Thotlakonda

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Thotlakonda

Senagiri
Protected Buddhist Monument
Mahastupa in Thotlakonda, Visakhapatnam (2).jpg
Maha Stupa at Thotlakonda
Location map India Andhra Pradesh EN.svg
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Thotlakonda
Location in Andhra Pradesh, India
Coordinates: 17°49′35″N83°24′34″E / 17.82639°N 83.40944°E / 17.82639; 83.40944 Coordinates: 17°49′35″N83°24′34″E / 17.82639°N 83.40944°E / 17.82639; 83.40944
CountryFlag of India.svg  India
State Andhra Pradesh
District Visakhapatnam
Languages
  Official Telugu
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
Nearest city Visakhapatnam

Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex is situated on a hill near Bheemunipatnam about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India. The hill is about 128 metres (420 ft) above sea level and overlooks the sea. The Telugu name Toṭlakoṇḍa derived from the presence of a number of rock-cut cisterns hewn into the bedrock of the hillock.

Bheemunipatnam Place in Andhra Pradesh, India

Bheemunipatnam, is a suburb in the city of Visakhapatnam, India. The town was named after Bhima a character in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Bheemunipatnam municipality. It is under the administration of Visakhapatnam revenue division and the headquarters is located at Bheemunipatnam.

Visakhapatnam Metropolis in Andhra Pradesh, India

Visakhapatnam and Waltair ) is the largest city and the financial capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district and state headquarters of Indian Coast Guard. Its geographical location is amidst the Eastern Ghats and the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is the most populous city in the state with a population of 2,035,922 as of 2011, making it the 14th-largest city in the country. It is also the ninth-most populous metropolitan area in India with a population of 5,018,000. With an output of $43.5.billion, Visakhapatnam is the ninth-largest contributor to India's overall gross domestic product as of 2016.

Andhra Pradesh State in southern India

Andhra Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India. Situated in the south-east of the country, it is the seventh-largest state in India, covering an area of 160,205 km2 (61,855 sq mi). As per the 2011 census, it is the tenth-most populous state, with 49,386,799 inhabitants. The largest city in Andhra Pradesh is Visakhapatnam. Telugu, one of the classical languages of India, is the major and official language of Andhra Pradesh.

Thotlakonda was well within the influence of ancient Kalinga, which was an important source of dissemination of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and various parts of Southeast Asia. It provides an insight into the process of transoceanic diffusion of Indic culture, especially Buddhism.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognised by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

Southeast Asia Subregion of Asia

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China and Japan, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. The region is the only part of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere, although the majority of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

  1. Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising parts of Northeast India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and West Malaysia.
  2. Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as Nusantara, the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, comprises the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

A hill on the sea coast with salubrious climate was an ideal attraction for the Buddhist monks to build a monastery complex here. The placid sea sheltered by the deeply in curved coastline here, provided a safe haven for anchoring ships.

Monastery complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monks or nuns

A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.

Thotlakonda came to light during an aerial survey by the Indian Navy for setting up a naval base. After its discovery, major excavations have been conducted by the Andhra Pradesh State Archaeology Department during from 1988 to 1993. The excavations established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex which flourished 2000 years ago. To the south of the complex there is a tank which served as a water source to the inhabitants of the monastery.

Indian Navy maritime warfare branch of Indias military

The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy.

Hinayana sect of Buddhism

"Hīnayāna" is a Sanskrit term literally meaning the "small/deficient vehicle". Classical Chinese and Tibetan teachers translate it as "smaller vehicle". The term was applied to the Śrāvakayāna, the Buddhist path followed by a śrāvaka who wished to become an arhat. This term appeared around the first or second century. Hīnayāna was often contrasted with Mahāyāna, which means the "great vehicle".

The excavations reveal Satavahana dynasty lead and Roman silver coins indicating foreign trade; terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, miniature stupa models in stone, and Buddha footprints were also found. The excavations also yielded twelve inscriptions in the Brahmi script. From polygraphic studies, it appears that the hill might have been known as Senagiri; Sena in Pali means "elder, superior".

Satavahana dynasty Royal Indian dynasty

The Satavahanas, also referred to as the Andhras in the Puranas, were an ancient Indian dynasty based in the Deccan region. Most modern scholars believe that the Satavahana rule began in the first century BCE and lasted until the second century CE, although some assign the beginning of their rule to as early as the 3rd century BCE based on the Puranas, but uncorroborated by archaeological evidence. The Satavahana kingdom mainly comprised the present-day Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. At different times, their rule extended to parts of modern Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka. The dynasty had different capital cities at different times, including Pratishthana (Paithan) and Amaravati (Dharanikota).

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Terracotta clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic

Terracotta, terra cotta or terra-cotta, a type of earthenware, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. Terracotta is the term normally used for sculpture made in earthenware, and also for various practical uses including vessels, water and waste water pipes, roofing tiles, bricks, and surface embellishment in building construction. The term is also used to refer to the natural brownish orange color of most terracotta, which varies considerably.

Thotlakonda's peak activity was between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE owing to brisk Roman trade and religious missions sent abroad. Thotlakonda came into existence along with nearby sites in Visakhapatnam like Bavikonda and Pavurallakonda. The lofty stupas shining during the day, with their light lime plaster and with rows of wick lamps during nights, might have served as guiding landmarks of nautical commuters. There appears to have been no royal patronage for this monastery. However traders and local believers seem to have supported the complex. In its heyday, Thotlakonda might have accommodated more than 100 bhikkhus.

Bavikonda Protected Buddhist monument complex in Andhra Pradesh, India

Bavikonda Buddhist Complex lies about 16 km from Visakhapatnam, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, on a hill about 130 metres above mean sea level. The term Bavikonda in Telugu means a hill of wells. As per its name, Bavikonda is a hill which has wells for the collection of rainwater. Bavikonda Monastery dates back to the 3rd century BCE.

Pavurallakonda Protected Buddhist Monument in Andhra Pradesh, India

Pavurallakonda or Pavurallabodu is the local name of a hill, popularly known as Narasimhaswamy Konda, near Bheemunipatnam about 25 km towards north of Visakhapatnam, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located at a height of about 150 meters above mean sea level.

Bhikkhu male Buddhist monk

A bhikkhu is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics are members of the Buddhist community.

The complex had arrangements for storing food, clothing, medicines and served as a religious cum academic centre. Nikaya Buddhism appears to have been practiced here, including the worship of Gautama Buddha through symbols such as padukas and other material remains rather than using human representation.

Thotlakonda had declined by the end of the 3rd century.

Thotlakonda Monastic Complex Panoramic view Thotlakonda Monastic Complex Panoramic view AP.JPG
Thotlakonda Monastic Complex Panoramic view

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