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Chandavaram Buddhist Site

The town of Chandavaram is located in Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh on the banks of the River GundlaKamma. The ChandavaramBuddistSite is located on a hill called Singarayakonda. It was first discovered by the eminent archeologist and historian Dr. VeluriVenkata Krishna Sastry 

Anoutstanding stupa with double terraces that was built on a high platform is the main monument that is of interest. The archeological site is treasure trove of buildings and objects from the Buddhist period between 2nd Century BC and 2nd Century AD.

The Chandavaram Stupa is only next to the Sanchi Stupa in significance and elegance and resembles the famous DharajakaStupa at Taxila.

History

The Chandavaram Buddhist Site was an active centre for Buddhist religious activities and was built and inhabited more than 2000 years ago as is evident from the carbon-dating of artifacts found here. The monuments and artifacts such as pottery, coins, inscriptions written in the Brahmi language used then date back to the Satavahana period 2000 years ago.
It was first discovered by the eminent archeologist and historian Dr. VeluriVenkata Krishna Sastry. Buddhist monks going from Kasi to Kanchi used it as a resting place and stopped here for sometime.

Archeological Findings

The unique two-storeyedMahaStupa with a huge dome and a drum of width of 60 cms is the most important monument. The dome of the stupa  isbeautifully carved with symbols of the stupa , Bodhi tree and Dharmachakra on lime-stone panels.

There were many other priceless findings during the excavations in the area. More than two dozen Buddhist slabs were found that were decorated with designs and inscriptions were found.

Many viharas(the living quarters of Buddhist monks), votive stupas  or lesser stupas built in commemoration of a visit or an event and relics and artifacts have been unearthed here showing a bustling place of religious activity. This monastic complex has monastaries,  Mahastupa or MahaChaitya, vihara with three wings, twin Chaityagrihas facing each other, pillared mandapams are all interesting viewing for tourists and Buddhist pilgrims who visit here. Also interesting to see is the extent of development in those times which is evident from the marble flooring and the drainage system of the Chaityagrihas.

Problems Faced

Chandavaram Buddhist Site has not yet been developed very well for tourists and other visitors. There is no accommodation or restaurants near the place.  There is also no public transport available from nearby towns for people to visit the place. Even the road is so bad that hardly any vehicles ply the road. In the absence of all these required facilities, this treasure remains unknown and unseen in the obscure countryside of the State.

The Archeological Department had kept the relics found in the place in a museum at the site but as there is no inhabitation there, thieves broke into the place and made off with many precious items. Now the artifacts found here are kept the State Museum at Hyderabad.

The need of the hour is a motorable road for easy access, public transport at least on public holidays and living accommodation and restaurant for the convenience of tourists.

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