small village of Sirpur
in present day Chhattisgarh was an important
center of Buddhist learning from 6th to 10th centuries. Known as Shripur in
ancient times, the site was dotted with 100 ancient Hindu Temples and 100
Buddhist Viharas or monasteries. After recent excavations, the village
unearthed a treasure trove of riches including beautiful and intricate
statues, pillars, pottery, coins, viharas and a complete market place.
The ruins of predominant Buddhist monasteries at Sirpur include Anand
Prabhu Kudi Vihar and Swastik Vihar. The major highlight of Anand Prabhu
Kudi Vihar is the six feet tall statue of Buddha touching the earth
installed inside the complex. The recently excavated Swastik Vihar was the
meditation and study complex used by Buddhists. According to the accounts of
Chinese traveller and Buddhist monk, Hiuen Tsang, thousands of students came
to Sirpur to study Buddhism.