Saturday, November 3, 2012





The Buddhist Stupas and remains of an ancient Buddhist monastery have been excavated at AMBRAAN village near Akhnoor town . The excavations are being carried out exactly below the new bridge over River Chenab just 28 km from Jammu city .The place is approachable via Janipora – Agore road or Dumana -Akhnoor road .

"  It was in 1973-74 that the villagers approached Archeological Survey of India and informed that some strange constructions are hidden beneath the soil. Though small scale excavations were started in 1974 , yet massive work was undertaken in 2001 only and a treasure turned up linking Jammu with ancient Buddhist civilization. These are the remains of a Buddhist monastery that was active for about 900 years between the second century BC and seventh century AD, a period belonging to the pre-Kushan, Kushan, and post-Kushan Gupta eras.”said Mr Bhat who was supervising the excavation and maintenance at the site on 22.03.2012.

His Holiness Dalai Lama too visited the site in November 2011 and confirmed that the remains belong to an ancient Buddhist monastery. Locals give due credit to Dr B R Mani from Archeological Survey of India for taking up the excavations on a massive scale in 2001.

“ Dr Mani put this village on world map. We saw broken terracotta pots , rusted iron tools, beads ,silver and gold ornaments , moulds ,tiles and coins being dug out. Sir, this digging is presently confined to this enclosure only . We believe that many more surprises shall emerge if this entire area is dug.” said an ex-serviceman who  talkef to us .

The site is exactly on the bank of river chenab and I could see some Buddhist students from  Ladakh ( currently studying at Jammu  )enjoying the scenic view of River chenab near the site .Many Buddhists from our state and outside have been visiting the site regularly.
“ Many Buddhists now come to this place . We have put up some photographs of the excavations carried out by Dr Mani’s team in 2001 in that room. You can see some images similar to a  Chinar leaf . This civilization has a linkage with the Buddhist civilization of Kashmir especially the Burzohama and Harwan. Perhaps this must have been the last post of the Buddhist civilization . See this digging photo . See those photographs of terracotta human body parts like the feet , palm and leg. The most significant findings from the site include stupas, a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, made of high quality baked bricks and surrounded by stone pathways, meditation cells and rooms.A three-layer casket set of copper, silver and gold containing bone relics and ornaments is another major finding of our excavations ” added Mr Bhat .

I also saw some artifacts from this excavation at the Dogra Art Gallery in Jammu.

 And something about Akhnoor town . Located 28 km from Jammu city , the town lies on the banks of river Chenab ( Chanderbhaaga ) . With Pakistan border just 10 km away , the town has a sizeable presence of army . The old fort dominates the town. It was at Akhnoor that the ‘Raj Tilak’ ceremony of Gulab Singh ( who went on to rule the state of Jammu and Kashmir ) was performed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh .

(  Photo And Text by Avtar Mota )


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