Ratnagiri

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Ratnagiri was once the site of a mahavihara, or major Buddhist monastery, in the Brahmani and Birupa river valley in Jajpur district of Odisha, India. It is close to other Buddhist sites in the area, including Pushpagiri, Lalitgiri and Udayagiri.

Ratnagiri monastery in Jajpur district of Odisha crowning flat hill-top is affording a panoramic view of the surrounding might have been chosen for the seclusion for the serene and calm atmosphere necessary for monastic life and meditation studies.

Excavation conducted by Archaeological Survey of India during 1960's yielded the remains of an impressive Stupa (Stupa 1) surrounded by a large number of votive Stupas of varying dimensions, two quadrangular monasteries (Monasteries 1 and 2), a single-winged huge monastery with beautiful carved doorjamb and lintel, spacious open courtyard, cells and verandah facing the courtyard with spacious sanctum enshrining colossal Buddha. The existence of temple with curvilinear tower is only one of its kind discovered in Odisha.

From the impressive remains and large number of sculptures, discovered during excavation, it is clear that the Buddhist establishment of Ratnagiri, dating from circa 5th century CE witnessed a phenomenal growth in religion and architecture till the 13th century CE. Large number of stone sculptures, few bronze and brass image of Buddha and Buddhist pantheon recovered during excavations tend to prove that Ratnagiri was a great Tantric center of Buddhism comparable to that of Nalanda in Bihar.

A large number of clay sealing, found during excavations, bearing the legend Shri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Arya Bhikshu Samghasya have helped in identifying the name of Ratnagiri monastery. By the end of the 13th century CE, it was on decline, decadence is discernible in architecture and sculptural art of Ratnagiri. Through no longer in an affluent condition the Buddhist establishment at Ratnagiri continued till about the 16th century CE.

Ratnagiri was established no later than the reign of the Gupta king Narasimha Baladitya in the first half of the sixth century CE, and flourished until the twelfth century CE. A Tibetan history, the Pag Sam Jon Zang, identifies Ratnagiri as an important center in the development of the Kalachakratantra in the 10th century CE, an assertion supported by the discovery of a number of votive stupas, plaques, and other artifacts featuring Kalachakra imagery.


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