Archaeological Survey of India Current Affairs - 2019
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According to a notification issued by Union Ministry of Culture, Chaukhandi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist site located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been declared as ‘protected area of national importance’ by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
For declaring the stupa as protected area government sought public feedback on 8 March 2019 for a period of two months.
About Chaukhandi Stupa
- Name: The Stupa is known as ‘Chaukhandi’ becaause of its four armed plan.
- The stupa is an ancient Buddhist site which evolved from burial mounds and served as a shrine for a relic of Buddha. It appears to be in ruins and was originally constructed in 5th Century AD.
- It also finds mention in account of Hiuen Tsang, celebrated Chinese traveler of 7th century AD.
- It is widely belived that Stupa was originally built as a terraced temple during Gupta period (4th-6th centuries AD) to mark the site where Lord Buddha traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath was reunited with panchavargiya bhikshus (Budhha’s five companions) who had previously deserted him at Rajgir.
- After Gupta’s the stupa’s architecture was altered by Govardhan, son of Raja Todarmal, who modified stupa to its present shape by building an octagonal tower in commemoration of Humayun (Mughal ruler) visit.
- Current Structure: Stupa is a high earthen mound covered with brickwork, to which stands atop a terraced rectangular plinth and it is capped by an octagonal Mughal tower. It is maintained, conserved and preserved by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Art: Some images of Buddha, such as the image of buddha in dharmachakra pravartana mudra and other statues found during excavations at this Stupa are believed to be rare artefacts and classic examples of art from Gupta period.
Tags: Archaeological Survey of India • Bodh Gaya • Buddha • Chaukhandi Stupa • Dharmachakra Pravartana Mudra • Govardhan • Gupta period • Hiuen Tsang • Humayun • Panchavargiya Bhikshus • Protected Area of National Importance • Raja Todarmal • Sarnath • Union Ministry of Culture
India and Portugal will cooperate in setting up of a national maritime heritage museum at ancient Indian site of Lothal in Gujarat. Lothal (literally means the mound of dead) was one of port cities of Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization).
- Background: In March 2019 Government of India allocated a grant for building maritime museum and foundation stone for project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Then during Portuguese Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho visit to India in April 2019, initial discussions were held between India and Portugal for developing maritime museum.
- Feature: The proposed maritime museum in Indian is likely to come up on lines of similar museum at Lisbon, which is administered by Portuguese Navy.
- Implementing agencies: Museum Project will be implemented by Union Ministry of Shipping through its Sagarmala programme, along with involvement of State government, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other stakeholders.
- Indian Navy is also keen to be a stakeholder in project and Portuguese Navy has agreed to assist the former with their experience of administering maritime museum in Lisbon.
- It will showcase and preserve India’s rich and diverse maritime heritage.
- It also seeks to highlight ancient shipbuilding and navigational technologies developed by India.
Portugal is home to the Navy Museum (a maritime museum) in Lisbon, which is administered by Portugal Navy. So the two countries discussed that India could also follow the similar mode. Soon a Defence Ministry-led delegation would also be visiting Portugal to study existing museum in Lisbon.
Tags: Archaeological Survey of India • India-Portugal • Indus Valley Civilization • João Gomes Cravinho • Lisbon • National Maritime Heritage Museum • Navy Museum • Portuguese Defence Minister • Sagarmala Programme • Union Ministry of Shipping