Buddhist Edifices

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Ramtirthan is about 16 km north east of Vizianagaram. To the north of the village rise a number of high hills, one of which, known as Gurbhatakonda, has yielded a rich crop of Buddhist edifices. The establishment nestles on a ledge, about 500 ft high from the base, with a vertical cliff of bare rock on the south side and with a deep ravine on the earth. 

Originally inhabited by Buddhist monks, the settlement was later taken over by Jains. The images of the Tirthsankaras of about A.D. 9th century have been discovered in the natural caves formed by the overcharging rocks.   

Bheemunipatnam is most picturesquely situated at the mouth of the Chittivalasa and can be reached by road from Vishakhapatnam. This place first came into prominence as a settlement of the Dutch who built a fort and a factory there in the 17th century. There is a temple dedicated to Narasimha on a hill which is called Narasimha Hill. The St. Anne’s Home run by the sisters of the Italian order here provides rooms and boarding arrangements for their patrons. Near the sea is a round bungalow, a former Raja’s resort, which is available on rent.   

Sankaram is a small village about one and half miles from the travelers’ bungalow at Anakapalli. In this village are the two hills-locally known as Bojjanakonda and Lingalakonda –which   contain one of the most remarkable groups of Buddhist remains in the state? At Sankaram (corruption of Sangharama-a Buddhist settlement), the Hinayana and Mahayana phases are represented by stupas,viharas and chaityas

The main stupa, crowning the hilltop, is very impressive. Of the caves at different levels, four may be regarded as sanctuaries, three containing reliefs of Buddha and the fourth a rock –cut stupa. The most flourishing period of this site was between A.D. 3rd and 4th centuries. 

The Stupa which stood here was bigger than the one at Sanchi. It was in the 2nd century B.C. the outline of its foundations can still be seen. The dome must have been 40 meters wide and 29 meters high: the pradakshiapatha (circumambulatory passage) must have been 15 Ft wide and the railing surrounding it 14 ft high.  


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