Kothapalli (Inde): Ancient Dharmachakra, rock inscription unearthed

Source - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Ancient-Dharmachakra-rock-inscription-unearthed-in-AP/articleshow/51934197.cms

In a major discovery, officials of the AP archaeology department have unearthed a Dharmachakra carved out in stone at A Kothapalli village of Thondangi mandal in East Godavari district. They have also discovered a number of Buddhist relics including rock inscription in Brahmi script.

DharmachakraToi photo

Unlike the popular Dharmachakra with 24 spokes depicted in the Indian flag, the one discovered at A Kothapalli bears 32 spokes. The Dharmachakra was carved out in a large rock with Brahmi script on its side. There are also other Buddhist depictions on the rock. A team of senior officials visited the site on Wednesday and Thursday .

"The Dharmachakra was not separately carved in the rock. It forms part of a rock panel with 32 spokes. We can describe it as a spoked wheel. We have also found four stone stupas of varying sizes. All these relics date back to the pre-Satavahana to Satavahana period. They were probably carved out between the 2nd century CE and the 4th century CE. We are analysing the script," said AP archaeology director GV Ramakrishna Rao. This is the third Dharmachakra with 32 spokes discovered in the country in recent times. Earlier, a similar stone-carved Dharmachakra was unearthed at Kanaganahalli-Sannati archaeological site in Karnataka. A terracotta Dharmachakra with 32 spokes was excavated at Lumbini in Nepal.
Historical records show that the Dharmachakra in the middle of the Ashoka's Lion Capital apparently had 32 spokes. However, the four small Dharmachakras below the Lion Capital contained 24 spokes. The 32 spokes symbolically depict the qualities or attributes of an ideal human being or the Maha Purusha. Several villages in Thondangi and Tuni mandals in East Godavari district are well known Buddhist sites. The tiny village of Adurru in particular has the Maha Stupa. Historians consider it as the first of the three famous Buddhist Maha Stupas in India, the other two being at Sarnath and Sanchi.

Buddhism had flourished in several villages falling under the Godavari and the Krishna deltas and their immediate upstream region in Andhra Pradesh, but the sites at Adurru, A Kothapalli and Amaravati are considered important. North-coastal Andhra too contains a number of historical sites. Ironically, all of them lay in ruins. However, Amaravati is drawing some attention after the AP government named the new capital after an ancient Buddhist village.
Archaeology officials said the Brahmi script found at A Kothapalli site will be referred to experts for decipherment.