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10th century sculpture of Buddha discovered in Thanjavur

A headless sculpture of Buddha dating back to 10th century AD was discovered at Manalur village in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu in January 2015.

Feb 2, 2015 18:10 IST
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A headless sculpture of Buddha dating back to 10th century AD was discovered at Manalur village in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu in January 2015.

Both the head and the right hand of the granite statue of Buddha were missing when it was excavated. The findings of Buddha sculptures in and around the area show the existence of a Buddhist temple in Thanjavur.

The three-foot long sculpture of Buddha was discovered by Buddhist scholar B Jambulingam and heritage enthusiast Mani Maaran during their search in the region.

Jambulingam's search for Buddha idols began with an ordinary visit to a remote village in Thanjavur in the 1980s. He has so far identified 67 Buddha idols in Thanjavur, Tiruchi and Pudukottai districts during his field study.

Background
Buddhism came to Tamil Nadu during the 3rd century BC and prevailed in the Chola country up to the 16th century AD.

In Thanjavur, Buddha sculptures were found in various places and the prominent among them are those in Vayyacheri, Cholanmaligai, Kumbakonam, Madagaram, Manganallur, Pattiswaram, Perandakottai and Vikramam.

Of these, only the head of the Buddha were found in Vayyacheri and Perandakottai.

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