4-ft Buddha idol unearthed

Kendrapara: Chance-discovery of a four-foot Buddha idol from a rock-cut cave of a hillock that demarcates Kendrapara and Jajpur districts shows the rich Buddhist heritage legacy of this region.

Researchers on Wednesday said they stumbled upon the idol firmly ensconced inside the cave of Parabhadi hillock near Derabish block of Kendrapara district recently.

The Buddha idol under mistaken identity of a Hindu divinity is being worshipped by local migrant tribal settlers living along the fringe of the hillock.

"The enchanting rock-cut idol of Buddha in Dhyana mudra or meditative posture facing southward was found on a rectangular piece of rock inside the square-sized cave of 18 foot length and width," said Harish Chandra Prusty, researcher and principal of government-run Derabish college near here.

Lord Buddha wearing divine look is seated on lotus petals with meditative postures. The rock-cut idol resembles the ones unearthed and preserved in Buddhist heritage sites of Udaygiri and Langudi in Jajpur district, he said.

The idol establishing the rich Buddhist legacy of the place has turned into the presiding deity of tribal settlers.

The chance discovery of the idol is not far away from famous Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri Buddhist heritage sites now protected by Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI). There are numerous sites in both Kendrapara and Jajpur district which have immense treasures of Buddhist heritage and legacy.

But these places are still lying unexplored.

The idol found in rock-cut cave might be dating back to 9th Century AD when Somavamshi dynasty ruled the then Kalingan Empire. Buddhism flourished under Bhaumakaras and Somvamshis during 7th to 9th Century AD. With disintegration of these dynasties, Buddhism declined. But rich archaeological wealth of its culture are intact, said former superintendent, State Archaeology Department, Bijoy Kumar Rath.