Art and Culture > Miscellaneous > Religion
Why in news?
- Historians and biologists are campaigning to protect the ancient Buddhist site of Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam, which is home to an estimated 90 species of birds
- Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex is situated on a hill near Bheemunipatnam about 15 kilometres from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India.
- The hill is about 128 metres above sea level and overlooks the sea.
- The excavations here have established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex which flourished 2000 years ago. To the south of the complex there is a tank which served as a water source to the inhabitants of the monastery.
- The excavations reveal Satavahana dynasty lead and Roman silver coins indicating foreign trade; terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, miniature stupa models in stone, and Buddha footprints were also found.
- The excavations also yielded twelve inscriptions in the Brahmi script.
- Thotlakonda's peak activity was between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE owing to brisk Roman trade and religious missions sent abroad.
- Thotlakonda came into existence along with nearby sites in Visakhapatnam like Bavikonda and Pavurallakonda.
- The complex had arrangements for storing food, clothing, medicines and served as a religious cum academic centre.
- Nikaya Buddhism appears to have been practiced here, including the worship of Gautama Buddha through symbols such as padukas and other material remains rather than using human representation.
- Thotlakonda had declined by the end of the 3rd century.
Thotlakonda, recently in news, is located in:
Answer to Prelims question