70-ft Buddha statue to adorn tourist project in Ghantasala.

Why in News?

The Government of A.P is planning to develop Ghantasala village in Krishna district as one of the prime Buddhist tourist spots in the State, decks have been cleared for construction of 1.5-crore project.

Facts (For Prelims):

  • The new facility will be themed on Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha.
  • A two-storied structure in Buddhist architecture resembling a pedestal with a 100-ft wide and 70-ft high Buddha in Mahaparinirvana posture will be a major highlight.
  • On top of the two-storey structure will be an imposing statue of the reclining Buddha. This is a major iconographic and statuary pattern of Buddhism.
  • It represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the Mahaparinirvana. It shows Buddha lying on the right flank, his head resting on a cushion or on his right elbow, supporting his head with his hand.
  • This pattern seems to have emerged at the same time as other representations of the Buddha in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.
  • The two floors will house a Buddhist library, a meditation centre, an auditorium for spiritual classes, an exhibition hall for digital replicas of the Buddhist antiques exhibited in the Paris museum and monasteries.
  •  Ghantasala is one of the historical and prominent Buddhist sites in Krishna district and it would be developed as a tourist spot.  A giant statue of Gautam Buddha would be installed as part of the development works.

 

Analysis (For Mains)

Historical Aspects:

  • In Buddhism, Mahaparinirvana means the ultimate state — everlasting, highest peace and happiness — entered by an Awakened Being (Buddha).
  • Ghantasala, known as Katakasila in the ancient times, was a renowned Buddhist centre located near the coast. Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, had made a specific mention of an emporium of Kontakossyla in the region of Misolia (present Machilipatnam).
  • The maha stupa was once encased with well decorated sculptured slabs like that of Amravati and had an ornate railing also. Initially, the archaeological significance of Ghantasala was reported by Boswel in 1870-71 and the site was subsequently subjected to excavations by Alexander Rea which brought out the stupa architecture in detail.

About Buddhism:

Buddhism originated in Ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, from where it spread through much of Asia, where after it declined in India during the middle Ages. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: “The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana (Sanskrit: “The Great Vehicle”). Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion, with over 500 million followers or 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists.

What is Mahaparinirvana?

The Buddhist term, “Mahaparinirvana”, meaning “great, complete Nirvana” is also encountered. The word “Mahaparinirvana” usually refers to the ultimate state of Nirvana (everlasting, highest peace and happiness) entered by an Awakened Being (Buddha) or “arhat” at the moment of physical death, when the mundane skandhas (constituent elements of the ordinary body and mind) are shed and only the Buddhic skandhas remain.

 

Source: The Hindu.