1,300-year-old Buddhist stupa found

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    1724

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    • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found a 1,300-year-old stupa in the middle of a mining site in Odisha’s Jajpur district from where Khondalite stones were excavated for the project around the Jagannath Temple in Puri.

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    • The stupa could be 4.5 meters tall and initial assessment showed it may belong to the 7th or 8th century.
    • The newly discovered stupa was possibly disfigured in an earlier period. The ASI would now attempt to fully retrieve the structure’s archaeological heritage, restore it to its original form and undertake the protection of the site.

    Khondalite Stones

    • Khondalite is a foliated metamorphic rock. In India, it is also called Bezwada Gneiss and Kailasa Gneiss. It was named after the Khond tribe of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh because well-formed examples of the rock were found in the inhabited hills of these regions of eastern India.
    • Khondalite stones were supplied for the beautification project around the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
    • Khondalite stones were widely used in ancient temple complexes, all the heritage projects in Puri will be developed by using the Khondalite stones to maintain the Kalinga architectural style.

    Stupas in Buddhism

    • Stupa is a commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons.
    • It is a hemispherical structure, with a spire at the top, sometimes situated on a base that varies in shape and size.
    • Buddhist stupas were originally built to house the earthly remains of the historical Buddha and his associates and are almost invariably found at sites sacred to Buddhism. 
    • The Great Stupa at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, is the most famous and best-preserved early stupa in India.
    • Types of stupas: Stupas are classified based on form and function into five types:
      • Relic stupa: Relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples, and lay saints are buried.
      • Object stupa: Objects belonged to the Buddha or his disciples, such as a begging bowl or robe, or important Buddhist scriptures.
      • Commemorative stupa: Built to commemorate events in the lives of Buddha or his disciples.
      • Symbolic stupa: To symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology.
      • Votive stupa: Constructed to commemorate visits or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.

    Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

    • ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation under the Ministry of Culture. 
    • Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. 
    • It regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, of 1958. It also regulates the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, of 1972.

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