Phanigiri

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Overview:

Recently, the Department of Archaeology and Museums have unearthed a coin hoard at the Phanigiri in Suryapet district, Telangana.

About Phanigiri

  • It is a famous Buddhist site located 110 km away from Hyderabad.
  • This site derived its name from the shape of the hillock, which appears to be like a snake hood. The word Phani in Sanskrit means snake and Giri means hillock. 
  • It is believed to be one of the important Buddhist monasteries strategically located on the ancient trade route (Dakshinapatha) connecting the west and the east coast of the Deccan.
     

Other findings of the excavation

  • Coins: Lead coins with elephant symbol on one side and Ujjain symbol on the other side are found.
  • According to the archaeologists, the coins belong to the Ikshvaku period dated between 3rd century and 4th century Common Era.
  • Also stone beads, glass beads, shell bangle fragments, stucco motifs, broken limestone sculptures, a wheel of a toy cart, final nails and pottery are excavated.
  • Mahastupa, apsidal Chaityagrihas, Votive stupas, pillared congregation halls, Viharas, platforms with staircases at various levels, octagonal stupa chaitya, 24-pillared mandapam, circular chaitya, and cultural materials that included terracotta beads, semi-precious beads, iron objects, Brahmi label inscriptions and holy relic casket are also excavated.
  • All the cultural material is datable from the 1st century BCE to 4th century CE.

Q1: What is a stupa?

It is a hemispherical or dome-shaped structure that contains relics of the Buddha or other sacred objects. Stupas are a fundamental element of Buddhist architecture and have been built across the Buddhist world for thousands of years.

Source: Telangana | An earthen pot containing 3,730 lead coins from Ikshvaku period unearthed in Phanigiri, Suryapet