According to Buddhist Scholar E Sivanagi Reddy, the Naga Muchilinda sculpture, which is carved on a Palnadu limestone, is the king of serpents.

3rd-century Buddhist sculpture unearthed in APs GunturImage: By arrangement
news Heritage Friday, December 21, 2018 - 19:40

A Buddhist sculpture of 'Naga Muchulinda', belonging to the third century Theravada and Mahayana, was unearthed in Guntur city in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. The rare sculpture, which highlights the glory of Buddhism in the state, was found at Agasthyeshwara temple in Old Guntur.

Dr E Sivanagi Reddy, a Buddhist Scholar and CEO, The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), along with Subhakar Medasani, Secretary, Amaravati Buddha Vihara, came across the sculpture on the south-west corner of the temple, during their visit to the temple earlier this week.

CCVA has taken up a scheme ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’ to save and archive the rich heritage of the area.

According to Sivanagireddy, the Naga Muchulinda sculpture, which is carved on a Palnadu limestone, is the king of serpents.

Speaking to TNM, Sivanagi Reddy said, “Naga Muchulinda is the one who protected Buddha for four weeks with his hood as the latter was in mediation following his enlightenment.”

According to Sivanagi Reddy, one of the sides of the Naga Muchulinda sculpture was modified to engrave an 11th-century AD Telugu inscription, which records the that some parcels of land were donated to the Agasthyeswara temple.

Earlier, similar heritage was found in areas such as Amaravati, Chandavaram, Ghantasala, Nagarjunakonda, Pedakallepalli and Goli. The Amaravati region in Krishna basin is known for the glorious past of the Buddhist culture.

The sculpture represents the last phase of Amaravati School of Art of the Ikshwaku period.

Sivanagi Reddy asked the officials of the temple and the Department of Archaeology and Museums to protect it by erecting properly with the entire sculpture visible.

He also told TNM that in 2018, CCVA has found as many as 15 rare sculptures of Kakatiya era, Gajapati Rajus era and those belonging to the 10th to 15th century, while few are from 2100 BC period, in Vijayawada-Amaravati region. Earlier in August, the CCVA officials discovered a rare six-feet three-inch tall Buddha sculpture belonging to the 14th century at Eturu village of Krishna district.

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