May 2005 News

Buddha's Sculpture Traced From Anantnag Village

14 May 2005
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Work at a construction site at Baliyar village in South Kashmir's Ananatnag district came head on with a surprise last week when labourers while digging, found a mini sculpture of Lord Buddha that had escaped from being sited for the last so many years. The workers, who were engaged by a local contractor for constructing a water storage reservoir at Baliyar under a rural development scheme, found something unusual and reported the incident to the contractor. The contractor wasted no time and he informed the Archives, Archeology and Museums Department (AAMD) officials about the discovery. The AAMD deputed a team of experts who carried out excavation works in the area, which revealed a mini sculpture of Buddha dug deep into mud near a spring. The discovery dates back to fourth century of Buddhist period and the archeology experts feel that a long-period survey of the area might yield some more archaeological material. This discovery has made the officials of the AAMD believe that the area has much more in store for them. The department has, therefore, decided to write to the state Government asking for protection of this new Buddhist site, besides allowing further excavation of the area. 'The mini sculpture that we managed to recover consists of remnants of Buddhist Stupa and Buddhist images. The stupa plinth of the sculpture has yet been partially exposed. It is formed of massive lime stone which appears to have been formed brilliantly,' says Mohammed Shafi Zahid, Deputy Director AAMD. Zahid is hopeful that the area has much more to offer as the officials from the AAMD have found some other artifacts from the site. 'We have recovered other artifacts of pottery and the most impressive find was that of a Buddhist deity which is yet to properly identified. The deity is shown seated on lotus designed pedestal with right leg placed down to the base of the pedestal and left leg curved to the right,' he explained. 'As far as the mini sculpture that we recovered is concerned its hands are missing, so the attributes which a Buddhist usually holds are not visible in this figure. The figure is richly crowned and highly polished. Its diademed head is elaborately jeweled. The sculpture in many ways resembles with Pandrethan Buddhist sculptures found way back in 1925,' informed Zahid, who is worried a bit after the local population has come to know about the find. ' I am a bit concerned as we have apprehensions that the local population may try to go for illegal excavation in the area. People have become very conscious about such discoveries, as they believe that such discoveries can fetch a fortune. But still we are not taking any chances as we have sealed the area and have informed other government agencies to keep an eye on the site of excavation,' adds Zahid.


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