An ancient Buddhist monastery found in Jharkhand after almost two months of the discovery of an ancient shrine of Buddha, which was buried under a quite similar mound at a distance of hundred metres only, has archaeologists in a tizzy.
Ancient Buddhist monastery found in Jharkhand
This Buddhist monastery is being believed to be at least 900 years old. This ancient monastery was found buried under a mound in a small village located in a hilly region of the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.
This discovery was done by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in four days only.
A team from the Patna branch of the ASI has successfully excavated 10 stone statues of the Goddess Tara and Gautam Buddha from the region in the Burhani village located near Juljul pahar of Sitagarha hills. This place is around 12km from the district headquarters of Hazaribagh.
Ancient Buddhist monastery found in Jharkhand: The findings
The professional team of trained officials discovered a sculpture that seems to be of the Goddess Maheshwari of Shaivite with a coiled chakra and crown, on Thursday.
The excavation was started on January 31. According to the officials, the sculpture indicates cultural assimilation in the area.
These findings are being considered very important and significant as this ancient monastery falls on the old route to Varanasi, almost 10km away from Sarnath, the holy place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon.
According to the archaeologists the presence of statues and sculptures of Goddess Tara reflect possible proliferation of the Vajrayana form of Buddhism in this area.
Vajrayana is a form of Tantric Buddhism which had flourished in India during the time of the 6th and 11th century. Even though the scientific dating of the structures has not been done yet, the fact that the findings represent the Pala period cannot be denied.
ASI statements on the excavation
Rajendra Dehuri, superintendent archaeologist, ASI Patna, said: “This is a significant finding in terms of the spread of Buddhism in Jharkhand. However, it is also a matter of research and further findings.”
Niraj Kumar Mishra, assistant archaeologist of excavator branch III, Patna, ASI said: “Earlier the context was not clear. We concentrated on a mound near Juljul Pahar foothills where we found remnants of a Buddhist monastery-cum-shrine where there are rooms at the sides and an open courtyard.”
He also added: “We found four statues of deity Tara in Varad Mudra (gesture of hands showing dispensing of boons) and six statues of the Buddha in the Bhumisparsa mudra (gesture of hands showing five fingers of right hand towards the earth symbolising the enlightenment of Buddha). So, it is a significant finding as deity Tara’s statues means this was an important centre of Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. Last year during excavation, we found a script of four to five words and sent it to ASI Mysore for paleographic dating for historical manuscripts. They said it was a Nagri script and they dated it between 10th century AD to 12th century AD. Nagri is a previous version of Devanagari script and the words indicate Buddhist religious affiliation. This time also we have got Nagri script on a Tara statue.”