Friday, 18 December 2015

Buddhist Vestiges of Sanghol, Punjab

One would not associate Buddhism with Punjab in the current era. But you would be surprised (at least I was) that Buddhism was thriving in Punjab 2100 years ago.

Buddhist Stupa site at Sanghol, Punjab

This is corroborated by the fact that recently (in comparative terms) Stupa and monasteries were unearthed in Sanghol on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway. (Stupa contains relics of a Buddhist teacher.) Sanghol is also called Ucha Pind (high village) as it is situated on a mound. Seven sites in the village were excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from1968 to 1990. Two of these are significantly important which I visited and are called SGL5 and SGL11.

View from the entrance of SGL5 Buddhist Stupa site at Sanghol

The larger site contains the bigger Stupa having three concentric circles with spoke-like radial walls raised on a square platform. It has a diameter of 16 meters on a 17 meter square platform.

Concentric circles placed on a square platform, Sanghol Buddhist Stupa site

The smaller site also has a Stupa but much smaller in size. Both the sites also have Vihara (residences for the monks). What has been excavated is only the base which was mainly below the ground as the super structure was completely destroyed (by man or nature over time). Maybe the ASI should reconstruct at one of the sites to give a feel of the place as it was at that time.

The smaller Stupa at SGL11 Buddhist Stupa site, Sanghol

A rich treasure of 69 pillars and 35 cross bars have been unearthed from Sanghol containing figures of Yakshis and Salabhanjikas (art motifs of the Kushan period). Also found on the site were seals and pottery of the Late Harappan period. These are no longer on the site and have been placed in the Archaeological Museum at Sanghol. As both the sites are out in the open a security fencing around both the places have been put up to prevent encroachment.

The squarish ones were the living quarters of the monks, Buddhist Stupa site SGL11, Sanghol

Teja Singh, an employee of the ASI was kind enough to show me the first site and explain about the place. Not only that - he has a hidden talent of Punjabi folk music – and he enthralled me with the rendition of few folk songs with the accompaniment of Tumba.

Teja Singh with his Tumba
The Tourism Department of Punjab should give more publicity to such a great heritage site.

1 comment:

ayushi jhawar said...
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