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| Last Updated:: 09/01/2015

Major archaeological find in Nalgonda

 The Department of Archaeology and Museums officials found the relic casket of a chief monk or an important person of Buddhism during the excavation of the Phanigiri Monastic Buddhist site in Nalgonda district on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Hindu, Deputy Director J. Vijay Kumar said that they had been excavating the site since last February under the guidance of Director B. Srinivas.

During the excavation they found a Mahastupa in which they found the relic casket. A valuable dull red ware earthen pot with silver container consisting of 11 miniatures beads, three silver and three thin flower petals were discovered at the north eastern corner of the Mahastupa at base of drum portion.

He said the Mahastupas are called Sariraka Stupa (buried bodily remains of the Buddha), Paribhogika stupa (buried belongings of Lord Buddha and Uddeshika Stupa, but they identified it as Phari Bogika Stupa since they found belongings of the Buddha.

Mr. Vijay Kumar said after the death of Buddha his remains were kept at eight places in stupas in the world by his disciples, but the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, who embraced Buddhism after the great Kalinga war in 3rd century BC, had removed the relics and believed to have kept the remains at 84,000 places in the world to spread Buddhism across the globe.

Highlighting the importance of finding the relic casket, Mr.Vijay Kumar said in undivided Andhra Pradesh, archaeologists had found the relic caskets only at two places one at Nagarjunasagar and another at Bojjannakonda, another Buddhist site about 45 km from Vishakhapatnam.

According to their observation, the Deputy Director has said the Stupa, in which the relic casket was found, was renovated thrice -- during the Mauryan, Satavahana and Ikshvaku periods.

The fall of Buddhism in Phanigiri had started during the Vishnukundins period, but surprisingly the relic casket remained intact.