A team of archaeologists from India discovered lost temples, Buddhist structures and caves in the Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve, located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, India.
The team explored the region for the first time since 1938, focusing their research on an area of 170 square km that included parts of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, closed to protect biodiversity and Bengal tiger populations, they write HeritageDaily.
The survey of the area is being carried out in three phases, the first of which was completed in the Tala Range in May-June 2022.
In the next two phases, the Khitouli and Magadhi ranges of the tiger reserve will be explored.
The survey revealed caves and temples, remains of Buddhist structures and wall inscriptions bearing the names of cities like Mathura and Kaushambi in ancient scripts written in Brahmi, Shankhalipi and Nagari.
Who built the Buddhist structures?
“The most surprising discovery is the remains of Buddhist structures in the region where a Hindu dynasty ruled. This suggests religious harmony, but it is not yet known who built these Buddhist structures,” said an ASI official.
24 inscriptions dating from 2nd to 5th century AD have been documented and some also describe the names Pavata, Vejabharada and Sepatanaairikaa.
The inscriptions also name important kings like Maharaja Shri Bhimsena, Maharaja Pothasiri and Maharaja Bhattadeva.
The researchers found 26 caves
26 caves dating back to the 2nd century BC have been documented. to the 5th century AD, 26 temples, 2 monasteries and 46 sculptures.
The team also found the remains of chaitya-shaped doors and cells containing stone beds, which were probably built by people who worshiped the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
Among the smaller finds are board games found in the caves, a monolith depicting the ten avatars of Vishnu, a votive stupa, two Saiva Maths belonging to the Kalachuri period and coins belonging to the Mughal era and the Sharqi dynasty of the Jaunpur Sultanate.