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A city flourished around 1,800 years ago at Nagarjunakonda, the Hill of Nagarjuna. A great religious and educational center of Brahmanism and Buddhism, one of the names it had then was Vijayapuri, after king Vijaya Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty. Thereafter a capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty (225-325 CE), it fell into terminal decline after the demise of the last Ikshvaku king. A teacher, S Venkataramayya, discovered the ruins of the ancient city in 1926. Much of it now lies under one of the largest manmade lakes in the world, Nagarjuna Sagar, formed in 1960 by the Nagarjuna Sagar dam across the Krishna River. Archaeological digs in 1926–60 turned up finds from the early Stone Age to medieval times, spread over 130 sites across 24 sq km. Many structures were moved and reassembled on what is now an island on the lake, as well as on the lake’s eastern bank at Anupu (much like the ‘saving’ of Abu Simbel from the Aswan Dam in Egypt).
The island’s modern name was inspired by one of its most illustrious citizens, Nagarjuna, a Buddhist monk-philosopher and founder of the ‘Middle Path’ school, who most likely lived there sometime in 150-250 CE. Called by some ‘the second Buddha’, Nagarjuna’s work is indispensable to several Buddhist schools, particularly Mahayana. ‘Nagarjuna’s philosophy represents something of a watershed not only in the history of Indian philosophy but in the history of philosophy as a whole,’ writes Douglas Berger, a scholar of Southasian thought, ‘as it calls into question certain philosophical assumptions so easily resorted to in our attempt to understand the world.’ (Read More)
Ancient University Complex at Anupu ▒
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