BUDDHA STUPA

The world-famous Kesaria Buddha stupa in east Champaran district of Bihar is waterlogged following floods in some parts of the district.

The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has declared it a protected monument of national importance.

Important points:

  • The stupa is said to be the tallest and the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.
  • It is located in Kesariya, at a distance of 110 kilometers from Patna, in the East Champaran district of Bihar.
  • It has a circumference of almost 400 feet and stands at a height of about 104 feet.
  • The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. The original Kesaria stupa probably dates to the time of Ashoka (circa 250 BCE), as the remains of a capital of a Pillar of Ashoka were discovered there.
  • The current stupa dates to the Gupta Dynasty between 200 AD and 750 AD and may have been associated with the 4th century ruler Raja Chakravarti.
  • The stupa mound may even have been inaugurated during the Buddha’s time, as it corresponds in many respects to the description of the stupa erected by the Licchavis of Vaishali to house the alms bowl the Buddha has given them.
  • In ancient times, Kesaria was under the rule of the Mauryas and the Licchavis.
  • Two great foreign travelers, Faxian (Fahien) and Xuan Zang (Hsuan Tsang), had visited this place in ancient times and have left interesting and informative accounts of their travels.
  • The discovery of gold coins bearing the seal of the famous emperor Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty (AD 30 to AD 375) goes on to further establish the ancient heritage of Kesaria.

Exploration:

  • The stupa’s exploration had started in the early 19th century after its discovery led by Colonel Mackenzie in 1814.
  • Later, it was excavated by General Cunningham in 1861-62 and in 1998 an ASI team led by archaeologist K.K. Muhammad had excavated the site properly.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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