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8th Century Hindu-Buddhist sculptures found near Assam-Mizoram border

8th Century Hindu-Buddhist sculptures found near Assam-Mizoram border

The sculptures were found in Kolalian village within Mizoram's Mamit district, which is adjacent to the Hailakandi district of Assam.

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In a remarkable archaeological discovery, Assistant Professor Dr Ganesh Nandi and researcher Dr Binoy Paul from the Department of Visual Arts at Assam University Silchar have uncovered ancient Hindu and Buddhist-influenced sculptures believed to be approximately 1500 years old. 

These artefacts were located in a hill area near the Assam-Mizoram border after a challenging overnight journey through dense forests.

The sculptures were found in Kolalian village within Mizoram's Mamit district, which is adjacent to the Hailakandi district of Assam. 

The local population, primarily belonging to the Reang Tribes, practices worship of Hindu deities. Dr Nandi noted that the stone works share similarities with those found in Tripura's Unakoti and Pilak, dating back to between the 7th and 9th centuries.

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Among the discoveries was a full-sized idol with a feminine structure, resembling Lord Buddha in attire and style. However, there is some uncertainty as to whether it represents Buddha or a Hindu deity. Dr. Nandi also drew parallels between the art form of this idol and Buddha idols found in Cambodia.

The historical context provided by The Rajmala, an account of the Manikya Kings of Tripura, suggests that these sculptures could date back to the period when the region was under the influence of the Tripura Kingdom. The artistic style of the sculptures is consistent with the Gupta and Paul periods, ranging from 7500-1200 CE.

Local residents have protected these sculptures for generations, worshipping them as Hindu Gods and Goddesses such as Durga, Shiva, Lakshmi, Vishnu, and Ganesh. Unfortunately, much of the original artwork has been lost due to destruction attributed to attacks post-1989 when the region became part of Mizoram.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Guwahati is preparing to explore the site further, with a team from Assam University Silchar set to accompany them. 
This expedition aims to shed light on the historical significance of these sculptures and potentially uncover more artefacts.

These findings not only contribute to our understanding of the region's rich cultural heritage but also underscore the importance of preserving such historical sites. The discovery has the potential to reshape the history of Barak Valley and its surroundings, emphasizing the need for detailed research and protection of these ancient treasures.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Dec 09, 2023