Hidden gem: 5th century Buddhist monastery in Hyderabad deserves more attention

Seshacharyulu, 90, a resident of Phanigiri colony, had found a cave whose entrance was sealed by boulders on a hillock near his house in 1982. 

Published: 14th October 2021 08:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2021 09:23 AM   |  A+A-

Buddhist diet

Representational image.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Buddhist influence on Telangana has been of great interest for historians, and archaeological evidence from Buddhist sites like Kondapur in Sangareddy and Phanigiri in Nalgonda enhances the same. Thanks to Komanduru Seshacharyulu, retired principal of Oriental College, who built a temple in the early 1980s; one of the rarest Buddhist sites which could have otherwise been wiped out, has been saved in Chaitanyapuri.

Komanduru Seshacharyulu

Seshacharyulu, 90, a resident of Phanigiri colony, had found a cave whose entrance was sealed by boulders on a hillock near his house in 1982. Out of curiosity, he got the boulders removed, and found the Swayambhu form of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha along with his wife inside the cavern. He built the temple now known as Kosagundla Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, which was later adopted by Yadadri temple authorities, who have been managing it since. 

Seshacharyulu found an inscription on a hundred-foot boulder sheltering the cave. He got his friend PV Parabrahma Sastry, an epigraphist at the State Archaeology Department, to estampage the text written in Brahmi script. It was revealed that during the rule of Govindavarman from Vishnukundi dynasty (398 CE to 435 CE), this site was a Mahavihara (monastery) and was called Pudhagiri, meaning the hood of a snake, now referred to as Phanigiri. 

“The inscription records the gift of a residential stone cell for use of the persons in charge of incense and clothes, attached to Govindaraja Vihara, by a disciple of the great ‘Vitaraga Vasudeva Siridama’ (who is free from attachments). The mention of Pindapatika school explains that the Hinayana sect continued to thrive even in the Vishnukundi period,” explained Dr MA Sreenivasan, an expert on Buddhist sites in Telangana. There was another inscription that was estampaged at the site in 1986-87. Microliths made of material used in Buddhist sites, were found when the temple was constructed.


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