ASI unearths two 1200-year-old miniature stupas at Nalanda

The Patna circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed two miniature votive stupas dating back 1200 years during landscaping work near the Sarai Tila mound within the grounds of “Nalanda Mahavihara,” a world heritage site in the state’s Nalanda district. The stupas, carved from stone, depict Buddha figures.

“These two votive stupas (offered in fulfilment of a vow) were discovered by the ASI officials during landscaping near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’ on January 4. These, carved from stone depicting Buddha figures, must be around 1200 year old. Our archeologists are examining it further,” Goutami Bhattacharya, Superintending Archaeologist (ASI, Patna circle) said.
Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings. Devout pilgrims visiting various holy sites and temples throughout Asia would either purchase small votive offerings or make their own,” she added.
The Nalanda Mahavihara site houses the archaeological remnants of a monastery and academic institution that existed between the third and thirteenth centuries CE. There are stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings), and significant stucco, stone, and metal artworks.
Bhattacharya explained that Nalanda is the most ancient university on the Indian Subcontinent and was actively involved in the structured transmission of knowledge for an uninterrupted period of 800 years.
According to her, the archaeological remnants of Nalanda Mahavihara were systematically excavated and preserved at the same time. She continued by stating that they are the most important components of the property since they show the advancement of Nalanda’s planning, architecture, and artistic history.