29th April 2018.
During my recent visit to Kanchipuram on 29th April 2018, to see the Buddha statues in and around Kanchipuram. The Capital City of Pallava reign, once flourished with Buddhism, now has only few Buddha Statues scattered here and there as a remains of Buddhism. The first royal patron of Buddhism in the Tamil land was by Asoka and somebody claims his Son and missionary monk Mahinda. They built stupas at Kanchi in 3rd century BC. According to the Tamil classic, Manimekhalai, king Killivalan built a Buddha Vihara at Kanchi. Up to 6th Century Buddhism was patronized by the Pallava Kings. It is believed that several famous Buddhist monks lived in Kanchipuram which includes Bodhidharma, Buddhadutta, Dhammapala, Dignana, and Buddhaghosa.
During the reign of the Pallava king, Narasimhavarman II (c. 700-728 or 69s,.722), a Buddhist Vihara was constructed at Nagapattam exclusively for the Chinese marine traders known as Chinese monastery and the same was recorded by Marco Polo in 1292 AD during his visit to Tamil Nadu. After Pallava, Buddhism started declining and the same was revived during Chozha reign. King Rajaraja extended support to Buddhist institutions. During his rule, he encouraged Sri Mara unagavarman, the Sailendra ruler of Sri Vijaya) to build a Buddha Vihara at Nagapattinam called Chutamani Vihara. This Vihara existed till late 17th century.
The Buddhists seem to have been successful from 3rd century BC, but the religion began to decline after the seventh century. As per the historians this may be due to the lack of royal patronage and raise of Tamil Shaivite Bhakthi movement by the Saints like Appar, Thirugana Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikavasakar.
We had seen the Buddha Statues at Karukkinil Amarnthal Amman temple, Reliefs on the Pillars of Thurukachinerikaraikadu and Kachabeswarar temples, in the previous posts of this blog as remains of Buddhism. Some more remains of Buddhism in and around Kanchipuram are covered in this post also.
BUDDHA STATUE AT GOVT. C M SUBBARAYA MUDALI HIGHER SECONDAR SCHOOL, KANCHIPURAM
This Buddha belongs to 6th century and the same was un-earthed during digging for a well. It was told that the Buddha was sitting under a sarakondrai tree. The tree along with Buddha was uprooted during 1964 cyclone and Buddha was straightened latter. It was also told devotes offer pooja on pournamai/ full moon days. Buddha is in seated posture with hands are Dhyana mudra. Ushnisha above his head is shown like a flame.
These Buddha reliefs might have been brought from dilapidated Buddhist temple in Kanchipuram. This group has 7 reliefs of which 3 nos are chiseled on a single stone. Two reliefs are made like devakoshtam with pilasters and Thiruvasi or manicharam. This is a unique feature of Buddha statues available in Thondai mandalam.
BUDDHA STATUE AT SHIVA KANCHI POLICE STATION.
This 10th century Buddha is in a seating posture on a lotus pedestal with hands in dhyana hastham. Ushnisha is also shown like flame over his head. A small canaopy was erected by Mr Walter Devaram, then the inspector General of Police during 1992.
This 6th century Buddha is in a Vinayagar Temple along with a recently unearthed Thirthangarar from a farmland. Buddha is seated on a pedestal supported by 3 squatting Lions. One of the special feature of this Buddha is, along with ushnisha, a manicharam or the thiruvasi also shown on his back of his head. A Dharmachakra stone is also found on the end of the street opposite to the Vinayagar Temple.
BUDDHA STATUES AT PALLUR NEAR ARAKONAM.
This three Buddhas are unearthed from a farmland by a farmer Nagappan about 90 years before. All the three Buddhas belongs to 6th century and looks in good condition. They are now housed in a shelter constructed by Thai Buddhists. After facing lot of problems in protecting the Statues, Temple and the land by the Villagers, the temple is being taken care of by Mr Muthukumar, the son of Mr Nagappan.
The first Buddha on the left is little smaller than the Middle Buddha. Hands are in dhyana hastham. Ushnisha is beautifully shown along with a manicharam behind both ears. The neck wrinkles clearly shows the enlightenment age of Buddha.
The Middle Buddha is bigger and tallest of all the three with hands in dhyana hastham. Along with beautiful ushnisha, a Thiruvasi or the manicharam like makara thorana is shown on the back of the full head. The neck wrinkles clearly shows the enlightenment age of Buddha.
The third Buddha on the right side is little different from the other two. Looks cute. Smaller of all the three without Thiruvasi or manicharam. Buddha is in a seated position with left hand in dhyna hastham and right hand is in bhoomi sparsha hastham, shows the Budhha’s enlightenment. The neck wrinkles clearly shows the enlightenment age of Buddha.
---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---