Friday, 25 March 2011

Kotilingala Buddhist site: Archaeological treasure unearthed on the banks of the Godavari in Karimnagar district

2011
Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 25: Extensive excavations at Kotilingala in Karimnagar district have established the Buddhist link to this important Telangana village. The villagers had contact with Gautam Buddha and the area flourished between 4th century BC to 2nd century CE.

According to Prof P Chenna Reddy, director of archaeology and museums, the excavations revealed several remains of Buddhapadas, sculptures and chaitya, attesting for the first time that the site was associated with Buddhism.

The archaeological site abutting the river Godavari yielded brick structures, storage jars, pottery, beads made of crystal, semi-precious stones, glass and terracotta, seals made of bone and terracotta, iron implements including knives, revettes, barber knives and nails, and coins issued by Satavahanas kings cast in lead and copper. The site spreads over 100 acres.

"We have unearthed hitherto unknown facets of Telangana history at Kotilingala," Prof Chenna Reddy said.

Kotilingala was an early historic capital city and Buddhist site datable to the period between 4th century BC to 2nd century CE. It was the capital of Asoka Janapada. The people in the village and its neighbourhood had contacts with Magedha during the lifetime of Lord Buddha.

According to historical record, an elderly person by name Bavani, residing at Badanakasthi, a very close village to Kotilingala, sent his disciples to meet Lord Buddha and thus, the Dhamma reached this area.

The entire historic site is located inside a fort with house structures, secular buildings and public utility structures built of bricks of 60x30x8 cms.

"The site bears historical significance as it yielded coins issued by the pre-Satavahana kings, Veni, Samagopa, Gobhada, Narava and Kamavega, dating back to 4th-3rd centuries BC. It also yielded the coins of Chimukha, the founder of the Satavahana dynasty. The early fort at Kotilingala was identified as one of the 30 walled cities possessed  by the Andhras as mentioned by the Greek ambassador Megathanese in his Indica.

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