Telangana State Tourism Development Corp., based in the central Indian state of Telangana, has announced updated plans for its development of Buddhavanam, a Buddhist heritage theme park. The park site, located in Nagarjunasagar, about 150 kilometers southeast of Hyderbad, has revealed a treasure trove of Buddhist and other ancient relics, and is expected to open soon, although confirmed completion dates have yet to be completed. been announced.
The site is located along the Krishna River and the banks of the Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir. Buddhist cultural artefacts at the site, including a large pillar, date from the Ikshvaku dynasty (3rd century CE). At that time, the rulers of the region were Shaivites. Nonetheless, Buddhists prospered and were able to build a number of monuments. The area is known to have had a Buddhist colony and related activity since the 6th century BCE.
“Currently, the remains of [a] A Buddhist pillar can be seen on a “Panavatta” from the Kakatiya period and revered as Sivalinga by locals, ”said E. Sivanagi Reddy, an archaeologist specializing in Buddhism and consultant on the Buddhavanam project. “The pillar is located on a platform inside a natural cave, once a habitat of prehistoric man, as evidenced by the presence of Paleolithic tools and Neolithic grooves noticed on the terrace of the cave of Devarachala. ” (Telangana today)
The region is rich in archaeological history. Several furrows of Mesolithic and Neolithic age (4000-1750 BC) have also been discovered, obscured by the dense vegetation of the mountains. The grooves are said to be 5-10 centimeters long and 3-19 centimeters wide, with an average depth of 2.5 centimeters. Archaeologists suggest they indicate a factory site during the Neolithic Age.
Additionally, Mesolithic stone tools including blades, chisels, drillers, and shards made from local materials have also been found, indicating Mesolithic habitation dating back to around 8,500 BCE.
To Buddhists, the site is perhaps best known for its connection to Nagarjuna (c.150-250 CE). It is believed that the Indian Mahayana philosopher spent a significant part of his life there, although evidence is scarce.
The developers aim to make the Buddhavanam theme park a major pilgrimage and tourism destination for people interested in Buddhism. The site will include material depicting the life of the Buddha in various media, as well as the eventual construction of monasteries by Southeast Asian Buddhist groups and a Buddhist university. There will be a museum dedicated to the rebirth of Buddhism in India with an integrated research library, a Buddhist hospital offering Tibetan medicinal plants and a craft village with Buddhist handicrafts.
First conceived in 2001, the project only gained substantial support in 2016 under the leadership of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, who appointed senior journalist Mallepalli Laxmaiah to take over the project, with funding estimated at $ 8.7 million. The area is made up of some 110 hectares of public land divided into eight segments: an elegant entrance, a Bodhisattva park depicting the past lives of the Buddha, a meditation park, a stupa park, a central park maha (grand) stupa, a Buddhist university, Buddhist monasteries and a museum on the revival of Buddhism in India.
The site was visited by the Dalai Lama during its construction in 2006. During his visit, His Holiness planted a Bodhi tree cut from the one that stands at the place of the awakening of the Buddha in Bodh Gaya.
Buddhavanam Project, a treasure trove of Buddhist relics (Telangana today)
Telangana plans big for tourism (Telangana today)
Stone Age grooves, tools found at Buddhavanam (The New Indian Express)
Buddhavanam in Nagarjunasagar set to become a major tourist destination (The Hans India)
His Highness the Dalai Lama visits Nagarjuna Sagar (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama)
This upcoming Buddhist heritage theme park near Hyderabad is a must visit (The News Minute)
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