NagarjunaKonda is one of the important tourist attractions of Andhra Pradesh, located about 150 kms. southeast of Hyderabad on the Krishna River. Nagarjunakonda was one of the largest and most important Buddhist centres in southern India from the 2nd century BC until 3rd century AD. and was earlier known as Vijayapuri. It was the venue of many a congregation of monks and scholars. Nagarjuna the great Buddhist scholar is said to have founded the University here.
Excavations at Nagarjunakonda revealed the Mahachaitya, the most sacred of the stupas. An inscription in Bramhi characters states that the sacred relics of Lord Buddha lie within the Mahachaitya. The ruins of a university, vihara, monasteries and an ‘Aswamedha’ sacrificial alter from Paleolithic and Neolithic times were also discovered here.
The great stupa at Nagarjunakonda belongs to the class of uncased stupas, its brickwork being plastered over and the stupa decorated by a large garland-ornament. The Ikshvaku Princess Chamtisiri in the third century renovated the original stupa.
It houses excavated material from early stone ages to medieval period including beautiful stone sculptures, inscriptions, relic caskets, jewels etc, library.
The prehistoric findings include the tools from Palaeolithic and Neolithic times. There are many artifacts on display like Stone Age picks, hoes, hammers and spears.
Coins and coin moulds belonging to the local rulers like Satavahanas are also on display. There are fine and attractive sculptures of large voluptuous women and also of Jataka stories on long slabs. The museum at NagarjunaKonda has a model of the now submerged valley and the environs.
This site is one of the richest sources of Buddhist narrative sculpture discovered in India during the 12th century. Nagrjunakonda, as a result of extensive excavations, has revealed a large number of viharas and chaitya halls, through which the typical plans and constructional details of these structures can be well studied. It was discovered in 1925.
The excavated remains are outstanding examples of white marble carvings and sculptures depicting the life of the Buddha.
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