- Ratnagiri (Orissa)
Ratnagiri was once the site of a mahavihara, or major Buddhist monastery, in the Brahmani and Birupa river valley in
Jajpur districtof Orissa, India.
Ratnagiri was established no later than the reign of the Gupta king Narasimha Baladitya in the first half of the sixth century CE, and flourished until the twelfth century CE. A Tibetan history, the "Pag Sam Jon Zang", identifies Ratnagiri as an important center in the development of the
Kalachakratantrain the 10th century CE, an assertion supported by the discovery of a number of votive stupas, plaques, and other artifacts featuring Kalachakra imagery.
A large-scale excavation was conducted at the site between 1958 and 1961, uncovering much of what is known today. The main stupa dates to the 9th century CE and was likely built on the site of an earlier, Gupta-era stupa. Seals were found bearing the legend "Sri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Aryabikshu Sanghasya," which helped identify it. Prominent, well-persevered standing statues of the
bodhisattvas Vajrapaniand Padmapanican be found in niches in a portico. Monastery No. 2 features a central paved courtyard flanked by a pillared veranda around which are eighteen cells, a central shrine featuring an image of Shakyamuni in varada mudra flanked by Brahma and Sakra, and elaborately ornamented entrance porticos.
According to Amit Jha, a lecturer in the Department of History at Sri Aurobindo College,
Delhi University, "Ratnagiri comprises two magnificent monasteries, also rebuilt more than once. One of them was double-storyed and had an extensive courtyard with two-sides of it having a number of cells for habitation of monks. Besides, we have archaeological remains of six temples, thousands of small stupas, 1386 seals, myriad sculptural relics and architectural pieces of daily use. The largest stupa was convert|47|ft|m square and convert|17|ft|m high surrounded by four minor stupas. There are hundreds of miniature votive stupas decorated with lotus, petal and beaded tassels." [ [http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:Ld5XCjhhd34J:www.mssu.edu/projectsouthasia/TSA/VIIN1/Jha.htm+Odantipuri&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us] ] "
A museum now located on the site displays statuary featuring
Tara, Avalokiteshvara, Aparajita, and Haritihave also been found, all in prototypical of Gupta style.
* " Magnificent samples of Buddhist architecture", Brindha, G. "The Hindu", Friday, Aug 29,2003 [http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2003/08/29/stories/2003082901741000.htm]
* "Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa", Donaldson, Thomas Eugene. Abhinav Publications: 2001. ISBN 8170173752
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