Miniature Stupas of Nalanda

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    • Recently, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered two 1200-year-old  miniature votive stupas.

    More about the news

    • Location:
      • Miniature stupas have been discovered near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district in the state. 
    • About:
      • A Stupa is a hemispherical structure which symbolizes the burial mound of Buddha. It rose to prominence after the advent of Buddhism and peaked during Ashoka’s reign. Stupas evolved as Chorten in Tibet and pagodas in East Asia.
      • Archeologists suggest that the stupas must be around 1200 years old. 
    • Miniature stupa building:
      • Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings.  
      • Votive is the form of the stupa, with its distinctive domelike drum, originating in eight cylindrical structures in which the Buddha’s relics were placed after his death.

    About Nalanda Mahavihara site complex

    • History:
      • Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. 
      • It is considered by historians to be the world’s very first residential university and among the greatest centers of learning in the ancient world.
      • It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. 
    • Establishment:
      • Nalanda was established during the Gupta Empire era and was supported by numerous Indian and Javanese patrons – both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
    • Archaeological remains:
      • The Nalanda Mahavihara site comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. 
      • It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
    • Significance:
      • The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.

    Source: TOI