Named after Nagarjuna, a master of Mahayana Buddhism in South India, the
historical hill called Nagarjunakonda
served as the hub of
Buddhists. One of Indias richest Buddhist sites, Nagarjunakonda hosts
the relics of many Buddhist universities and monasteries which attracted
students from China, Gandhara, Bengal and Sri Lanka in ancient times.
Presently what constitutes of Nagarjunakonda is a restored Buddhist site on
an island which symbolizes a lost civilization that flourished thousand
Excavations till date have yielded 30 Buddhist monasteries, throwing a
light on the strong foothold of Buddhism in the city. Others include Maha
Chaitya, Viharas, Buddha statues, relics, stone images, Jataka tales
encrypted panels and other items of Buddhist origin.
Excavations carried out at Chandavaram, the ancient Buddhist heritage site
have revealed the Mahastupa built on terraced platform, Chaityagriha votive
stupas, drum slabs and Brahmi label inscriptions.
Surrounded by the recently excavated remains of the Buddhist heritage
including a Buddhist University, Amphitheatre, Viharas and Chaityas; Anupa
forms the part of Buddhist circuit in Andhra Pradesh.
Located on the top of the Mangamaripeta Hill, Thotlakonda
an important information exchange spot for Buddhist culture between India,
Sri Lanka and other parts of south-east Asia. About 16 km from the port city
of Vishakhapatnam, the site hosts a Buddhist Complex featuring a Hinayana
monastery, Mahastupa, 16 votive stupas, a stone pillared congregation hall,
apsidal chaitya grihas and10 viharas. The excavations, over a period of 5
years, have revealed other important Buddhist remains including 12 Brahmi
inscriptions, sculpted panels, miniature stupa models in stone and Buddha
padukas - foot imprints with ashthamangal symbols. At present, the statue of
meditating Buddha adorns the Buddhist site - Thotlakonda.
Another Buddhist heritage site around Vishakhapatnam, Bavikonda Hill
unearthed the relics of a Buddhist complex comprising of 26 structures
including a Mahachaitya, large vihara complex, numerous votive stupas, rock
cut caves, a stone pillared congregation hall, rectangular halls and a
refectory during excavations. Evidences showcase that all three branches of
Buddhism - Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana flourished here.
A piece of bone stored in a pot believed to be the mortal remains of Lord
Buddha was discovered during excavations. Counted amongst one of the oldest
and most revered Buddhist sites in Asia, Bavikonda traces the history of the
religion back in time that once existed in the southern part of India.
Anciently known as Pratipalapura, Bhattiprolu
flourished as a
Buddhist town during the rule of Sala Kingdom in present day Guntur
District. Revered for its ancient Buddha stupa locally famous as Chinna
Lanja Dibba / Vikramarka Kota Dibba,
the site also justifies the
linguistic evidence that Telugu, the state language of Andhra Pradesh,
derives its origins from Brahmi script.
Excavations of Bhattiprolu were undertaken by Alexander Rea in 19th century
where three mounds featuring three inscribed stone relic caskets, relics of
Buddha and jewels were discovered. The significant discovery of the site
includes the Mahachaitya Stupa, crystal relic casket and several images of
, an important Buddhist site features the ancient relics of
rock stupas covered with bricks, rock-cut caves, early historic pottery,
brick-built structural edifices and Satavahana coins that date back to the
1st century AD. Close to Sankaram, another heritage site of Bojjannakonda
is located where one can experience close connection with the life of Buddha
through rock carvings on the façade of the caves.
features hundreds of rock cut monolithic stupas in
rows, spread throughout the hill. Other Buddhist attractions here include
relic casket, three chaitya halls, votive platforms, stupas and Vajrayana
sculptures. Present Vihara remains portray the development of three schools
of Buddhism including Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
near Vijaywada are the one of the finest rock cut
architecture caves in India. Carved out of solid sandstone on a hillside,
the main cave section includes primitive rock monastery cells along with
other caves featuring deities like Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The first floor
of this relic still retains style of Buddhist vihara along with some
town serves as a rare and important center for Buddhist
sculptures. 19th Century excavations of the site unfurled carved limestone
columns and pillared halls associated with Buddhist monastic establishments.
Along with this, the ruined Maha Chaitya Stupa with circumference of 112
feet and 23 feet high here consists of a solid brick cube in the centre,
inscribed with 12 zodiac constellations. At present, the site has its own
museum containing important Buddhist stupa and sculptural slabs found during
the recent excavations. Adurru
near Ghantasala also hosts a
Mahastupa measuring 17 feet in diameter.
Gudiwada town near Vijaywada also hosts relics based on Buddhist and Jain
beliefs. Around 99 low mounds with remnants of Buddhist Stupas were
, the village is famous as a Buddhist remnant site
featuring a number of Buddhist stupas and a huge monastery complex. Located
on a hillock amidst scenic surroundings, Salihundam has the treasures of a
Chaityagriha, structural temples and a number of sculptures showcasing the
relics of three different Buddhism phases - Theravada, Mahayana and
in Khammam district is a remnant example Buddhist
site belonging to Ikshvakus -Vishnukundin times. The excavations brought to
light a number of huge standing Buddha images, Vishnukundin coins, Vlharas,
mahachaitya, votive stupas, terracotta figurines, early historic pottery and
bronze image of Buddha. This site probably served as a link between coastal
and Telangana areas for traders and also to Buddhist monks. Basing on the
archaeological evidences, the site belongs to the period between 3rd and 5th
The Buddhist connection with Dantapuram
site is evident through the
extracted excavations. Often referred to as Dhantavaktruni Kota
Buddhist literature, the site has revealed four brick votive stupas along
with various antiquities like beads of Terracotta, semi precious stone
beads, ornaments and different coloured potteries. Evidences even showcase
that the site served as a cultural and religious exchange zone for Buddhism.
The excavation relics at Pavuralakonda
have exposed the proof of
hosting a major ancient Buddhist settlement and human habitation. Sixteen
rock-cut cisterns used for rainwater preservation also adorn the hillock and
provide a panoramic view of the coastline.
Located on the hill top, the recently excavated Phanigiri
showcases a massive Buddhist complex featuring a large Stupa, two apsidal
halls with stupas in it, three Viharas as dwelling of monks. The remains of
this complex stand on the top of a table hill shaped as snake hood, through
which the site got its name - Phanigiri.
Recently excavated relics of Gopalapatnam
present the entire
Buddhist village which dwelled on the Budhikonda Hill range. The entire
village is dotted with stone veneered, brick built and votive stupas,
viharas and other Buddhist imprints.
near Vishakhapatnam is a 2000 year old Buddhist
heritage spot famous for Rock cut Lord Buddha Statue. Also, the site is
known to have yielded ancient statues of Buddha in various postures,
enchanting stupas and other Buddhism related structures like meeting halls.
Even different varieties of bricks used in the construction during the
Buddhist period were discovered from the site.
The black hill - Durga konda near Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram
features remains of a Buddhist Monastic complex and Rock-cut caves.