Telhara in Nalanda district is likely to emerge as yet another major Buddhist study centre in the days to come.
A 3 feet high, black basalt image of Dhyani Buddha (Buddha in meditative posture) was discovered during a digging at the site on Monday. The image is believed to belong to the Pala period.
During the digging, the site also yielded a 3 centimetre high, bronze image of Hariti, displaying a mother with a child in her lap. A team of State Archaeology officials headed by Atul Kumar Verma has been busy excavating the site for more than a month.
The excavation project at the site was launched by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on December 26 last year.
Verma said that the site had showed signs of being a major Buddhist study centre. “The black stone image of Buddha was discovered hardly 10 feet under the soil. It’s a Pala age image. A bronze image of Chamunda was also discovered there a few days ago,” he said.
Even during preliminary surface exploration, images belonging to the Gupta age and the Pala age were discovered at the site, he added.
Telhara is believed to be a monastic site of Theravada tradition. It was first discovered in 1872 by M Broadley, the then district magistrate of Nalanda, who mentioned in his book that Telhara could be identified with Tilas-akiya (Ti-lo-tse-kia) mentioned by Huien Tsang in his book. Tsang had also mentioned seven ‘Monasteries at Tilhara’ of the Mahayan cult in 7th Century AD, with thousand of monks studying the Mahayana texts.