Few days back we reported on the discovery of a Haritika statue in Sirpur, a town in Chattisgarh state. This is a place which still has samples of Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain architecture. Now a temple complex, much bigger than Nalanda has been discovered in Sirpur.
About 200 mounds, 100 Buddha vihars, four Jain vihars and more than 100 Shiva temples spread across 25 sq km were found during excavations that began in February but have had to be suspended for the monsoon.
A 1.8-metre Shivalinga, believed to be the tallest in the state, has been found during the recent excavations.
Agreeing with Sharma, Muhhamed said Sirpur gave temple architecture in India a turning point. The Laxman Temple here is one of the country’s finest brick temples and the only one of its time, after Bhitargaon in Kanpur, that has a shikhara.
The shikhara or kailash was not seen in temples built before the 7th century and its construction was a turning point in temple architecture, Muhhamed iterated.
Sirpur was an important centre of Buddhism from the 6th to the 10th century, and Chinese scholar and traveller Hiuen Tsang visited it in the 7th century.
A Buddha vihar with underground rooms and a six-foot Buddha statue was discovered here during earlier excavations. Mahashivgupt Balarjun, the most famous ruler of South Kosal of which Sirpur was the capital, was a Shaivaite but patronised the Buddha vihar.[Ancient complex bigger than Nalanda found near Raipur]
The archaeologists also found something which was not depicted even in the walls of Khajuraho – animal sex.
For the first time, stone carvings depicting sexual activity among animals have been found. “This is the rarest of carvings seen in Indian archaeology,” said K.K. Muhhamed, superintending archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India. These are not seen even at Khajuraho and Ellora, he stressed.
Thank god, the animals were not depicted smoking, else our minister would have shut down this site.