Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Places in news: Kesaria Buddhist Stupa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kesaria Stupa

Mains level : Not Much

The world-famous Kesaria Buddha stupa in east Champaran district of Bihar is waterlogged following floods in some parts of the district after heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of river Gandak in neighbouring Nepal.

Kesaria Stupa

  • The Kesaria stupa, located about 110 km from the State capital Patna, has a circumference of almost 400 feet and stands at a height of about 104 feet.
  • The first construction of the nationally protected stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE.
  • It is regarded as the largest Buddhist stupa in the world and has been drawing tourists from across several Buddhist countries.
  • The sputa’s exploration had started in the early 19th century after its discovery led by Colonel Mackenzie in 1814.
  • Later, it was excavated by General Cunningham in 1861-62 and in 1998 an ASI team led by archaeologist K.K. Muhammad had excavated the site properly.
  • The original Kesaria stupa is said to date back to the time of emperor Ashoka (circa 250 BCE) as the remains of an Ashokan pillar was discovered there.

In the accounts of foreign travellers

  • The stupa mound may even have been inaugurated during the Buddha’s time, as it corresponds in many respects to the description of the stupa erected by the Licchavis of Vaishali to house the alms bowl the Buddha has given them.
  • Interestingly, Chinese travellers Fa-Hien (5th century CE) and Hiuen Tsang (7th century CE), who travelled to India, also mention this stupa and the legend of Buddha and the Licchavis, in their records.
  • While Fa-Hien talks of a pillar erected at the site, Hiuen Tsang mentions the stupa itself.

Try answering this question from CS Mains 2016:

Q.Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.

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