Nawalparasi, Jan 23, 2018
Remains of an ancient pond and a Buddhist vihara have been found at the Ramgram Stupa in Nawalparasi district. The stupa houses the astadhatu (the relics) of Lord Gautam Buddha. This is the only complete astadhatu out of eight such remains of the Buddha.
The remnants of the pond and the vihara or monastery related to the life of the Buddha have been traced after carrying out geophysics survey at the Ujjaini Ramgram Stupa area of Ramgram-7, Nawalparasi (Brdaghat Susta West).
The geophysics survey has been carried out at the Ramgram stupa area after a gap of 19 years.
Remnants of the ancient pond measuring 40 meters long and 25 meters wide have been found some meters outside the north-west corner of the Ramgram stupa course of the survey. Similarly, the remains of a 60 meters long and 30 meters wide monastery have also been traced in the vicinity, an archaeologist at the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), Krishna KC said.
A team of experts and archaeologists of the Durham University of UK and the LDT conducted the survey. The geophysics survey has been done to find out the ancient structures including the pond, vihara, and roads that are 1 to 1.5 meters below the ground without harming these remnants and artifacts.
Geophysics survey had been conducted in Lumbini, Kapilvastu and other areas since 2011 in course of the archaeological exploration of the greater Lumbini region. This year the survey has been carried out at Ramgram.
KC said that important discovery has been made from the present survey which will make further archaeological explorations to be carried out in the Ramgram stupa area in the coming days easier.
According to him, this survey helps find out what structures are located in which specific locations in the stupa area.
Before this, a geophysical survey was conducted towards the west of the stupa in 1999 and the Department of Archaeology also carried out an excavation. At that time the excavation works had to be halted as the land in the area belonged to some individuals. But the LDT has purchased these private plots from these individuals and it is hoped the land area would be preserved.
The geophysics survey in the Ramgram stupa area is being carried out by a team led by Prof Duncan of Durham University.
Ancient bricks and relics are found underground in the fields around the Ramgram stupa area.
Locals have demanded that the archaeological remains and relics unearthed from excavations carried out at Ramgram stupa and Panditpur areas should be kept by constructing a museum in the area.
The LDT has stated that it has been paying special attention to the development of Ramgram area. Vice-chair of the LDT, Bhikkhu Maitreya (Awasesh Tiwari) said that LDT has trained its attention for the development of Ramgram and Tilaurakot along with Lumbini during their term in office.
He said an extensive gathering of the people’s representatives and representatives of the stakeholders from the area would be organized to collect suggestions for formulating a master plan of the stupa area.
The LDT vice-chair said he was making vigorous efforts to formulate a plan so as to bring at least 800 thousand out of the 1.5 million tourists who visit Lumbini every year