monastery :
Right next to the Bavikonda Buddhist Monastery, lies Thotlakonda Buddhist Monastery which is spread over an area of 120 acres and about 128 metres above sea level with the sea view. It is a 2000 years old monastic complex with remnants of ancient sculptures, stone pathways, viharas, chaitya-griha and a kitchen complex with three halls and a dining hall. The mahastupa of the site was reconstructed in 2016, as it partially collapsed during the HudHud phase in 2014. This monument has a lot to offer to the tourists from across the globe.
Bojjannakonda is located in Sankaram which is about 26 km from Vizag. It is of six rock-cut caves and a group of stupas and chaityas surrounding the mahastupa. The three phases of Buddhism are featured on the caves, chaityas and monasteries. There are numerous caves, among which the largest cave has sixteen pillars with a stupa situated right in the centre, creating a pathway. This place reflects the history and culture of Buddhism from the 4th century AD.
Pavurallakonda is situated about 25 km towards the North from Vizag city. It is located at a height of about 150m above the mean sea level. It consists of a hill top Buddhist Monastery from 3rd century BCE to 2nd century CE. The site has foundations of Viharas, circular chaityas, halls, inscriptions, coins, and beads, which were discovered during the excavation. The Gosthani River, which flows close by this site, offers a beautiful view of the coastline.
Kotturu Dhanadibbalu :
Kotturu Dhanadibbalu and Pandavula Guha in Kotturu is an ancient Buddhist site, which is nearly 8 km from Yelamanchili town in Vizag. This site has a small portion of a rock cave used by Buddhist monks during the 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. The place is filled with the Buddhist brickwork and is situated along the banks of river Sarada.
All in all, Vizag city offers many more such places to the tourists, be it nature or ancient heritage, which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations. A visit to the above mentioned Buddhist sites in Vizag is totally worth it and will definitely be a memorable visit.
By Vindhya Vanamali