Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh, India


"I then visit Nagarjunakonda, a lost world found in 1920. Once called Vijayapuri, it was the capital of the Ikshvaku Kingdom (c. 220–320 CE) that traded with Rome and whose Buddhist institutions were mainly patronized by wealthy women. Among its remains is the only amphitheatre found in ancient India. I take an imaginary walk through the ancient city and consider the ideas of Nagarjuna, founder of the ‘Middle Path’ school of Mahayana Buddhism—best known for the concept of shunyata—and one of the greatest philosophers of all time."

—From the Introduction of Namit Arora's The Land beyond the Sindhu: Journeys Through Early India, forthcoming from Penguin.


Passenger Ferry, Vijayapuri

Approaching
Nagarjunakonda (1, 2)

Island map

Ferry boat at the island

Great Stupa, Nagarjunakonda
View from the north (info)

Contained a bone relic
of the Buddha (more)

Once 70–80 feet high and
over 100 feet wide

Patronized by prominent
women (1, 2)

Once had finely carved
relief sculpture

View from the south

Megalith -- burial site (info)

Megalith -- burial site (info)

Kurma Chitti tank (info)

"Tortoise shaped" tank,
where horse was sacrificed

Tank for ritual bathing, incl.
after Aswamedha (1, 2)

Swastika stupa (1, 2, info)

Simhala Vihara complex
(info, 1, 2, 3)

Monastery for Sri Lankan
monks (1, 2)

Chaitya Griha with giant
statue of the Buddha

Decorated pillars of the
central courtyard (1, 2)

Standing Buddha (more)

Apsidal Chaitya griha
(more)

Monastery cells (more)

Original is in the museum

Chaitya Griha built by
queen Bodhisri (info)

Chaitya Griha built by
queen Chamtisiri (more)

 

Votive stupa (more)

Once part of a monastery
(info)

Medieval Jain shrine (more)

Medieval Jain shrine (more)

Water well

Medieval fort wall (more)

Ancient bathing ghat (info)

Ghat of Vijayapuri (1, 2)

Ornate steps (1, 2)

~1800-year-old ghat

Medieval Hindu temple

Medieval Hindu temple

Local vegetation

Heaped stones or ?

Landscape (1, 2)

Visitor

Sombody's house

Remains near ferry point

Ferry between island
and Vijayapuri South

Vijayapuri South
main square

Circle view

BR Ambedkar

Autorickshaw ride

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam (1)

Meager flow (1, 2, 3)

Water channel near Dam

Road across Dam

Official "history blurb"

Wild boar

Family going downhill (1, 2)

Pictures of Nagarjunakonda island in this shaded inset are from January 2006

Nagarjuna Sagar

Medieval Hindu temple

Island vegetation

Museum

Hindu temple

Megalith

Simhala Vihara

The Buddha of Sri Lanka

The Buddha

Chaitya, or Buddhist
prayer hall / temple

Simhala monastery for
Sri Lankan monks (more)

Pillar detail

Bodhi Sri Chaitya

Chamtisri Chaitya Griha

Medieval temple

Landscape

Maha stupa

Landscape

Ritual bathing site (info)

Horse sacrifice point

Bathing ghat

Serpent in stone

Swastika stupa


Remains of a stupa? (more)

Posing tourists

West view from dam

East view from dam

Cop

       

Ancient "University" Complex at Anupu

Monastery complex? (info)

Home to Nagarjuna?

Monks' residential cells

Stupa next to monastery

Stepping stones into a
monk's cell

Monks' residential cells

Stone walls

Rooms of the monastery

Carved pillar

Central courtyard with pillars

Monks's residential cells

 

Carved pillar

Monastery front

Apsidal chaitya

Apsidal chaitya (more)

Stone pedestal

Another monastery

Pillared hallways with
central courtyard (more)

Courtyard and monks'
cells (more)

A bigger hall in the rear

Ancient corridor

A shared toilet

A shared toilet

Outer rooms

Stupa by the monastery

Stupa by the monastery

Hariti goddess temple (info)

Protector of children (info)

Approaching amphitheater

The Amphitheater of
Vijayapuri (info)

One amphitheater found
in ancient India (more)

Well-designed acoutics,
could seat a thousand

Royalty sat above in a
pillared pavillion (1, 2)

Space for public debates,
religious discourses ...

... music and theatre acts,
wrestling contests (more)

Likely inspired by Ikshvaku
contacts with Rome

Temple structures on top

Pillar carving

Hariti shrine on top (more)

Once a pillared hall on top

Pictures of Anupu in this shaded inset are from January 2006

Medicine school

Rooms

Lecture hall

Chaitya

Mas ruinas

Pillar detail (more)

Stupa base

Amphitheater

       

ASI Museum on Nagarjunakonda Island (2018)

Museum building

Museum hall
(info1, info2)

Guard napping in the
afternoon

Tourists approaching
the museum

"Transportation of Bodhisattva
Siddhartha's crown to the
heaven by devatas" (info)

Standing Buddha
(info, in situ)

Yaksha Shankanidhi (info)

A model of the Maha
Stupa (more)

Museum main hall

Bust of Buddha (info)

Bust of Yaksha (info)

Buddha's first sermon
at deer park (info)

Storage jar (info)

Stupa slab: worship of
Bodhi tree (info)

Sanskrit inscription in
Brahmi script (info)

Mother goddess (info)

"A legend of Madhu-Bindu and scenes from Mandhatu jataka" (info)

"Subjugation of Naga
apala" (info)

"Unknow persons abducting
a boy at nighttime,
and a war scene" (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

"Inscribed pillar, Sanskrit
in Brahmi script" (info)

"Buddha" (info)

"Stupa-slab: Standing
Bodhisattva Padmapani" (info)

"Indra visiting Buddha"
(info)

Prakrit inscription (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Scenes from Buddhist
stories (info)

Amorous couple (info)

Amorous couple (info)

Hariti (info)

Mandapa pillar depicting
social life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from emperor
Mandhata's life (info)

Pillar showing Scythian
figures (info)

Pillar showing Scythian
figures (info)

Pillar showing Scythian
figures (info)

 

Ikshvaku royal geneology

Pillar showing scenes
from social life (info)

Pillar showing scenes
from social life (info)

Pillar showing scenes
from social life (info)

Stupa-slab: "Vassantara"
jataka (info)

Scenes from the Buddha's life and amorous couples (info)

(info)

(info)

(info)

(info)

(info)

Gallery V (II and IV)

Drum slab: "Sasa"
jataka (info)

Moonstone with a frieze
of running animals (info)

Nagarjunakonda valley map

Topographic map (info)

Topographic map (more)

Simhala Vihara model

Stadium model

Buddha and Naga
apala (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

"Gateway pillar" (more, info)

Scenes from the life of Sumedha, Dipankara Buddha, and Nanda (info)

(info)

(info)

(info)

Amorous couple (info)

(info)

Stupa-slab: Protection of Buddha
by Naga Muchilinda (info)

Stone age artifacts

Stone age artifacts

Deva sena (info)

Sati (info)

Stupa-slab (info)

Five-headed Naga
Muchilinda (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Scenes from the
Buddha's life (info)

Mithuna (info)

Mithuna (info)

Mithuna (info)

 



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