Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nagarjuna Sagar Lakes - in search of Nagarjunakonda

Tour date: 19th September 2012

One of the attraction that can be found in Nagarjuna Sagar area is the ruin ancient of Nagarjunakonda. My mind was set to eyewitness the hemispherical stupa, Bodhishtri Chatya and a giant size standing Buddha in Nagarjunakonda. However, Phani was not too familiar with the area though we both tried very hard to locate for any access point to go there. While searching, we discovered a beautiful lake which are used by the locals for picnic. I thought of sharing those beautiful photos I snapped in here.

Cooling shade away from a hot weather sun

Lakes view from a far distance

Nagarjunakonda or Nagarjuna Hill is seated on the banks of Krishna river, was named after Nagarjuna Acharya, the 2nd century Buddhist theologian and founder of an influential school of philosophy. It was once a sophisticated Buddhist settlement with large monasteries and stupas, wide roads and public baths. The powerful Ikshvaku kings established and flourished the area in the 3rd and 4th centuries, under his rule. It's reminded me of the similar Buddhist monasteries flourished under King Ashoka reign in "Taxila" of northern ancient India (now in Pakistan). 

Thereafter, Nagarjunakonda was ruled by a succession of dynasties, culminating with the Vijayanagar rulers who built a fort around the Buddhist ruins. It was abandoned after the decline of the Vijayanagar empire and rediscovered only in between 1954 and 1961. In the early 1960s, when the huge "Nagarjuna Sagar Dam" was constructed across the Krishna river, a number of these rediscovered ancient Buddhist settlements were threatened with submersion. It was being salvaged and reconstructed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Today, most of the hill and the secluded valley in which these settlements once stood, have been submerged by the waters of the Nagarjuna Sagar lake. Only the top of the hill, where the rescued remains have been reassembled juts out like an island. The island is accessible by locals operated boats which leave regularly from the small village of Vijayapuri, on the banks of the lake. Later, we found the access but since it was way past noon time and it takes about easily 4 hours for return rides plus sightseeing, I decided to headed back thinking that I would go back 1 day. I never did and I would not think that I will ever been to these place anymore.

I was told that on arriving at the island, the path from the jetty leads first to the Simha Vihara, a stupa built on a high platform with a pair of chaitya grihas (prayer halls) adjoining it. 1 of the chaitya grihas houses a second stupa, the other enshrines a monumental sculpture of the Standing Buddha. There are a stone megalith near the citadel wall of 2000 years old, conceals a simple burial chamber that once contained 4 skulls. You may find an Archaeological museum to the east houses most of the Buddhist sculptures collected from the ruins monasteries. For those who might have come to visit the dam, should choose to spend 4 hours extra by taking a beautiful boat rides of the surrounded lake to witness the treasured island.

As for me, I had my share of the cakes by spending some times with the bless locals children swimming freely in the nearby lakes. The time I was standing there, was a peace of moment that till now is too priceless to mention. It was a treasure in my own language.

Post a Comment