Archaeologist E Siva Nagi Reddy examining the broken pillars found at a Buddhist site on Bhairava Gutta in Guntur district on Sunday | Express
Archaeologist E Siva Nagi Reddy examining the broken pillars found at a Buddhist site on Bhairava Gutta in Guntur district on Sunday | Express

Buddhist site discovered on hilltop in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh

A new Buddhist site was discovered on a hilltop at a tiny village Putlagudem in Atchampet mandal on Sunday.

GUNTUR: A new Buddhist site was discovered on a hilltop at a tiny village Putlagudem in Atchampet mandal on Sunday. A study team comprising E Siva Nagi Reddy, archaeologist, and CEO of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), Subhakar Medasani, secretary of Vijayawada Buddha Vihara, and Govardhan, member, found the ancient Buddhist site while exploring villages in Atchampet mandal as part of the Preserve Heritage for Posterity campaign.

The team found broken pillars of a Silamandapa in front of a dilapidated Venkateswara temple on the hilltop, which is called Bhairava Gutta. The six limestone pillars bore half lotus medallions on top and bottom.

The carvings of friezes of animals and pattern designs on the pillars resemble Amaravati sculpture.
According to Siva Nagi Reddy, the Buddhist site at Putlagudem dates back to the  1st century AD of Satavahana period. Because of its location on the hilltop, the site belongs to the Seliya sect of Buddhist Sangha.

Some of the Buddhist pillars bearing half lotus medallions were used as door frames of the sanctum sanctorum of Venkateswara temple built on the hilltop some two centuries ago. Some of the pillars were appropriated as beams of the temple Maha Mandapam, which was recently demolished by treasure hunters. A broken Sivalinga and Nandi were also found at the Buddhist site. Siva Nagi Reddy appealed to the Department of Archaeology and Museums to protect and preserve the newly discovered Buddhist site for posterity.

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