Transplanted Monuments at Anupu

Name of the Monument







Transplanted Monuments at Anupu



Andhra Pradesh

3rd-4th  century C.E


The Buddhist remains of Nagarjunakonda was originally notified as the Hill of Nagarjunakonda with the ancient remains, Pullareddigudem (Agraharam) and Sculptures, carvings, images, bas-relief on the ancient mound, Pullareddigudem. Pullareddigudem was the revenue village under which the site was situated. All these are now submerged under the Nagarjunasagar reservoir. But some of the excavated structures were reconstructed on the hilltop and at Anupu.

            Nagarjunakonda is one of the most important Buddhist sites of Andhra and traditionally associated with the celebrated Acharya Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamika School of Mahayanism. The site with rich archaeological vestiges was brought to light by one A. R. Saraswati, Telugu Assistant of Epigraphy Branch, ASI in 1926. Thereafter, the Buddhist vestiges made ASI to undertake three excavation in three spells under the direction of A. H. Longhurst (1927-1931), T. N. Ramachandran (1938) and B. R. Subrahmanyam (1954- 1960). The last effort was a gigantic salvage operation as the valley was submerged under the waters of Nagarjunasagar reservoir. The excavation not only yielded plethora of Buddhist vestiges but also brought to light significant remains of Palaeolithic phase, Neolithic phase, Iron Age and several important Brahmanical temples and structures.     The monument described hereunder were excavated during the above operation and reconstructed on the elevated hill top and at Anupu. All the sculptures and other antiquities found during the excavation are now preserved in the site museum. 

            The city which once stood in the valley was called Vijayapuri, the capital of the southern line of the Ikshvaku Kings (210-260 C.E). They rose into prominence after the fall of the imperial the Satavahanas. They patronised Buddhism and the Brahmanical sects as well.

Bathing ghat: To the west of the Pushpabhadraswami temple and in between it and the Kartikeya temple, was the bathing ghat constructed on the riverbank. There are steps arranged in a unique fashion and balustrades. The entire ghat has been cased with Cuddapah slabs having label inscriptions like ‘ASALA’ and ‘VENISIRI’ and also masons marks like “Bow-and-Arrow” on them.

Megalith: – This is a cist burial representing the method of disposal of the dead in the pre-Christian era.  It is marked on the ground by unworked boulders arranged in a circle.           

Mahastupa: – This is the earliest dated structure at Nagarjunakonda built during the sixth regnal year of Ikshvaku king Sri Virapurushadatta. It received continued munificence from Chamtasri, sister of Vasishthiputra Chamtamula, although the actual construction was done under the supervision of Reverend Ananda. Essentially this is a saririka (corporeal) stupa, wherein the corporeal remains of Buddha was interred. The stupa is wheel shaped on plan having a diameter of about 27.5 meters, with Ayaka platforms surmounted by ayaka pillars at the four cardinal directions. 

Bodhisiri chaitya: – This was situated on the hillock called Sriparvata in the inscriptions and to the east of Vijayapuri in the Chula Dhammagiri, (Vihara) Convent. The Chaitya was built for one Bodhisiri, a lay female member, during the 14th regnal year of king Virapurushadatta of the Ikshvaku line (3rd century C.E).  It was dedicated to the fraternities of Simhala monks who are stated to have converted the people of Kashmir, Gandhara, China, Chilata (Kirata), Tosali, Avaramta (Amparamta), Vanga, Vanavasa, Yavana, Damila (Tamil), Tambapamni (Ceylon) in to Buddhism. The main purpose for building this Chaitya was to share the merit of her pious deeds by her relatives.

Amphitheatre: – On the contours of the hill, Phirangulabodu and at its lower levels is situated the Amphitheater (Auditorium). It is a quadrangular stadium measuring about 17 m x 14 m, brick built tiered gallery, veneered with Cuddapah slabs. A rare feature connected with this is its fine acoustics, which the architect has succeeded in achieving by utilizing the slope of the adjoining hill.          

Hariti temple: – At its original location, the temple of Hariti was raised over a artificially raised hill consisting of structures of Ikshvaku period.  In the middle shrine flanked by two bigger shrines was an image of a goddess in limestone, seated with her legs hanging down and her torso missing. The decorative features of the image would indicate date of the fourth or fifth century C.E., as the possible date of the temple.  An inscribed pillar was found in this area referring to the putting up of a perpetual lamp (akhya-nivi) on the occasion of some festival (utsava).