Bhubaneswar: Buddhism – world’s fourth largest religion – was not only popular in coastal parts of Odisha, but also was extended in interior parts of the state, revealed Bhubaneswar circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) following latest discovery of dented Buddhist sculptures at Jharhiamba village near Talcher in Angul district.
The Buddhists were residing in the districts — Angul, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar — apart from Jajpur and Khordha districts, claimed Excavation wing 4 of ASI’s Bhubaneswar circle.
It came to fore after recent findings of ASI at Jharhiamba village.
A 14-member team of ASI along with more than 40 locals had started excavation from Nov 3 in the village to trace clue about Buddhist sculptures in the area.
After excavating 1.5 ft deep, the team found a Buddha stupa and many idols of lord Buddha. Many idols of Lord Buddha in meditation position were unearthed during the excavation.
The findings made it clear that the Buddhism was spread in Angul district with an urban civilization where locals were residing like city people.
A research was made on existence of Buddhist sculptures in the area and based on the hypothesis the ASI team carried out excavation work, which has been completed now. The picture is now before everyone after excavation that people of interior parts of Odisha like the districts — Cuttack, Khordha and Jajpur — were believing in Buddhism and worshipping the idols of Lord Budhha, said Dibishada B Garnayak, Superintending Archaeologist of Excavation branch at ASI Bhubaneswar.
Earlier, a team of ASI had discovered Buddhist sculptures including various idols of Lord Buddha and stupas on the banks of Brahmani River in July this year.