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Hindu, Buddhist Structures, Temples, And Inscriptions Discovered In MP's Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Indiatimes logo Indiatimes 29-09-2022 Bobins Abraham
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The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered a treasure trove of ancient relics in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

According to the ASI, during the exploitation that was carried out in BTR between May 20-June 27, 26 temples, 26 caves, 2 monasteries, 2 votive stupas, 24 inscriptions, 46 sculptures, other scattered remains, and 19 water structures are recorded.

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Largest 'Varaha' sculpture ever

The discoveries also include many ancient sculptures, including large monolithic ones of various avatars of Lord Vishnu like 'Varaha' and 'Matsya', and "board games made in natural caves".

ASI officials said that the 'Varaha' sculpture discovered in Bandhavgarh is one of the largest that has been found till now.

The time period of the findings covered the reigns of the kings Shri Bhimsena, Maharaja Pothasiri, and Maharaja Bhattadeva, the ASI said.

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Carvings dating back to 2-3 centaury AD

A votive stupa and a Buddhist pillar fragment containing a miniature stupa carving, which roughly date back to 2nd-3rd century AD have been documented as part of this exploration.

Coins belonging to the Mughal-era and Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur Sultanate have also been found.

26 temple newly discovered

ASI officials said a total of 35 temples have been documented, nine earlier and 26 temples or remains of a temple of Kalachuri period in the latest exploration.

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Of the caves, 26 are newly documented, dating to 2nd century BC to 5th century AD period and mostly Buddhist in nature, while 50 were reported earlier, he added.

Two new Shaiva maths of Kalachuri period (9th-11th century AD) and two new stupas have also been documented, officials said.

Also, remains of Mahayana sect of Buddhism like chaitya-shaped doors and cells containing stone beds have also come to light, they said.

Besides, 46 new sculptures also documented, 10 were already reported earlier prior to this exploration this year.

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Twenty-four Brahmi inscriptions dating from 2nd-5th century AD have been documented, the ASI said.

Mathura, other cities mentioned 

Another significant discovery was the mention of ancient cities like Mathura and Kaushambi, Pavata (Parvata), Vejabharada and Sepatanaairikaa.

The cities were mentioned in Brahmi script, Bajpai said, adding, inscriptions are also in Nagari and Shankhalipi.

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Names of important kings mentioned in the old inscriptions include Maharaja Shri Bhimsena, Maharaja Pothasiri and Maharaja Bhattadeva.

First exploration in over 80 years

This was the first time an archeological exploration was carried out in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, located about 500 km from Bhopal.

"This is the first time ASI has explored Bandhavgah since the 1938 exploration by archaelogist N P Chakravarti. Many structures there were documented. We reported and documented more structures, including ancient caves, temples, Buddhist remains, maths, sculptures, water bodies, mural inscriptions in old scripts like Brahmi and Nagari," Superintending Archaeologist of the Jabalpur Circle, SK Bajpai said.

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