Hyderabad: Telangana’s Buddhist heritage sites continue to be ignored compared to those in Andhra Pradesh even after bifurcation. There are nearly 20 Buddhist sites in Telangana of which three are of high significance — Phanigiri in Nalgonda, Nelakondapalli in Khammam and Dhulikatta in Karimnagar.
However, none of these three or any other Buddhist site in the state has been successful in getting the attention of the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation.
A TSTDC official said that among the various proposals for tourism development in the state at present, there was no specific proposal for any Buddhist circuit or any plan for development of amenities at any Buddhist site.
None of the Buddhist sites in the state come under the protection of the central government’s Archaeological Survey of India which is financially better equipped to handle the sites than its state government counterpart. The ASI, however, has more than 20 protected Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh.
“Buddhist sites of Telangana were not lucky to get as much attention as their counterparts in Andhra before bifurcation of state and even now the situation remains the same. If not foreign, then at least domestic tourism can be encouraged with the right kind of promotion and provision of basic amenities; and money received from this can be used for conservation,” said an archaeology enthusiast from the city.
Phanigiri is famous for the sculptures discovered at the site by the state archaeology department. Nine life-size Buddhas and panchaloha statues — rare for that time — were excavated. Nelakondapalli meanwhile has the tallest stupa in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, it is 46 feet high.
At Dhulikatta in Karimnagar district, the archaeologists discovered 50 slabs encased on the stupa with images of Buddha on them. This is also a rarity as during the period when the stupa was built in Dhulikatta, imaging Buddha was outlawed by the king Muchilinda.