Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Roots of Buddhism in Gujarat State of India

Hardly any commoner knows about the roots of Buddhism or the grace of Buddha in the soil of Gujarat in India. But, the myriad monuments and writings found in this State stand a time silent testimony of the resilience of the ear and the values which Buddha stood for. Gautama Buddha had a truly singular presence among

India’s numerous Godheads. The man who offered mankind its only panacea to sorrow and renunciation.  The would-be-king chose instead to walk the rugged terrains of ancient India, preaching selfless love and forgiveness to become Buddha.  The most unique agent of enlightenment in human history was unfolding.
Buddha strode across Northern India, converting warlords into humanists and changing people into brethren. He was waiting for a follower and preacher like King Ashoka to take up his unfinished ideology to people. Buddhism grew strong roots in Gujarat State by 270 BC during the spectacular rule of King Ashoka. Travelogues of Hiuen Tsiang and I-Tsing contain accounts of it. It was much more than a religion, since, it was a way of life, and a living style in that era. On its most part, Buddhism was carried to this Western part through traders who frequented their caravan up to distant regions.  Even at that time, Gujarat had given an excellent and ready response to the great teaching of Buddha.
Buddhism progressed in during the period of 27 B.C. to 470 A.D. though Buddhism had penetrated in Gujarat even in the lifetime of Tathagata. Buddhism remained as a dominant religion from the 1st century A.D. to the 8th century A.D. Quite a large number of Indian Buddhists had gone to China and Tibet to translate Buddhist Sanskrit books into their languages, numbering in thousands.
Buddha Remains in Vadnagar
In Gujarat, many territories got blessed by the spirit of Gautama Buddha and venerated by followers of Buddhism and assiduously studied by historians and archaeologists, these were once thriving inhabitations of Buddhists and contained some of the holiest monasteries.
Devni Mori remains
The remains at Devni Mori are situated in a picturesque valley on the bank of the river Meshvo near Shamlaji, where the river enters the plains of North Gujarat after cutting through the mountain range of Aravallis. As a result of excavations from 1960 to 1963, the site has yielded a towering Saririka stupa (called Mahastupa in the inscription of the casket found within the core), two monasteries, four votive stupas, an apsidal temple, a rectangular structure and a protecting wall.
The lofty stupa, with the upper portion  missing, rests on two square platforms rising in diminishing tiers, the lower one being nearly 86 ft. square and 7 ft. 10 inches in height and upper one about 70 ft. square.  Each face of the lower platform is divided into 10 bays by twelve pilasters with moulded bases and
Kadia Dungar Caves Narmada
Indo-Corinthian capitals. Below the pilasters, there is a set of three broad mouldings of which the central one is a torus.  Likewise, there are mouldings above the pilasters, but they are arranged corbelwise.
In about 6th century A.D., the stupa underwent minor repairs. A dam was constructed on the river Meshvo in 1964 due to which the site was submerged under water. Before the construction of the dam, the remains were taken to a museum in the city of Baroda.
Vallabhi in Gujarat State was one of the most frequented cultural center of Buddhism during  6th to 8th centuries AD.  An extensive congregation of Buddhists monks and nuns of the Hinayana & Mahayana Schools originated from here. I-Tsing compared Vallabhi with Nalanda and from his account; it would appear that the courses of study at both the universities were more or less identical.
Ashoka’s Rock edicts: It contain inscriptions of three dynasties which speak of the great popular faith and its healing power to convert the King.
Upperkota Caves: Upperkota caves are in the old fort of Junagadh. Buddhist caves here are known as the two-storied hall. The Buddhist caves here are interesting both on account of their plan and also for the decorative motives and sculptures.  The two stored hall consists of a water tank which is connected to a chamber which has four pillars arranged in a square and three more pillars at the northern end.  The rock above the four pillars has been cut away.
Khabhalida cave
Recessed benches have been cut around the three sides of the hall, above which is a freeze decorated with lattice and Caitya symbols. The capitals of all the pillars are carved with animals.
In these caves, certain religious symbols, identified as Svastika, Bhadrasana, Nandipada, Mina-yugala and Kalasa were found.
Caves near Bava-Pyara Matha:  There is another group of Buddhist caves on the eastern side of the town of Junagadh near Bava-Pyara Matha.  They are arranged in three rows.  It houses what is considered the prototype for the typically Buddhist Caitya arch ornamentation.
One inscription of the time of Khstrapa Jayadaman has been found on an isolated stone which seems to have been brought there from out-side.  Historic inscriptions render these caves academic significance.
Khapra-Kodia Caves:  The most unadorned Buddhist caves in Gujarat – a fact ascribed to continuous occupation by a Spartan monastic group.  The caves contain figurines and inscriptions that speak of divergent influences, attracting investigations by historians like James Burgess.
Sana Caves:  This is a large group of sixty two Buddhist caves near
Sana Cave Junagarh
the village Vanika, 24 Kms. North-East of Una railway station.  The Viharas at Sana have generally pillared verandahs with one or two cells. The cells are equipped with rock cut benches.
The large cave bearing No. 2: At present it is known as Bhima-ni-Cori and it is similar to the Ebhala- Mandapa at Talaja.  This cave is 21 mtrs. Deep with a width of 18.3 mtrs. and hight ranging 5.3 mtrs. with six pillars between pilasters in front.
One peculiar dagoba has a concave neck between the dome and the drum.
Talaja Caves:  There are 36 caves perched at different heights of a single isolated picturesque hill, situated near the confluence of the Shatrunji and Talaji, the latter flowing past by it.  The caves have little architectural merit.  They usually consist of a few cells at the back of a pillared verandah, though a typical rock-cut quadrangular monastery also exists. Archaeologist believes there are many more caves lying buried under the hillock.
Any person who has seen the industrial and modern face of Gujarat State would get delighted to experience these spiritual outposts of the by-gone eras when the force of faith marched quite romantically across towns and people and made people to think, change and chart out the new ways of life. The  places in Gujarat though not much known were the real nerve centers of Buddhist faith and it was a unique beginning of a State like this which  still espouses non-violence and charts  the peace strategy and has produced  a Mahatma who literally carried unknowingly the seeds of Buddhist faith as trademarks of Gujarat’s identity in the World.
The so-called “Buddhist Caves” around Uparkot are not actually caves, but three separate sites of rooms carved out of stone to be used as monks’ quarters, hence the name. They are all a little over 2000 years old, give or take a couple of centuries.

The oldest, the Khapara Kodia caves caves belong to 3rd-4th century AD and are plainest of all cave groups. These caves are along the edge of the ancient Sudarshan Lake (which no longer exists) and the northern side of Uparkot. The chambers are separated into an east-west longitudinal crest. The rectangle western wing and the ‘L’ shaped wing used by the Monks as a monsoon shelter, are the important parts of the caves. They were carved into living rock during the reign of Emperor Ashoka and are considered the earliest monastic settlement in the area. After many years of use, they were abandoned because cracks above them allowed water to seep into living quarters, rendering them unusable. Many accounts say that after this, the monks left for Maharashtra, where they went on to carve many similar and more elaborate structures. Khapara Kodia was damaged by later quarrying, and now only the highest story remains.

Across Uparkot from Khapara Kodia are the caves of Baba Pyara. Baba Pyara caves are lying close to the Modhimath, which has four caves in its northern group. The next set of south group caves has a unified plan with a spacious court and a chaitya hall. The art tradition of Satavahanas period has influence over these cave pillars and door jambs of the caves. It is believed that they belong to 1st – 2nd century AD. These have 13 rooms in three stories, cut into the rock 45 m. (150 ft.) high and adorned with carvings of Buddhist symbology. These are much more intact than the Khapara Kodia caves. The last (and most recent, being only 1900 years old) caves are next to the Adi-Kadi Vav.

Entry Rs.5/- for Indians & Rs.100/- for Foreigners.  

 In its bid to attract more tourists, Gujarat tourism department has decided to promote Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the state. Amitabh Bachchan is expected to shoot ad campaign this month promoting lesser known Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Gujarat.

Khambhalida Caves
This is part of tourism department's continues effort to increase tourist arrivals in the state. The tourism department is also going to raise awarness about Buddhist pilgrimage and long roots of Buddhism in Gujarat through its own website.

Buddhism in Gujarat dates long back to the days of Emperor Ashoka. There are plenty of monasteries and Buddhist caves in Gujarat especially in the Junagadh district. With the help of Amitabh Bachchan, Gujarat wants to attract tourists to these sites. Over the years, Gujarat's government has improved infrastructure to these sites and plans more development to make things easy for the tourists. One such site is Khambhalida Caves, the 4the Century Buddhist caves near Rajkot.

The aim is to woo more foreign tourists especially from the Buddhist countries like Japan andChina. Gujarat may be attracting around 20 million tourists, but the count of foreign tourists is quite low to around 320,000. With the help of Buddhist sites, Gujarat hopes to change that.

1900-Year-Old Buddhist Monastery discovered in Gujarat’s Vadnagar
By Japan K Pathak
Vadnagar/Gandhinagar, DeshGujarat,11 October, 2008

Gujarat State Archaeological Department has discovered a small size Buddhist monastery in Gujarat’s Vadnagar. Vadnagar is a small fort town located in northern part of Gujarat, the most prosperous state in India.

Walls of discovered monastery were built using bricks. 55 by 55 ft size Monastery had total 12 cells for residual purpose of monks. Entrance was on Northern direction. Small drain was found at South-West corner. Monastery was built on a plinth. Excavation in southern direction is yet to begin. Possibility of finding Shrine cell and Buddha idol in southern side excavation is high.
In the course of two years of excavation, so far more than 2000 pieces of Archaeological importance are found from Ghaskol Darwaja excavation site in Vadnagar including 2000 years old house, numerous clay utensils, silver coins, beads, ornaments, Roman style head sculpture, turbaned face clay plaque, votive tablet, head sculpture, plaque sculpture depicting Buddha, Parts of vessel on which Buddhism related words are written in Brahmi script.
When contacted Gujarat State Archaeology Superintendent Dr. Yadubirsingh Rawat(Y.S.Rawat) said “This Buddhist monastery probably belongs to 2nd to 4th century era. It was probably in use for 300 years. After two years of excavation first we unearthed the monastery structure. For a brief time it remained a mysterious structure for us as we couldn’t figure out it’s motive. After some research, observations and studies we are now at confirm conclusion that this was a Buddhist monastery.”
Decades back in Gujarat, when double size Devni Mori Buddhist monastery was discovered, ditto lay-out plane was found there. Devni Mori Buddhist monastery also had northern side entrance, South-Western drain, open plot in centre and 29 cells for monks around the central plot(Vadnagar monastery has 12). Though Devni Mori site latter submerged in Meshwo river, it’s lay out plan which resembles Vadnagar monastery’s plan is available with Archaeology department.
Chinese traveler Hieun Tsanghad visited Vadnagar between 640 to 644 A.D. and documented presence of 1,000 Buddhist monks and 10 Buddhist monasteries in and around Vadnagar town known as Anandpur in that era. Decades back, a sculpture of Bhagvan Buddha was found from Vadnagar which was then placed in Vadnagar museum for permanent exhibition.
Idea of archaeological excavation at Vanagar was moved by none other but Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi himself as he belongs to this town. Narendra Modi had judged Vadnagar as a prolific site for archaeological excavation in early days of his life when he was a resident of Vadnagar.

Gujarat, so far known for Hindu religious places like Somnath and Dwarka, now hopes to attract Buddhist tourists too. The Gujarat government just organised the International Seminar on Buddhist Heritage atVadodara recently. According to Gujarat Tourism Minister Jay Narayan Vyas, as many as 500 Lamas, 350 academics, including 200 followers, participated. The seminar aimed to highlight the contribution of Buddhism and its philosophy. Although numerous literary traditions claim that Buddhism reached Saurashtra during the time of the Buddha itself, the earliest archaeological evidence dates from the time of Emperor Asoka (269-232 B.C.). The Girnar rock edicts were engraved to propagate the Dhamma. The remains of Buddhist establishments have been found in almost every region of Gujarat in the form of rock-cut caves and archaeological sites. The coastal region of Gujarat, stretching from Kutch to Saurashtra and up to Bharuch is dotted with several such caves. These caves were excavated between 2nd century B.C. and 6th century A.D. It is believed that most of them were excavated during the Kshatrapa rule.
Buddhism became a popular religion in Gujarat during the Kshatrapa period (1st to 4th Century A.D.) and it continued to flourish during the Maitraka rule (470-788 A.D.). Hiuen Tsiang, the Chinese traveller and scholar, visited Gujarat in 640 A.D. during the Maitrakas' reign. He records that there were about 200 monasteries with 10,000 monks living in them. These monasteries were located at Bharuch, Atali, Kheta, Valabhi, Anandapura and Saurashtra. Another Chinese traveller, I-tsing, who visited Gujarat around 670 A. D., too observed that the Sammitiya school had the greatest number of followers in western India.
Valabhi was also a renowned centre of Buddhist studies. I-tsing records that the greatest centres of learning in India were Nalanda and Valabhi. The Valabhi University was especially devoted to the study of the Sammatiya school and interested in the Hinayana. It vied with the Nalanda University, which was much devoted to Mahayana.
Gujarat seems to have contributed some eminent Buddhist scholars during the Maitraka period. Dharmagupta, who went to China in the 6th Century, belonged to Lata, the region between the Narmada and Tapti rivers. According to Taranath, Santideva, who distinguished himself as a preceptor at Nalanda University as well as an eminent author of some work on Buddhist doctrines, was born in a royal family in Saurashtra. Archaeological evidence from Taranga hill suggests that this site was a prominent Tantrik Buddhist centre till the 9th century. There is an image of Buddha depicted at Ran-ki-Vav in Patan (north Gujarat) along with other incarnations of Vishnu, which indicates that by the 11th century Buddha was already incorporated in the Dashavatar concept of Hinduism.
According to Taranath, the famous Tibetan historian, the old western Indian school of art was one of the ancient schools of arts that influenced the art of eastern India, Kashmir and Nepal. In north Gujarat, as Hiuen Tsiang records, there were 10 monasteries at Vadnagar.
Recent excavation by the State Archaeology Department has brought to light one of the monasteries along with two votive stupas. Many other Buddhist antiquities have also been recovered from the site. Vadnagar has also yielded a Bodhisattva image, which must have been brought by the Sammitiya bhikshus from Mathura for their Chaitya in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D.
The Buddhist site of Devnimori in the east-central part of the state has yielded the most valuable remains of Lord Buddha in 1963. A large Buddhist establishment datable to 2nd to 7th century A.D. has been excavated at this site. The Mahastupa at the site contained the bodily relics of Gautam Buddha and had about 17 images of Buddha in terracotta.
These relics are now in the Archaeology Department of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.
Kutch was another region on the ancient route connecting Gujarat and Sindh, where Buddhists were in significant numbers.

The CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi with the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama
Ahmedabad, Gujarat (CHAKRA) – The BJP government of Gujarat has prioritized its efforts to preserve sites that are going to be apart of the Buddhist tourism circuit in the Central Gujarat region. The tourists sites are going to include the caves of Saurashtra as well as the remains of the Buddhist monastery.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been excavating the ancient Buddhist caves and surrounding sites. In response to this the Gujarat government has expedited its work on the preservation of such sites although it is still waiting for approval from the central government to go ahead with the planning of the Buddhist tourism circuit proposal.
The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi, has eagerly taken interest in this in these activities and as a result visited the excavation sites in Vadnagar of Mehsana district in North Gujarat to take a look at the work being done at the sites.
During his visit, Mr. Modi spoke highly of the excavation activities taking place. He brought to light the visits made in the past by Buddhist monks who came in search of spiritual knowledge and their influence in the eastern belt of India. He further stated that because the eastern belt of India is so influenced by the Buddha, the Buddhist relic findings serve as an opportunity to study his influence on the western belt.
According to an official of the Department of Youth and Cultural Affairs, they plan to build a shed made out of special fibre to protect the excavation site from rain and other damaging materials.
The official at the site also stated that the plan is to build a cultural wall to display the relics found at the site, for which 40 lakh rupees has been set aside. Furthermore, there is a long-term plan to build the area into a museum in Vadnagar because of the number (7000) of relics they have discovered since over five years ago. Most of these findings are from the Ghaskol Darwaja excavation site in the town of Vadnagar.
Some of the findings include clay utensils, beads, ornaments, silver coins, sculptures, tablets, plaques depicting Buddha and parts of a vessel with descriptions relating to Buddhism.
The Tourism Secretary, Mr. Vipul Mitra, said that the Buddhist caves found in various locations of Saurashtra region will also become part of the circuit.
Security has been dispatched in all areas of the site along with signs up displaying information charts about the history of the caves.
The caves are located in various places including, in the Shiyot village of Lakpat taluka, in Kutch district, the Ranpur village of Jamnagar, in Sana, in Prabhas Patan, in the Savangiri villages of Junagadh, and in Gondal taluka or Rajkot.
Many in the international community have praised this initiative by the Narendra Modi government after many ancient Buddhist monuments have been destroyed by Islamic extremists in countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh in recent years.

The state government is not leaving any stone unturned to promote Gujarat as the Buddhist destination. Satyavir Singh deciphers the traces of Buddhism in the state and observes the government's effort to promote them.
Every aspect of Gujarat has a strong Hindu identity be it history, places, beliefs, politics or people. But, probably, most of the people are clueless about the fact that Gujarat has been a significant place for Buddhism too. The recent excavation in Vadnagar has again thrown light on the strong links of Buddha with the state. Although, archeologists have unearthed many evidences earlier, the recent one could unravel many my stories.

 The traces of Buddhist establishments have been discovered across Gujarat in the form of carved-out caves, stupas and monuments. The coastal region ofGujarat, stretching from Kutch to Saurashtra, and up to Bharuch is dotted with several such caves. It is believed that most of the caves were excavated between 2nd century B.C. and 6th century A.D, mostly during the Kshatrapa rule.
However, the most startling evidence found till date is the ashes found in a casket at Devni Mori site near Shamalaji. Many historians and archeologists are claiming it to be the ashes of Lord Buddha himself. The excavation was carried out by a team from MS University in 1963. Since then, this incredible discovery was in the possession of the University's department of archaeology and ancient history.
In account to this finding, Buddhist scholars suggest that Lord Buddha on his deathbed had asked his disciples to erect stupas over his remains. Later, as per his discretion, his relics were distributed and stupas were constructed over them. Then, the famous Buddhist patron and the great Mauryan emperor Ashoka reopened seven out of the eight original sharirik stupas, in a bid to erect more stupas across the region. A major portion of relics were distributed among 84,000 stupas that were built by him throughout his empire. This was about the previous breakthroughs. Now, fresh excavations carried out in Vadnagar region, has found a monastery dating back to the Buddha era. In fact, two stupas have also been recovered along with many other antiques. Vadnagar has also revealed a Bodhisattva image, which is assumed to be brought by the monks from Mathura in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D.
In account to the new excavations, the Gujarat tourism department has realized the prospect of promoting the state as Buddhist pilgrimage destination. Therefore, to acknowledge the Buddhist community about these findings, a three-day international seminar on Buddhist heritage was held in Vadodara's MS University campus from January 15-18. Many Tibetan lamas and Buddhist scholars from all across the world gathered here. The seminar was inaugurated by the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and presided by the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. During the seminar, a proposal to set up a center for religious studies in MSU campus was approved by the CM along with His Holiness. Modi also ensured to build a Buddhist temple and an academy for Buddhist education.
Anjlee Pandy a, a prominent NRG and coordinator of the event said, "This great event is the beginning of a new era of Buddhism in Gujarat. Gujarat will soon become a significant Buddhist pilgrimage and a major tourist attraction. The proposed Buddhist Temple and a Center for Buddhist Studies, a new BuddhismInstitute will further the study and understanding Buddhism worldwide."
These plans imply that the Gujarat government is leaving no stone unturned to highlight the recent archeological breakthroughs. Besides, casket of ashes has already become a subject of interest among the patrons worldwide. Hence, considering all these developments together are pointing out that Gujarat is all set to become a new signpost on the Buddhist map of the world. 

Buddhism strikes its roots in Gandhidham

DNA India, Jan 3, 2012

Bhuj, India -- Gujarat has many Buddhist heritage sites but it can now boast of a ‘live’ site at Gandhidham in Kutch district. It is in the form of a sapling from the original Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment 2,600 years ago.
The sapling on Monday was planted on the premises of the sprawling port colony here by the Gandhidham-based chapter of Buddha Light International Association (BLIA).

However, before planting the sapling, the BLIA took out a peace march in the town with the sapling.

The holy sapling was planted in the presence of renowned Japanese Buddhist monk, Therasavji, who is also a UN ambassador for world peace. Therasavji is currently

touring the country and had especially come to Gandhidham for the event.

Rupa Bhaty, noted architect and president of Gujarat chapter of BLIA, said that the sapling had been planted on the premises of the port colony temporarily. It will be shifted to the BLIA Park that is to be built in the port town soon, she said.

“We are happy that by planting in Gandhidham a sapling from the original Bodhi tree, we are in a way restoring the state’s Buddhist heritage. We received the sapling a month back from the Global Buddhist Congregation, New Delhi,” she said.

Bhaty further said that Bodhi tree saplings from Anuradhapura (in Sri Lanka), and Bodh Gaya and Sravasti had been distributed in all countries where Buddhism is practiced as a religion. She further said that a large number of Dhamma practitioners and ordinary people had taken part in the peace procession on Monday.
Known more for Hindu and Jain religious places, Gujarat is now hoping to play host to Buddhist pilgrims too.
While in January this year, Chief Minister Narendra Modi shared the dais with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the International Seminar on Buddhist Heritage at Vadodara, the state's tourism department is now trying hard to promote the "Buddhist Footprints in Gujarat" through its website.
The earliest archeological evidence of Buddhism in Gujarat dates back to Emperor Ashoka's reign (269–232 BC). Saurashtra (known as Surashtra/ Saraostes/Syrastene in the past) finds a mention in early Buddhist literature such as the Indriya Jataka, Milinda Panha, Petavatthu, etc. In the sixth century, Bhattarkka, a general of the Gupta Emperors, established an independent principality around Valabhi (Vallabhipur). He was a devout Shaivite but the Maitraka rulers that followed him, though Hindus themselves were great patrons of Buddhism. On his visit to Gujarat in 640 AD, Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang noted the presence of 200 monasteries housing 10,000 monks at Bharuch, Atali, Kheta, Valabhi, Anandapura and Surashtra. Both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism were prevalent in Gujarat.
The following are some of the main Buddhist archeological sites in Gujarat:
Vadnagar, Mahesana
Nearly 128 km from Ahmedabad, the archeological site between River Banas and River Rupen, has a 12-cell structure that belonged to a Buddhist vihara or monastery and housed monks from the 2nd to 4th century AD. Hiuen Tsang, who visited Vadnagar (then known as Anandapur) in the 7th century, reported that the city had some 10 sangharams (resting places for Buddhist monks) with a 1,000 Buddhist monks. Archaeologists found around 2,000 artefacts including a Buddha idol, an amphora, figurines, a crucible, a grinding stone, seals, a terracotta head wearing a turban, shell bangles, necklace beads, copper and silver coins that are housed at the Museum of Archaeology at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara.
Perched atop the Taranga Hills nearby, is a shrine dedicated to Devi Taranmata. The idols of Taranmata and Dharanmata are of Buddhist Goddess Tara, the "Mother of all Buddhas," which usually refers to the enlightened wisdom of the Buddhas. In the Dharanmata Temple, over the halo behind the head of the marble sculpture of the Goddess Tara, is a lotus on which rests the Amitabh Buddha. The lower register of the sculpture also displays the symbolic representation of the Buddha in form of an elephant, a horse and a chakra.
Devnimori, Sabarkantha
Better known for its hotsprings, Devnimori located 132 km from Ahmedabad has a large Buddhist establishment that dates back to the period between 2nd and 7th centuries AD. King Ashoka is said to have erected as many as 80,000 stupas across India. He unearthed the ashes of Buddha from their original place and distributed them across the country, building stupas accordingly. One such stupa, from the 4th century was excavated in early 1960s at Devnimori. Close to the major trade routes of Mewar and Dungarpur, Devnimori was the site of an important Buddhist monastic centre 1,600 years ago. The mahastupa's still there but the relics including a casket containing Buddha's ashes and 17 terracotta statues of Buddha are now housed in the Department of Archaeology at The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara.
Junagadh District
A prominent Buddhist centre since Ashoka's reign, Junagadh district is sprinkled with rock-cut-caves, monasteries and stupas at 15-odd sites such as the Ashokan rock edict at Girnar, Baba Pyara Caves, Khapra Kodia caves, Upparkot caves, Panheswer Caves, Mai Gadechi, Matri, structural monastery at Intawa, brick stupa at Bordevi and Vajrapanat, Sana caves, caves around Prabhas Patan, Mandor Caves and Savni-Gir.
Buddhist caves, about 2000 years old, are among the oldest monuments at Uparkot. Carved out of monolithic rock, these three-tiered caves are famous for their exquisite art.
Getting there:
Gujarat has one of the better developed road networks in India. State transport and private buses are the best and the cheapest modes of transport. Ahmedabad is well-connected to all major cities and towns by road, rail and air.

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