Medieval Buddhist sculptures found inside Odisha temple

Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Mahanga, Mar 14:

Buddhist sculpture and relics dating back to the Medieval era have been discovered inside a Hindu temple at Panaspur village under Kusupur panchayat of Mahanga area in Odisha’s Cuttack district on Friday.

Buddhist idols

The state government’s Culture department had undertaken the construction of boundary wall and other minor works of the Ishaneshwar temple in Panaspur village.

While digging of the earth for erecting the boundary wall, the workers found multiple stone sculptures from below the ground which heightened the curiosity among the villagers.

After carefully uncovering mud from one idol, it led to another. Hence, a number of rare Buddhist idols were discovered from the site.

The discovery includes a 1’.3’’ sculpture of Lord Buddha from below the bust region in Bhumisparsha Mudra (Earth-touching gesture or earth witness), 1’.8’’ tall sculpture in Lalitasan (where only one foot is on top of the other thigh, and the other foot is pendent) in Varada Mudra (Boon-granting gesture), a Bodhisattva Padmapani (who aims and prepares to attain perfect knowledge) sculpture with two arms, a sculpture in Prajnaparamita Mudra with two arms, a sculpture in Prajnaparamita Mudra with two arms, a Manjushree sculpture and a Gandharba (celestial musician) sculpture with garlands in two hands.
‘‘The sculptures and the artefacts are expected to be of the ages between 8th century BC to 1100 AD or during the Bhouma dynasty rule,’’ historian and Buddhist researcher, Dr Harishchandra Prusty said.

The carvings and articles recovered from the site resembles with and are contemporary of those found in Lalitgiri, Pushpagiri, Udaygiri, Ratnagiri, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya, Java, Barabodar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, experts opined.

Besides, a sculpture of 1’.8’’ of Vamana, the fifth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu of the Second Age or Tretaya Uuga, clay utensils, tumblers and earthen lamps were also recovered from the site.

The researchers predict it to be from the Medieval era.

A villager, Abhay Nayak, informed Dr Prusty about the discovery who then reached the site to dig into the details of the rare monuments.

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