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2200-year-old stupa crumbles due to rain

Much to the dismay of archaeologists, historians and heritage conservationists in the city, the 2nd BC main stupa at Thotlakonda Buddhist monastery site crumbled partially on Wednesday, unable to withstand the heavy downpour.

2200-year-old stupa crumbles due to rain
Credit: The Hindu
“This is our heritage, as the site flourished from 2nd Century BC to almost 2nd Century AD, and every Vizagiite was proud of the monument,” said heritage conservationist Rani Sarma.

Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex is located about 15 km from Vizag and is perched on a hill at about 420 feet above sea level, overlooking the picturesque Bay of Bengal. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the city.

The site was discovered in 1976 by a naval helicopter pilot during a sortie. After excavations, Andhra Pradesh State Archaeology Department concluded that it was a major Hinayana Buddhist monastery complex, which had links with Sri Lanka, countries in the far East and even the Roman empire.

The Buddhist site had undergone major renovation and reconstruction in 2016 before the International Fleet Review. Though the work was taken up by the State Archaeological Department, heritage conservationists cried foul.

According to them the work was not done scientifically and they said that it was more of modern day renovation rather than restoration and conservation, as done in heritage sites.

There were cracks on the stupas then and they were filled up but it was not done as per the norms, said heritage enthusiast Edward Paul.

Going by the initial assessment, it is understood that rain water would have seeped into the structure through the cracks and brought it down.

Source: The Hindu [October 24, 2019]


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