Visakhapatnam: Apart from beaches,ports and Steel plant , Vizag also has rich Buddhist History at Thotlakonda . Buddhist Complex is situated on the Thotlakonda hill near Bheemunipatnam about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Visakhapatnam .
The hill is about 128 metres (420 ft) above sea level and overlooks the sea. The Telugu name Toṭlakoṇḍa derived from the presence of a number of rock-cut cisterns chop into the bedrock of the hillock.
Thotlakonda was well within the influence of ancient Kalinga, which was an important source of dissemination of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and various parts of Southeast Asia. It provides an insight into the process of transoceanic diffusion of Indic culture, especially Buddhism.
A hill on the sea coast with salubrious climate was an ideal attraction for the Buddhist monks to build a monastery complex here. The placid sea sheltered by the deeply in curved coastline here, provided a safe haven for anchoring ships.
Thotlakonda came to light during an aerial survey by the Indian Navy for setting up a Naval Base. After its discovery, major excavations have been conducted by the Andhra Pradesh State Archaeology Department during 1988 – 1993. The excavations established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex which flourished 2000 years ago.To the South of the complex there is a tank which served as a water source to the inhabitants of the monastery.
The excavations reveal Satavahana dynasty lead and Roman silver coins indicating foreign trade; terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, miniature stupa models in stone, and Buddha footprints were also found. The excavations also yielded twelve inscriptions in the Brahmi script. From polygraphic studies, it appears that the hill might have been known as Senagiri; Sena in Pali means “elder, superior”.
Thotlakonda had declined by the end of the 3rd century. Historians opine that it could be due to the rise of Hinduism and decline in maritime trade.
Now, The State Government has concentrated on some tourist attraction to this Buddhist site , here its some pics…