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Kuruma : An ancient Buddhist Site near Konark, a nice blog with details by Ashish Sarangi


It feels really very exciting when you make reading and travelling your hobby. And believe me then only you will be able to co relate the things.

One fine day, I was reading a pdf file of Odisha Govt. and I came to know about a place called Kuruma, an ancient Buddhist site. I decided to go to that place to explore more. This site is located 8.6 kms to the south-east of the famous Sun Temple at Konark in the district of Puri, Odisha. First, you have to go to famous Sun Temple Konarka. From there you just move on to Balidokan, which is just 7.3 km on Konarka-Kakatpur road.

From Balidokan square, just turn left to go to Kuruma, which is 1.3 km from there.

The Dharma Pokhari or the Pond of Dharma is located nearby the site.

Prior to this excavation, a stone slab containing the beautiful figure of Buddha was lying on the bank of this tank. Later on, this image was replaced and enshrined in a newly built shed. Besides the Buddha image, other two images were found near the tank as they were placed by the side of the said image. One of these figures is indentified with ‘Heruka’. Local people call this image as ‘Dharma’ (the Sun God ) and another image is named as ‘Jama’(the God of Death).

Therefore, some people also named this village as JamaDharama.

The beautiful Buddha image depicted on the stone slab is unique of its kind in whole Orissa. Here Buddha is seated cross-legged with right hand in Bhumisparsa mudra while the left hand placed over the left knee. A profusedly carved necklace is adorning the neck of the image. The image wears a beautiful crown which is unique for its plasticity.

The Avalokitesvara image is seated on a lotus. The petals of the flower is well carved. The lotus seat or padmasana is over an apron of the height of 10″. The height of the stone slab containing the image is 7′ and its breadth is 3′.

Another image of Buddhist pantheon represents ‘Revanta’.

Some Archeological Findings

The trial excavation of the site at Kuruma was conducted by State Department of Archaeology in 1974–75.

The excavation was carried upto the average depth of 3 meters. Contemporary brick structures of the average size of 4.25 meters in length and 1.85 meters in height have been recovered from the two trenches.

In the above picture, you can also see a small temple like structure.

The Prayer Hall or ChaityaGriha.

A chaitya is a Buddhist shrine or prayer hall with a stupa at one end. In modern texts on Indian architecture, the term chaitya-griha is often used to denote an assembly or prayer hall that houses a stupa.

The steps of the excavated monastery are relatively small and we can think that this school of Buddhism may be for small children. Also as a science student, I can think in alternate way. Small steps helps in Energy Conservation. This energy you can utilise in other various works.

An ancient brick wall measuring 29 meters in length was exposed in the western side of the mound. This brick wall consists of 7 layers of brick of the average size of 22 x17 x 7 cm. The composition of the two common layers underlining the structure are mostly of hard clay and brick bats. After digging upto the depth of 2.49 meters, three ovens, rectangular in shape were discovered in the ground level. The discovery of such ovens in one place probably indicates the habitation area of the concerned period. The antiquities recovered are mainly pottery of red ware and beads. The present findings have been tentatively assigned to c. 9th/10th century A.D.

Debala Mitra informs that the place name ‘Kuruma” reminds of the ‘Kuruma Stupa’ of Odradesha illustrated on the manuscript №1643 (dated 1015 A.D.) of the Cambridge University Library.

Kuruma & Jayadeva

Jayadeva (born around ~1170 CE), also known as Jaidev, was a samskrit poet during the 12th century. Born in a brahmin family, he is most known for his epic poem Gita Gobinda. This text depicts the divine love of Krishna and his consort, Radha. This poem, which presents the view that Radha is greater than Hari, is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement.

A Brahmin by birth, he was born in the village of KenduliSasan in Odisha. From temple inscriptions it is now known that Jayadeva received his education in Sanskrit poetry from a place called Kurmapataka, possibly near Konarka in Odisha.

Due to the close proximity of Kuruma — Kenduvilva Sasan or Kenduli Sasan, it has been widely accepted that Jayadeva had a formal education in this school. Also Jayadeva had been a member of the teaching faculty of the school at Srikurmapatak, where he gained experience in composition of poetry and music and in dancing. The inscriptions of Lingraj temple, Bhubaneswar, Madhukeswar temple at Mukhalingam & Simhaachalam, AP reveals such things. Intrestingly, these inscriptions were read by Dr. Satyanarayan Rajaguru who is considered as the Pitamaha Bhisma of historians and linguists of Orissa. Now are this Kuruma and Srikurumapataka are same? Well it is widely accepted that both are same.

Kuruma is much more important for its strategic location, due to its proximity to Konark. Not only it is important from archaeological angle but also from tourism point of view. But one thing still makes me curious that really Kuruma or Srikurmapataka have some relation with the Black Pagoda — KONARKA….if yes then what???

Read more of Ashish Blogs here