Monastery that spread Buddhism abroad

HYDERABAD: The Buddhist site Thotlakonda got its name because of the rock-cut throughs found there in a large number. The place was part of Kalinga from where Buddhism spread to Srilanka and S

Published: 24th January 2012 03:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:21 PM   |  A+A-

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The road leading to Buddhist site atop Thotlakonda hill in Visakhapatnam district.

HYDERABAD: The Buddhist site Thotlakonda got its name because of the rock-cut throughs found there in a large number. The place was part of Kalinga from where Buddhism spread to Srilanka and Southeast Asia.

The hill close to the sea offers an ideal place for monks to live and pray.

Thotlakonda flourished alongside other Buddhist centres in the region— Bojjannakonda, Bavikonda and Pavuralakonda.

It enjoyed the patronage of traders and Buddhist communities in the area.

The monastery was estimated to have over 100 monks living there.

It has living quarters and also storage rooms for food and medicine.

Experts say it also doubled up as an academic centre.

Excavations at the site brought to light a Hinayana Buddhist complex dating back to 2000 years ago.

Also found were 12 inscriptions in Brahmi script.

Scholars opine that the hill was probably called Senagiri then (sena means superior in Pali language).

The monastery was in limelight from 200 BC to 200 AD, when there was active trade with the Roman empire from Kalinga region.

Many missions were sent to other countries during that period to spread the teachings of Buddha.

Under Hinayana, Buddha was worshipped through symbols, but not in the human form.

From 300 AD, Thotlakonda started losing its importance following revival of Hinduism.

India’s sea trade too started declining around the same time.

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