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Amravati:the remains of the Buddhist influence in the Satavahana period include majestic carvings, chaityas, viharas, murals and panels

Amaravati, lies on the right bank of river Krishna. It is the ruins of a 2000 year old Buddhist settlement and the great Buddhist stupa, that draws archaeologists and pilgrims in large numbers. Today in South India, Buddhists consider it the most sacred pilgrim center.

The grand carvings depicting scenes of everyday life of Buddha in the Satvahna period, chaityas, viharas, murals and panels are the surviving remnants of the Buddhist influence. Amaravati also houses a temple, dedicated to Lord Amarewara.

Amaravati was the capital of the Satavahana dynasty which ruled for four centuries. Buddhism appears in Amaravati, apparently influenced by the Kushanas of Mathura. Amaravati is famed for its Great Stupa larger than the one at Sanchi that stood at this place around 2000 years ago locally called, the Mahastupa and is also known as 'Deepaladinne', or 'Mound of lamps'. An emissary of Emperor Ashoka, who went to propagate Buddhism in the region, laid the foundation of this great stupa at Amravati.

It was a brick built circular vedica and platforms projecting in four cardinal directions. It is 6 ft. high and is made of marble and is the largest in South India. Carved railings seem to have been erected around a brick-cored chaitya or temple. The dome has a drum which is 192 feet dia. with an outer railing. The stupa is 95 ft. high.

The carvings in relief adorn the stupa both inside and outside and also on the base surrounding the drum. The stupa is kept at the Government Museum, Chennai (Madras). Buddha is shown in a human form on the circular panel subduing an elephant (based on a story of Devadatta, Buddha's cousin sending the elephant to attack the Buddha). A museum at Amaravati houses a few remains from the stupa.

The Museum here must be seen by the tourist which is open between 10 am to 5 pm on all the days except Fridays. Some of the displays were excavated from the site itself.

HOW TO GET THERE

Taxis and buses are available from Guntur (32 km). The nearest railheads are Guntur and Vijayawada. The nearest airport is Vijayawada (82 km).

TRAIN The nearest railway station is at Guntur which is well connected with all parts of Andhra Pradesh and also with Bangalore, Calcutta, New Delhi and Mumbai (via. Vijayawada).

BUS APSRTC operates buses to Amaravati from Guntur and Vijayawada. The frequency from Guntur (36 Kms from amaravati) is regular (every 15min to hour). Also buses are operated from other important cities in Andhra Pradesh.

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