Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Continuing with our story about how the ruins of Nalanda were discovered. Buchanan and Kittoe had made the first round of exploration and Cunningham followed through in the steps more than a decade later…

Cunningham- 1861

Cunningham faced no difficulty in identification of Ruins of Bargaon as the remains of Ancient Mahavihara. He was fortunate to have Xuanzang’s accounts to his help which Kittoe didn’t. As per the accounts the Nalanda University was 30 Li North of New Fort, Rajgir, which he had little difficulty in identifying given he already had the clues left by Buchanan and Kittoe.

Broadley- 1871-72

Broadley started excavation of biggest mound at the Bargaon site in an unsystematic and unscientific manner. More than 1000 labour where employed for uncovering the Mound (Temple no-12) which they completed in 10days. In this hurry laborers even pulled down a magnificent gate at the western side of the courtyard. Cunningham reached Bargaon as newly appointed director general of revived ASI, Cunningham was not happy with excavations carried by Broadley. He was further irritated by the justification offered by Broadley, excavations according to Broadley were justified on grounds that Nalanda was a quarry of bricks for centuries and it was necessary to see what lies inside the stupa. In hurry Broadley arranged a pillar upside down and in order to leave his marks he even ascribed his name in one of the pillars twice.

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