Friday, September 18, 2009

Monastery Row

The lines are imaginary boundaries of the monasteries and the campus as per the Xuanzang description. The boundary as per him was built by raja Harsavardhan. No trace of boundary was is found in excavations so far.
As we observed, we lack conclusive evidences to link the Xuanzang description with the Archaeological evidences. The evidences can be clubbed in two groups the Pre-Devapala layers (monasteries) and the Post-Devapala layers (monasteries). Since the Devapala period is almost 2 centuries after the Xuanzang visit we cannot say if the monastery was there at the time of Xuanzang on the bass of Archaeological finds. Here we start with an assumption that all the Pre- Devapala Monasteries were present at the time of Xuanzang and explore the possibilities.

So we see that 4 monasteries are falling under the possibilities list. We still lack 2 monasteries to complete the list of six observed by Xuanzang.
As per the archaeological evidences there is superimposition of layers of monastery no1 and 1A the. Monastery no 1 had nine reconstructions, and 1A and 1B monastery had two layers of reconstruction. The archaeologists have drawn a sequence of the development of monasteries no 1, 1A and 1B.

So we see as per the archaeological finds the monastery No 1A did not exist at the time of Xuanzang visit. And monastery no-1 was either under construction, was just completed or was yet to begin. But the Xuanzang description says he did saw a monastery just completed by Raja Harsavardhan but it was further north and at the site of Monastery no 1, he saw monastery by Baladitya, who was king during late 5th century. Monastery 1A is after the 4th layer of monastery1; hence the period goes further back to 9th century. But Xuanzang saw a monastery at the site. Logically also 1A and 1B are distinct from the pattern of construction adopted by later rulers. And the sizes of 1A and 1B are also small than the later monasteries. It’s possible the archaeological find are not accurate and needs further study. Basis of dating is also not clearly mentioned in the reports. As per Xuanzang five among six monasteries he saw were multistoried and very lofty to disappear without a trace
We move further with assumption that the entire Pre-Devapala monasteries were present at the time of Xuanzang.
.The monastery no 4 is clubbed with the 5th excavated structure which is part of the square area of monastery 4. It is generally assumed that the cells here are too small to make a monastery and no proper pathways were there. This is generally assumed to be a place used as store house.

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