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A Key Buddhist Settlement of Telangana

Buddhism, an ancient religion has flourished in South and South East Asia, several centuries ago. Telangana is a blessed land that has witnessed ancient Buddhist and Jain settlements, marked by different settlements and sites in the state. A Buddhist Stupa locally termed as Viratrajgadde or Erradibba is located in between Nelakondapalli and Mujjigudem villages.

Excavations brought to light a Mahastupa, Monastic complex and other objects such as miniature Votive Stupa, a Bronze icon of Avalokitesvara, Idols of Buddha besides Pottery, Beads and Bangles and Coins of Ikshvaku and Vishnukundini periods dating back to 3rd – 4th Century CE.

The plan of the Stupa consists of a series of concentric circular walls of brick, cut across by radiating spokes starting from the massive central hub of 36 ft in diameter. The main components are lower pradakshinapatha, circular drum (vedica) with ayaka platforms and a dome. The total diameter of the Stupa is 170 ft. and its present height is 46 ft while the conjectural total height is around 54 ft. The dimensions of the bricks used for the Stupa is 50 x 25 x 7.5 cms.

The excavations also unearthed a Vihara complex which is located nearby to the Mahastupa. This is a Chatusshala type of Vihara complex which has hundred cells and a spacious cultural courtyard, while the foundations of the Vihara has an entrance on the eastern side.

How to Reach

Nelakondapalli is a town and mandal headquarters in Khammam district, Telangana, located about 21 km from Khammam. It is well-accessible by road.

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