The Maha Stupa-Bhattiprolu-Guntur-Andhrapradesh-India

The Bhattiprolu maha stupa in Guntur district, one of the few found in India with the Buddhist relic caskets, will be exposed completely by March 2007 for public viewing by scientifically clearing tonnes of soil that has accumulated over a century. The Archaeological Survey of India will begin on Friday scientific clearing of the soil from the remnants of stupa proper and circumbulator, ASI Director and Hyderabad Circle Superintendenting Archaeologist D. Jithendra Das said. Boswell of East India Company in 1870 first excavated the stupa, dating back to 3rd Century BC and surrounding structures to 4th Century BC, where he found one of the ancient towns and stupa. Later in 1892 Alexander Rea fully excavated the stupa and took two caskets with Buddhist Relics along with some sculptured pieces of the stupa dome to the Egmore Museum in Chennai.

The stupa was vandalised during the 18th Century and during the first excavation a proof of existence of the Republican Kingdom of Kubera Raja was found from the inscription. The stupa was constructed in wheel shape like the one found at Ghantasala in Krishna district.

A tiny village located in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India, Bhattiprolu was known as Pratipalapura in the erstwhile era. At that point of time it was a very well known Buddhist town under the Sala kingdom.

Bhattiprolu is most known for its stupa, the Chinna Lanja dibba and Vikramarka kota dibba. Excavation undertaken in the year 1870 unearthed three mounds while the one carried out in 1892 led to the discovery of three inscribed stone relic caskets containing crystal caskets, relics of Buddha and jewels. The diameter of the stupa measures around 40 m with an additional basement of 2.4 m wide running all around. The most important discovery is the crystal relic casket of sarira dhatu of the Buddha from the central mass of the stupas.

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