Monday, June 17, 2024

Kauśambī (Part I) -The possible location of the Ghositārāma

Some rest after a long day exploring the Ḍiheā mound. With Ven Dhammaratan and children from Bahudinpur. 7th June 2024.

During the time of the Buddha (6th-5th BCE), the kingdom of Kosambī (Kauśambī) was known as the country of the Vatsas (or Vamsas) ruled by the king Udayana (J.iv.28; vi.236).  Kosambī is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas (great kingdoms), which existed during the Buddha's time (A.i.213; iv.252). Kosambī was a city of great importance at the time of the Buddha. Ānanda mentions it as one of the places suitable for the Parinibbāna of the Buddha (D.ii.146,169). It was a rich commercial city situated on the bank of river Yamunā. It was regarded as one of the six great cities of India at that time, the others being Campā, Rājagaha, Sāvatthi, Kosambī and Benares (D.ii.146).

On my foot journey ‘Retracing Bodhisattva Xuanzang (RBX)’, I reached Kosam (Kosambī, Kauśambī) on October 20, 2023. I started this 200 km-long stretch of the foot journey, following the Buddhacārikā (the footsteps of the Buddha) from Ayōdhyā to Kosam on October 11, 2023.

Buddhist pilgrims Faxian (Fahien, 5th CE) and Xuanzang (Hsüan-Tsang, 7th CE) visited Kosambī and narrated the intimate relation of the place with the Buddha. In Xuanzang’s time,  Kosambī was largely a Brahmanical centre with over 50 deva temples. Xuanzang saw about ten Buddhist monasteries which were dilapidated and deserted. Faxian placed Kosambī 13 Yojanas (130 Km approx.) northwest of Deer Park (i.e. Sārnātha) and Xuanzang placed it 500 Li (150 km approx.) southwest of Prayāga (now Prayāgrāj). Alexander Cunningham in the 1860s identified the ancient remains of Kosam (25° 20’ 30” N, 81° 23' 12” E) 55 km SW of Prayāga as the ancient city of Kosambī (Cunningham 2000: 301-312).

Cunningham noted the local people of Kosam still referred to the place as Kosambī-Nagar. However, Kosam identified by Cunningham as ancient Kosambī did not fulfill the distance and direction criteria mentioned by Faxian and Xuanzang. Also, Kosam is situated on the northern bank of the river Yamunā, but neither Faxian nor Xuanzang has alluded Kosambī to being situated by the river Yamunā. M. Saint-Martin proposed to check for Kosambī in the northwest and not in the southwest of Prayāga. Vincent A. Smith thought Satnā, which is situated further SW of Kosam the location of Kosambī of Xuanzang (Watters 2004: 366). However, exploration and excavation in the 20th century provided ample inscriptional and circumstantial evidence in favour of the ancient remains of Kosam as the ancient city of Kosambī of Buddhist literature that both the pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang visited.

The mound (ancient remains) of the capital city of Kosambī viewed from a distance looks like an imposing hillock, standing high above the surrounding plains, bordered on the south by the Yamunā (refer to Fig. 3). The mounds have a circumferential circuit of about 6.45km. The mound proper has an average height of 9 to 10 meters from the surrounding field level. The city had gates on three sides east, north and west. The southern gate is probably lost because of the erosion caused by the Yamunā. Kosambī was a fortified town with an irregular oblong plan encircled on three sides by a moat, which, though filled up in places, is still discernible on the northern side.  One of the major highlights inside the ancient remains of Kosambī City is an Aśokan Pillar. The Aśokan Pillar is 22 ft long with the upper part broken and its capital missing. Unlike the Aśokan Pillars of Arerāj, Nandangaḍh, Rāmpurwā, Sārnātha and Prayāga which have Edicts by King Aśoka, the Kosambī Pillar has no inscriptions by Aśoka. Cunningham noted the local people called the pillar either Rām-kā-charri (walking stick of Lord Rām) or Bhim-sen-kā-Gaddā ( Bhim-sen’s club).

The Buddha visited Kosambī several times and spent his ninth rainy season here. Pali sources mention many places in Kosambī where Buddha stayed and gave sermons.  We find mention of Badarikārāma, a park about three miles from Kosambī (S.iii.126) where the Buddha preached the Tipallatthamiga Jātaka (J.i.160) and the Tittira Jātaka (J.iii.64).  There is a mention of a grove called Simsapāvana, the Buddha once stayed here and he delivered the Simsapā Sutta (S.v.437). Pali sources have mentioned three colleagues and eminent citizens of Kosambī called Kukkuta, Ghosita and Pāvārika. When the three of them learnt about the Buddha, they went to Sāvatthi (Śrāvasti) to invite the Buddha to Kosambī.   At Sāvatthi, they all heard the Buddha preach and in consequence, they became sotāpannas (stream-entrant, the first stage of awakening). On the invitation being accepted, they built monasteries, namely, Kukkutārāma ​​(DA.i.318), the Ghositārāma (DhA.i.203ff; AA.i.234f.), the Pāvārika-ambavana (DA.i.319) in Kosambī for the Buddha and Saṅgha for their stay and practice. Pali sources imply that during his visits to Kosambī, the Buddha often stayed at Ghositārāma. During one of his stays at Ghositārāma, a dispute between two monks led to a schism-like situation in the Saṅgha. When the Buddha could not persuade the monks to refrain from quarrelling, he left Kosambī alone for the Pārileyyaka forest.  Buddha delivered many sermons at Ghositārāma prominent among those are documented as Kosambīya Sutta, Jāliya Sutta, Sandaka Sutta, Upakkilesa Sutta, Sekha Sutta, Dalhadhamma Jātaka, Kosambī Jātaka and Suripāna Jātaka etc.

Excavations in 1952-67 by Allahabad University within the remains of the Kosambī city revealed a monastic complex spread over an area of over 1.5 acres. Excavation suggests that the monastic site complex was continuously occupied from 6th BCE to 6th CE. In its penultimate form, the monastery consisted of a square quadrangle lined with cells, with a verandah on the inner side enclosing the main stūpa and many other subsidiary stūpas (IAR 1955-56). The main stūpa was built in the 5th BCE. It was enlarged or additions were made to it four times. Major work was carried out during the 3rd enlargement in the 3rd BCE, probably by the Mauryan king Aśoka (IAR 1955-56).

Most importantly, the excavation of the monastic complex revealed a broken sculptural slab of reddish sandstone with a two-line fragmented inscription in Brāhmi script from the first CE reading (Ghosh 1963: 14-17);

 -Bhayaṁtasa Dharasa arhtevāssisa bhikhusa Phagulasa……

-Budh-āvāse Ghoshit-ārāme sava- Budhānāth pujāye śilā kā[ritā]

The inscription which is in the Prakrit language (influenced by Sanskrit) translates into;

‘(This) slab has been caused to be made ….of the monk phagula, the disciple of the reverend Dhara, at the residence of the Buddha in the Ghoshit-ārāma for the worship of all the Buddhas.’

As a consequence of this inscription, it is now believed that the monastic complex (25° 20’ 24” N, 81° 23' 28” E) situated on the SE corner of the ancient city (of Kosambī) are the remains of the ‘Ghositārāma’, the monastery offered by Ghosita to the Buddha (IAR 1953-54).

So the question is, whether this ‘Ghositārāma’ located inside the precincts of the ancient capital city is the same one mentioned in the Pali sources and the one visited by Xuanzang (refer to Fig 3).

The mound of the ancient capital city of Kosambī.

The excavated remains of the monastery (Ghositārāma) in the SE corner of the City.

Fig. 1. General plan of the excavated remains.

Findspot of Ghositārāma inscription marked in the plan. @IAR 1954-55

Fig.2.  Diagram of the broken inscribed slab with conjecturally restored missing part. 

@ Ghosh 1963

The excavated remains of the monastery (Ghositārāma) in the SE corner of the City.

The excavated remains of the monastery (Ghositārāma) in the SE corner of the City.

The monastic site proposed to be the remains of Ghositārāma is situated inside the remains of Kosambī City (the ancient capital city).  As per the Buddhist texts, Veḷuvana, Jetavana, Pubbārāma, Kūtāgārasālā, Pātikārāma, Pavārika Ambāvana, Jīvaka Ambāvana, Nigrodhārāma etc., the monasteries where the Buddha lodged were situated some distance away from the city/habitations.  Patrons of Dhamma donated āramā-s (parks, bamboo groves, mango groves etc.) to the Buddha and Saṅgha for their temporary use or for setting up monasteries at a comfortable distance from habitations, on purpose. Vihāra/ Saṅghārāma were not simply places of dwelling, but places where monks and nuns dwelled with mindfulness. Meditative practice requires a calm and quiet place not too far from the town, nor too near, suitable for accessing an easy commute for all.  Safe places at a small distance from settlements were ideal for the Saṅgha to stay and practice.

Xuanzang in his descriptions of the shrines in Kosambī has comprehensively differentiated the Buddha shrines within the city’s precinct and those outside the city. As per Xuanzang,  the Udayana Temple with the sandalwood image of Buddha and the house of elder Ghoṣila (Ghosita) were situated in the City (Beal 1914: 91; Watters 2004: 368; Rongxi 1996: 139). The monastery of Ghosita and the places associated with Bodhisattva Vasubandhu and Asaṅga as per Xuanzang were ‘not far south of the city’ (Beal 1914:91)/ outside the city on the south-east side (Watters 2004: 369) / not far to the southeast of the City (Rongxi: 1996: 140).

As stated by Xuanzang, we should look for the monastery of Ghosita outside the city in the south or southeast direction.

Alexander Cunningham first proposed the village Gopshasā southeast of the ancient city as the site of the Ghositārāma monastery (refer to Fig. 3). Cunningham was convinced that Kiu-shi-lo i.e., Gosirsha/Gosira, the name of the monastery was preserved in the Gopshasā, the name of the village  (Cunningham 2000: 311-312; Cunningham 1885: 1-3).  Cunningham found fragments of stones and broken bricks in Gopshasā but no structural remains or ancient mounds to substantiate his claims.  Cunningham then proposed the Kosam Khirāj or Hisāmābād neighbouring Gopshasā as the site of Ghositārāma and Aśokan stūpa. Hisāmābād is 600 mts southeast of the ancient city and 900 mt northwest of Gopshasā (refer to Fig. 3).  Cunningham noticed squared stones of all sizes in most houses’ walls in Hisāmābād. He found four plain pillars of two different sizes.  The first was sized  4ft 9in long, with a section of 12.6in by 7in. The second set of pillars was 2ft  9in long with a section of 7in by 3.5in. Cunningham noticed a striking similarity in these pillars found at Hisāmābād with what he had discovered in Mathurā. Cunningham also found a fragment of a corner pillar with mortise holes for the reception of the rails on two adjacent sides at right angles to each other.  Cunningham thought these pillars belonged to the Aśoka stūpa and hair and nails relic stūpa mentioned by Xuanzang (Cunningham 2000: 311-312).

I along with my local host Shri R N Maurya visited Hisāmābād. Walking through the streets we noticed a few dwellings and structures that had repurposed big-sized bricks. But we didn't find any prominent mound of ancient bricks in Hisāmābād village. According to the villagers, the reused big-sized bricks were not removed from any place within the Village. Instead, the villagers pointed to a modest mound 100 meters southwest of the village as their source of the big-sized bricks.  The mound was by the confluence of the river Yamunā and a narrow canal/creek from the north. The mound was 150 meters southeast of the fortification wall of the ancient city. Most likely, the mound contained remains of an ancient port.

We explained what we were looking for, to a few people we met in the streets of Hisāmābād. Most of them pointed towards a mound called Ḍiheā or Gaḍhi (25° 20’ 28” N, 81° 24' 29” E), which was around a kilometre northeast of Hisāmābād near the village Bahudinpur (also Manhāi). The Ḍiheā according to them was the place where we would find big-sized ancient bricks.

Fig.3. Map depicting the ancient city of Kosambī and Hisāmābād, Bahudinpur,

Gopshasā, Ḍiheā mound. 

Fig.4. Map depicting northern and southern mounds of Ḍiheā.

Aerial view of the northern mound, Ḍiheā. ​​Drone Image@ Manish.

Ḍiheā mound with knee-high grass. March 2024.

Ḍiheā mound. March 2024.

Ḍiheā mound when the grass burnt. Broken bricks all over the mound. June 2024.

Aerial view of the northern and southern mound, Ḍiheā. ​​Drone Image@ Manish.

Ḍiheā mound in the middle of agriculture fields. ​​

I noticed two mounds in the middle of agricultural fields. The mounds were around 150 meters south of Bahudinpur (refer to fig 3 and 4). We walked on bunds to reach the mounds. The first mound was approximately 5 feet high on the edges and 6-7 feet high in the centre. The mound was spread over two acres and had dense knee-high grass. I noticed a few plain sandstone 3-4 ft long blocks lying in the grass—one of the sandstone blocks measuring 22-inch X 10-inch had motifs.  The second mound was juxtaposed on the south side of the first mound. The southern mound is around 4 feet high and is spread over roughly three acres. The mound on the south was relatively grass-free, with broken brick fragments scattered all over the mound.  I noticed the exposed bricks on the eastern side were arranged in a hemispherical shape, resembling a stūpa-like structure. On my third visit to the Ḍiheā mound on the 7th of June I noticed the grasses on both mounds were burnt and now I noticed both the mounds had broken bricks of all sizes everywhere. The northern mound appeared like a solid brick structure. The bricks on the mounds and the neighbouring fields were all in fragments. I noticed many brick fragments were three inches thick.  One of the broken bricks I measured was 2.4 inches (thickness) X 8 inches (breadth). 

The bricks on both the mounds are very ancient and what intrigued me the most are some sandstone artefacts found on the mounds. The first artefact is a 22-inch high and 10-inch wide sandstone architectural piece (refer to Fig. 5). The architectural piece is broken and badly damaged. Most likely it had motifs on its two faces. On one of the faces is a sitting lion on the bottom half and a Nāgkesar flower on the upper half. Another face containing a motif is badly mutilated but a similar sitting lion can be seen on the bottom half. It is difficult to ascertain how it was used but the architectural piece is part of some column. The tenon on the fragment suggests it was attached to another architectural piece.

The second architectural fragment is a roundel or medallion containing an animal face motif.  It appears to be part of the crossbar (suchi). The backside of this red sandstone fragment is unadorned, indicating a recommended usage of frontal view only. This medallion from Ḍiheā  Mound, Kosambī is similar to the broken medallion with a fish-tail motif, which I had found in Sankissa (Anand 2020). I noticed a few more crossbar fragments in a sculptural collective in  Bahudinpur. There were many sandstone slabs of different sizes repurposed by the villagers. One of the sandstone slabs I found kept at the house's doorstep had a flower motif. The slab had mortice holes. Villagers informed me they had removed these sandstone slabs from the Ḍiheā mound. 

Dr Jalaj Kumar Tiwary, a senior archaeologist from the Archaeological Survey of India is of the view that all the architectural fragments found at the site are part of railing from the Mauryan (3rd century BCE) to Kushān period (1st century CE). The Nāgkesar Flower motif in the broken column was popular from the Mauryan period to the Gupta period (4th century CE). Dr Elora Tribedy, Asst. Professor, School of Historical Studies, Nalanda University believes the broken column and the crossbar are from the Mauryan period (3rd century BCE).

The presence of this decorative pillar and fragment of cross-bar with medallion of animal motif, strongly suggest the existence of an early shrine, most likely a stūpa at Ḍiheā mound by 300-200 BCE.  I think the fragment of a corner pillar with mortice holes found by Cunningham at  Hisāmābād (2000: 311-312) originally belonged to Ḍiheā. Cunningham also reported ‘numerous fragments of stone and bricks’ in Gopshasā (Cunningham 1885: 3).

I explored Hisāmābād to locate the pillars reported by Cunningham but found none. People in Hisāmābād had no idea about the pillars. Most likely, the pillars documented by Cunningham were later removed from the village for safety issues.

I think Cunningham is right in proposing that Gopshasā, the village's name, is a vestige of Ghosita (Ghositārāma). Gopshasā (25°19’ 49” N, 81° 24' 17” E) is less than a kilometre southwest of  Ḍiheā and until 100 years ago was the nearest settlement to Ḍiheā. Bahudinpur according to village elders is a relatively new village. They all migrated from the neighbouring Hisāmābād around 50-60 years ago. I visited Gopshasā which is still a hamlet as it was during the time of Cunningham (Cunningham 2000: 307) but I didn't find any broken ancient bricks and stone columns reported by Cunningham.

Fig 5. Architectural fragment with seated lion and nāgkesar flower motif.

Fig 5. Architectural fragment with seated lion and nāgkesar flower motif.

Fig 5. Architectural fragment with seated lion and nāgkesar flower motif.

Sandstone columns on the Ḍiheā mound.

Shri Vinod Ji holds part of the crossbar with a medallion containing

an animal face motif. Ḍiheā Mound.

Myself holding an ancient brick. Ḍiheā Mound.

Jawahar Lal Ji holding an ancient brick. Ḍiheā Mound.

An architectural fragment. Village collective, Bahudinpur.

Fragments of crossbar and railing. Village collective, Bahudinpur.

Sandstone slabs removed from Ḍiheā repurposed in Bahudinpur village.

Sandstone slab with flower motif removed from Ḍiheā repurposed in Bahudinpur village.

Mortice holes on the sandstone slab with flower motif.

Exposed bricks are arranged in a hemispherical shape, resembling a stūpa-like structure.

With Rajnath Pande and Jawahar Lal ji. Ḍiheā Mound.

Exposed bricks, Ḍiheā Mound.

Awareness generation regarding Ḍiheā among the younger generation of Bahudinpur.

The circumstantial evidence strongly favours the Ḍiheā mound to be the remains of the monastery of Ghoṣila (Ghosita) mentioned by Xuanzang.  Firstly, Ḍiheā is situated southeast of the capital city as mentioned by  Xuanzang. Secondly,  both mounds, spread over more than five acres, have Buddhist antiquities from the 3rd BCE.

Even so, what happened to the more than 200ft high Aśoka stūpa mentioned by Xuanzang?  Broken columns and crossbar fragments found at Ḍiheā are the proof of a stūpa here in the early centuries before the common era but the Ḍiheā mound is only 7 feet high. It is not big enough to correspond to a 200-foot structure. Xuanzang on many occasions has mentioned visiting towering stūpas but the actual remains at the sites do not match up with the descriptions of Xuanzang. For example, Xuanzang mentions a 400ft high stūpa built by Kanishka at Purushapura (Beal 1914: 63). Shāh-jī-ki-ḍhérī  (the mound of the great king) in Peshawar (ancient Purushpura) identified as the remains of Kanishka stūpa when visited by Alfred Foucher (1865-1952) was nothing more than a mound rising some four or five metres (Foucher 1915: 8). Similarly, Xuanzang visited  200ft stūpas at Kanyākubja, Navadevakula, Ayodhyā, Ayemukha and other places in the Gangetic plains to mark the visit of the Buddha to these places. On my foot journey, I visited Kanyākubja (Anand 2023), Navadevakula (Anand 2023), Ayodhyā (Anand 2024) and Ayemukha (Anand 2024) and I noticed the ancient mounds corresponding to these stūpas mentioned by Xuanzang were less than 50ft high. Xuanzang visited these shrines when they were in their prime. Probably the upper stories or superstructures of these stūpas were made of wood which perished after these shrines and monasteries were abandoned.  Equally, Xuanzang in his descriptions of shrines has so frequently used ‘200ft stūpa’ that I think ‘200ft’ could be a metaphor for an extensive, well-adorned stūpa.

So, if the Ḍiheā mound outside the city represents the Ghositārāma of Xuanzang then what do the monastic remains inside the city represent?

Regrettably, a detailed excavation report of the remains of the monastic site inside the city was never published. A condensed overview of the excavated monastic site comes from the year-wise summary of excavations published in Indian Archaeology, a Review published by the Department of Archaeology (Government of India) and a brief report published in Epigraphica Indica (Ghosh 1963: 14-17).

Ghosh, based on his discussions with G R Sharma, the chief excavator of the monastic site has given some details related to the inscribed slab reading ‘Ghositārāma’ found at the monastic remains inside the city. Here are some important points related to the inscribed slab (Ghosh 1963: 14-17):

  1. The broken slab in all likelihood was square and bore at the centre a pair of footmarks in relief. The partly preserved footmark has the spoked wheel on its sole (refer to Fig. 2).

  2. The broken inscribed slab's extant base and maximum height measured 1 foot 10 inches. If the missing part of the slab is conjecturally restored based on the extant portion, the slab would be 3 feet 2 inches square (refer to Fig. 2). 

  3. The two-line inscription on the toe side of the footmark is only half of the available inscription. 

  4. There is a probability that an inscription may have contained the ruler’s name and the year of the reign on the missing part of the slab depicting the heel side of the footmark.  

  5. The slab was discovered lying on the floor (refer to Fig. 1).  The stratigraphic layer in which the inscribed slab was found was dated 200 CE.  

Paleographically the inscription on the slab fragment is from the latter half of the first century. The inscribed slab was found on the floor stratigraphically dated to 200 CE. Excavations have confirmed the first shrine at the site was the ‘main stūpa’ built in 5th CE. We are not sure if the monastery existed at this site before the 3rd BCE but the excavations have established that the site was active from the 5th BCE to the 6th CE (IAR 1954-55). This implies the inscribed slab was created (1st CE) and damaged (2nd CE) while the monastic site was operational.  Here are some intriguing points to ponder on,  

  1. The broken slab was discovered lying abandoned on the floor. A sacred slab with footprint marks should have been kept on a safe shelf of some shrine or monastic cell on the campus.  

  2. The missing part of the broken inscribed slab was never found.  

  3. Is there any archaeological evidence to support that the slab originally belonged to the monastery (the findspot)? 

  4. Did the archaeologists find any fragments or pieces of the broken slab suggesting the slab was damaged inside the monastic remains (the findspot)?   

Unless these questions are resolved, there is a faint chance that the inscribed slab may not belong to the findspot and may have been brought from another place i.e., the Ghositārāma situated outside the city mentioned by Xuanzang. At the same time, even if the inscribed slab originally belonged to the monastery inside the city (i.e. the findspot) this is relatable to the descriptions of Xuanzang.

The inscription mentions that the slab was installed where the Buddha lived in Ghositārāma (Ghosh 1963:16). According to my observations, the monastic remains discovered in the SE corner of the city should represent the house of Ghosita. As per Xuanzang, the ruins of the old residence of Elder Ghoṣila were situated in the southeast corner of the city. This campus of the old residence of Ghoṣila according to Xuanzang had a Buddhist temple, a stūpa containing the hair and nail relics of Buddha and an old foundation of the bathhouse of the Buddha. Description of Xuanzang implies Buddha may have stayed here in the residential complex of Ghosita, hence there is a bathhouse of the Buddha. Since the complex also had a stūpa containing hair and nail relics of Buddha and other shrines related to Buddha, this may have necessitated a small monk community for the ministrations. It is also conceivable that the house of Ghosita may have been transformed eventually into a monastery. Since this monastery was built at the residence of Ghosita hence the monastery might have the name ‘Ghositārāma’ i.e., monastery of Ghosita.  Xuanzang in early 7th CE saw the old residence of Ghosita in ruins. Excavation has confirmed that the monastic remains inside the city were destroyed in the 6th CE by Huna king Toramāṇa and there was no site continuity after the 6th CE (IAR 1955-56). 

We have enough circumstantial evidence to support the claim that the excavated monastic remains and the house of Ghosita are the same. Excavated monastic remains are in the SE corner of the city and the house of Ghosita was also in the SE corner. There were sacred shrines related to the Buddha in the ‘House of Ghosita’ campus, as mentioned by Xuanzang. Excavated monastic remains also have remains of very ancient stūpas and shrines. Most importantly, Ghositārāma in 7th CE at the time of the visit of Xuanzang was occupied. Still, excavations have confirmed the monastic remains inside the city proposed as  ‘Ghositārāma’ were abandoned in the 6th CE, long before the visit of Xuanzang.  Therefore, monastic remains inside the city cannot be the Ghositārāma of Xuanzang.

The Ashokan Pillar site, Ancient City, Kosambī.

The Ashokan Pillar site and excavated remains of shrines around the Pillar. Drone Image@ Manish.

Ongoing widening of the Highway connecting Kosam- Prayāgrāj. Oct 2023.

An early morning in Kosam. Oct 2023.

Equally, the Aśokan Pillar site should be the site of Udayana Temple. Xuanzang did not mention the Aśokan Pillar in his descriptions of the Udyana Temple. Probably, it skipped his attention or possibly a copyist error as has happened in other places like Prayāga. Aśoka installed monolith pillars with imposing capitals to mark important events associated with the Buddha and it is evident the most important event associated with Kosambī is King Udayana making the first image of the Buddha in sandalwood.  Xuanzang saw a few smaller shrines beside the  Udyana Temple like the places where the four past Buddhas used to sit and walk up and down. A well and bathhouse used by the Buddha. One can see smaller shrines surrounding the Aśokan Pillar. 

There is enough evidence to believe that the Ḍiheā mound represents ancient Ghositārāma. The Ḍiheā mound needs to be examined by competent archaeologists.  People living by Ḍiheā are ignorant of its significance and use it for agricultural cultivation.  I did my best to raise awareness among the people of Gopshasā and Bahudinpur.  There is an imminent need to protect the Ḍiheā Mound.


By far the most important of these is from a statue of the Buddha discovered in March 1934, of which the pedestal bears an inscription dated in the second year of Kanishka's reign. The statue is on view at the Prayāg Museum. Its inscription reads as follows: "In the 2nd year of the reign of Kanishka, Bhikkhuni Buddhimitra put up this Bodhisattva at this place sanctified by the Buddha's several visits."  @ Dr Waman Wankhede, Prayāg Museum.


-I revisited the Ḍiheā mound with Shri Vinod Kumar on March 9th and  May 10th 2024, and Venerable Dhammaratan on June 7th 2024. 

-Retracing Bodhisattva Xuanzang project is humbled by the generosity of Venerable Shravasti Dhammika (Australia) and thankful for his commitment to our cause. Venerable, your support makes a huge impact. 

-Thanks to Shri Surinder Talwar for proofreading the story.

-Thanks to Venerable Dhammaratan, Shri Vinod Kumar (Pachamā,  Kosambī)  and Shri R N Maurya (Fatehpur) for their support in explorations.


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Legge, James.; 1886, Records of the Buddhistic Kingdoms by Chinese monk Fa-Hien. Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc. 

Downloaded from

Rongxi, Li.; 1996, The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions. BDK America, Inc.

Sharma, G. R.; 1960, The Excavations at Kauśāmbī. Allahabad: The Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, University of Allahabad. 

Vost, W.;  1904,  Kausambi. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland,  pp. 249–67. JSTOR, Accessed 7 Jan. 2024.

Watters, Thomas.; 2004, On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India, (Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and  S.W. Bushell), Reprinted in LPP 2004, Low Price Publications, Delhi. 

Abbreviations of Bibliography:

Source of Pāli references:

P.T.S. Means published by the Pāli Text Society.

SHB. Means published in the Simon Hewavitarne Bequest Series (Colombo).

A.           Anguttara Nikaya, 5 vols. (P.T.S.).

AA.  Manorathapūranī, Anguttara Commentary, 2 vols. (S.H.B.).

BuA       Buddhavamsa Commentary (S.H.B.).

D.      Digha Nikāya, 3 vols. (P.T.S.).

DA.     Sumangala Vilāsinī, 3 vols. (P.T.S.).

DhA.     Dhammapadatthakathā, 5 vols. (P.T.S.).

J.           Jātaka, ed. Fausboll, 5 vols.

S.          Samyutta Nikaya, 5 vols. (P.T.S.).

1 comment:

Jalaj Kumar Tiwari said...

Nicely written on the basis of field work.It must be helpful in future researches.Congratulation to Anand D. For providing useful data to us.