Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Buddhist site on the top of a hill in Putlagudem of Achampet mandal in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is being held that the site dates back to the 1st century. It was found during the exploration of villages in Achampet that was being done as a part of the Preserve Heritage for Posterity campaign.
The site was discovered by a study team of archaeologists comprising E Siva Nagi Reddy, archaeologist, and CEO of The Cultural Center of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), Subhakar Medasani, secretary of Vijayawada Buddha Vihara, and Govardhan, member.
The site that is locally known as Bhairava Gutta on the top of the hill had a Venkateswara Temple that was built around 200 years ago. The temple that is in a dilapidated condition has broken pillars of Silamandapa in its front.
Six limestone pillars carved with medallions in the shape of the half lotus were found on the site. It is possible that the pillars were used as door frames of the Garbha Griha of the Venkateswara Temple. These pillars have carvings of animals and patterns resembling the sculpture of Amaravati. Also found on the hill were a Shivalinga and Nandi in ruins.
The Times of India quotes Dr. E Sivanagi Reddy saying,
We found the Buddhist site atop a hill, locally called Bhairava Gutta. The area was dotted with broken pillars of Silamandapa in front of the dilapidated Venkateswara temple.The structures date back to the Satavahana rule.
Reddy has appealed to the Department of Archaeology and Museums for preservation and protection of the newly found site.