The ASI will be excavating the Parabhadi hill for Buddhist remains (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@OrissaPOSTLive)
Considering the importance of the historic Parabhadi hill located in Jajpur district of Odisha, the Archaeological Survey of India under the Union Ministry of Culture has decided to excavate the area. This decision will help ASI locate Buddhist remains in the hill while protecting it from illegal stone quarrying and ensuring its conservation.
This hill which is situated close to Lalitgiri is believed to have a structure which is considered a stupa because of its circular appearance and a rock cut sculpture of meditating Buddha. This stupa which is exposed partially is said to be a Buddhist establishment as per Dibishada B. Garnayak, who heads the Bhubaneswar circle of ASI.
Lalitgiri is a major Buddhist complex, housing stupas, images of Buddha and monasteries.
The site to be excavated was found between 1975 and 1985 and it dates back to the time of Lalitgiri that is 2nd Century BC. A number of images of Buddha were found in Sukhuapada village located at the foothills of this hill which are kept in Lalitgiri museum now.
When the stupa on the hill was found since it was located very high and had many stones strewed around it, archaeologists decided not to excavate the area. Later, the State Government decided to mine the place for khondalite stones which were to be used in Puri town renovation resulting in quarrying and setting up of mobile towers causing destruction of ancient remains. Locals protested against this damage.
Apart from the hill, the Ministry also decided to dig up Narahuda village in Khurda district which is believed to have settlement dating back to the Chalcolithic Age of Copper Age. A number of artefacts have been found in this village in the past.