BHUBANESWAR/BHADRAK: Two idols of Lord Buddha have been found from the river bed of Baitarani in Bhadrak district on Monday. Historians believe the idols - a Harsha Mukha Buddha and a Bodhisattva image - may date back to the 7th to 8th century, contemporary to the Ratnagiri monastery site in neighbouring Jajpur.
The idols were found from Mudhapada village, close to the Buddhist site of Solampur panchayat, under Bhandaripokhari block. Pritam Mohanty, a local resident, was lifting sand using a JCB machine from the river bed when the machine hit the stone images. While one of the idols is a smiling face of Buddha, another may be image of Manjusri (a Bodhisattva) or Heruka (a fierce protective deity in Vajrayana Buddhism), said Biswambar Rout, a member of INTACH. He said the second image is not clear as only the top portion of the idol has been found.
Rout, who collected the two idols from Mohanty said both the idols were damaged by 40 per cent during excavation using the JCB machine. The idols have been kept at the local museum, set up by the Culture department. The spot where the images were found is only one km from the ancient Boudha Vihar at Solampur.
Archaeologist and Odishan Institute of Maritime & South East Asian Studies secretary Dr Sunil Kumar Patnaik said Solampur is an urban settlement located on a mound which is replete with Buddhist images. “Such a discovery is not new to the place as it is replete with idols of Buddha and Buddhism. Boudha Vihar near Solampur is very similar to the Ratnagiri site and Ayodhya Buddhist site in Balasore”, he said.