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Terracotta plaques at Vikramshila are almost destroyed.

We will be the great looser : era of apathy destroying Vikramshila’s sculptures


November 28th, 2019

Our Bureau /

Prolong apathy and negligence has finally started casting its bad impact on the century old heritage and the edifices engraved on the debris that once excavated as parts of ruins of Vikramshila Buddha Mahavihara, the ancient sit of learning.

Damaged engraved items make visitors disappointed.

One of the prestigious philanthropically acclaimed Indian heritage which once spread the rays of education as well as Buddhist philosophy across the world, also known for the exemplary craft works; stone idols and Terracotta plaques on the walls of the building of the world varsity. “The excellent works, particularly the Terracotta plaques produced during Pala dynasty, are some memorable moment in Indian history…” many eminent historians attributed.

Some unique plaques on the walls of Vikramshila.

Unfortunately, the existing few finest testimony of the ancient time depicted on the edifices of half-excavated Vikramshila Mahavihara, are now almost in a ruin stage. Due to lack of proper maintenance and lack of any proper conservation measures, the Terracotta plaques are rapidly decaying. More than 90 percent of such Terracotta plaques have almost destroyed. Since all the edifices including the inscribed Terracotta plaques have to lay under the open sky since the excavation works in mid-seventies, air, rain water and Sun light caused immense damage on it, concerned experts claimed.

“Every Terracotta plaque speaks volumes of stories in retrospect of Buddhist philosophy and the contemporary history of the time when the full-flagged University was in function. This should be protected for the sake of the evidences of history,” acclaimed Shiv Shanker Singh Parijat, a retired bureaucrat in Bihar government and the author of biography of Dipanker Srighyan Atisa.

Unprotected ruins …?

Though there is base camp of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the half-excavated site of Vikramshila but its promptness in the direction of conservation of such precious historical and archaeological evidences are in question. “We have time to time expedited conservation drives with modern scientific measures here,” the ASI men at the site claimed.

The museum of ASI at the vicinity of the half-excavated site of Vikramshila however manages to protect the sculptures and others things which once dug out below the soil. But the items like Terracotta plaques

Swadin Sen, noted archaeologist from Bangladesh along with Elora Dwivedi, a research fellow from India raised question on the conservation measures by the department concerned here. Sen was very much upset to witness the on going conservation drive at the south-eastern side of the half-excavated edifices of Vikramshila.

Noted archaeologist and deputy director, Bihar Heritage Development Society, Patna, Anantashoush Dwivedi and Neelima Thattes from Pune visited Vikramshila on February 2019. Interestingly, nothing was changed even their visit to the site.

Former director of ASI, Md. K K who recently visited Vikramshila also acknowledged his concern over the current state of affairs at the half-excavated site. “Not only conservation of the ancient ruins but promoting tourism in term of placing the place in the map of Indian tourism is highly essential to assure this unique heritage’s existence in coming time,” he underlined.

Md. K K at Vikramshila site.

“It’s very unfortunate that we are unable to protect out heritage. All the Terracotta plaques which I witnessed early  some 10-12 year back, today have been damaged completely,” painfully narrated Prem Mani Dorogi, a religious tourist who visited Vikramshila frequently from Sikkim.

New Year’s revelers at Vikramshila.

N K Jaisawal, convener of Vikrsmshila Nagric Samity (VNC), a Kahalgaon based voluntary body fighting for the cause of Vikramshila lambasted public representatives for their failure to mount pressure on the government for placing  Vikramshila in the tourist road-map. “We have been fighting but now it’s the time to hammer the government for the cause of it. And political pressure is highly required,” Jaisawal observes.

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