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Hill Of The Buddha, Bojjannakonda

Locally called as Bojjannakonda, Sankaram is located about 40kms to the south of Vizag. Sankaram is another Buddhist site near Vizag. The three phases of Buddhism - Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana flourished here. Many relics were found here including a Maha Stupa that yielded a relic casket, 3 chaitya halls, votive platforms, sculptures, gold coin belonging to Samudragupta dating to 4th century 


Bojjannakonda, by K K Kishore

Bojjannakonda


 


Bojjannakonda, by K K Kishore

 


This is the eastern hill covered with a large group of monolithic stupas surrounding the rock-cut platforms of the Maha stupa The dome of the stupa is found constructed of brick.


Groups of rock-cut and brick stupas and small chaityas surround this stupa. In two of the brick stupas, stone relic caskets in the form of miniature stupas were found. There is also a stone <Linga being the name locally applied to the stupa>.An Image of the Goddess Hariti is found at the foot of the hill as per the archaeological sources.


In all, on this hill <Bojjannakonda>, there are six rock-cut caves of which some have sculptured panels. In general, each panel consists of a seated Buddha and attendants. There are also Terraced Chaitya Griha's present towards North of the Maha Stupa. These form the monastery for the Buddhist monks.


Lingalakonda


 


 


Bojjannakonda, by K K Kishore

 


The western hill is known as Lingalakonda is covered with a large number of rock-cut small stupas form the shape of a ridge. Numerous antiquities were recovered during the excavations conducted by Mr. Alexander Rea in 1907-08 on both the hills.


During Excavations from this area pottery, coins of gold, copper and lead; seals, terracotta inscribed tablets, terracotta beads, and terracotta figures, One gold coin, Some copper coins and only one lead coin were recovered as per the archaeological sources.


As Buddhism began to spread, many learning centres and aramas for the monks were set up in various regions. They can also be seen at Thotlakonda, Bavikonda, Pavurallakonda around Vishakhapatnam. They all flourished around 3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE, but then gradually faded out, probably due to the revival of Hinduism.


Buddhist monks used to worship on the hill 2,000 years ago. It was originally known as Buddhuni konda (hill of the Buddha) but it came to be known as ‘Bojjannakonda' in course of time. Vaisakha Pournami is also celebrated ona large scale here at Bojjannakonda.


The Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage has already appealed to the authorities to ensure better protection of Buddhist sites by taking up the declaration of Bavikonda, Thotlakonda, Pavurallakonda and Bojjannakonda as heritage sites by UNESCO. This will not only pave the way for steady flow of funds but also generate employment opportunities for the locals.