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| Last Updated:: 14/09/2015

Thotlakonda's monks and their medicines




Instead of trying to showcase our Thotlakonda and Bavikonda Buddhist monuments as lifeless relics of the past, the department of tourism must bring them back to life by bestowing a totally new and interest-infusing dimension to the monuments.

How? Here is one way. The very name 'Thotlakonda' comes from the numerous 'thotlu' or water cisterns that the hill has. While water cisterns, as a rule, were meant for water conservation, there is one particular thotti on the hill, located behind the main stupa, that seems to stand out. It is small in size and is shaped strangely like a coffin, while the rest of the thottis are bigger, deeper and are either square or rectangular shaped. I always wondered what that particular thotti was meant for. It is too small and shallow to hold a decent amount of water and too oddly shaped to be useful for any other purpose, on the face of it.

While studying the ancient Buddhist text, Mahavagga, which is our most authentic primary Buddhist literary source, I came across several leads that indicated that the cistern we are referring to might have been used for therapeutic purposes. This surmise is supported by archaeological evidence provided by Lars Fogellin, an American scholar, who researched the ancient monument and the hill and identified archaeological finds hitherto undocumented. He based his PhD thesis (University of Michigan, 2003) on his findings.




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