Makeover for Buddhist site

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The magnificent Buddhist stupa here is all set to regain its grandeur to woo domestic and international tourists, thanks to devolution of funds by the Centre as per the 13th Finance Commission recommendations.

Makeover for Buddhist site
The stupa which is all set for renovation at Chandavaram

in Prakasam district.[Credit: Kommuri Srinivas]

The double-storied stupa with a huge monastery located atop the hill by the side of the Gundalakamma is an Indologist’s delight as it was visited by monks moving from Varanasi to Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, a flourishing religious centre in the pre-Christian era.

The ruins include a ‘maha chaitya’ with a 1.6-metre-high dome, a drum and a vihara .

The Archaeology and Museums Department has chalked out a Rs. 1-crore renovation plan to “expose the structures” at the stupa, 120 ft in circumference and 30 ft in height, and setting right the grand terraces, its State Director G.V. Ramakrishan Rao told The Hindu .

The renovation plan of the splendid stupa dating back to 2nd century B.C. includes making of special size bricks of the size 52 x 26 x 7.5 cm used then for building the marvellous religious structure which include a meditation hall, rest rooms and stairs from three sides, near Vellampalli in Donakonda mandal.

The department had unearthed the stupa along with rare inscriptions, edicts and three golden flowers in 1965. At the entrance of the stupa, there is a marble sculpture of the Buddha in a meditating posture.

To invite tenders

The estimates to construct a compound wall with chain-links, clearing of the debris and creation of public amenities, among other things, have been approved by the government. “We are going to invite tenders to take up restoration work,” he said.

The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation is constructing a restaurant at a cost of Rs. 47.5-lakh to woo overseas travellers keen on visiting places with religious and historical importance to Buddhism, he added.

Other religious structures to be renovated with Finance Commission grants in Prakasam district include the 1,000-pillar temple at Addanki (Rs.10 lakh), the Chalukyan temples at Kunidena (Rs. 50 lakh) and the Pranna Anjaneyaswamy temple at Turimela of the Vijayanagara times (Rs. 40 lakh) and the Brahmaramba Mallikarjunaswamy temple at Gundlapalem (Rs.20 lakh).

Author: S. Murali | Source: The Hindu [April 06, 2013]

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