TAXILA, Nov 23: Archaeologists have discovered different pieces of sculptures dating back to 3rd – 5th century AD during excavation and preservation of Jinnan Wali Dehri Buddhist Monastery and Stupa, about 13 kilometers north of Taxila.The Deputy Director of Archeology and incharge of the Archeological department Taxila, Mr. Mohammad Bahadur Khan said the Jinnan Wali Dehri site on the left bank of Haro River was destroyed by white Huns in 6th century AD. It became a victim of illegal diggers and treasurer hunters after partition. Even though the diggers and treasure hunters did a lot of escavation and took a lot of materia, an area between the main stupa court and the monastery remained intact. Recently during excavation of a votive stupa adorned with eight stucco sculptures was unearthed around the stupa.
The base of this 3×3 metre votive stupa was also badly damaged by the white Huns, the destroyers of the Gandhara civilization who came from the west between 6th to 8th centry. The chinese pilgrims described that they burned the monastries and killed the monks and Sculptures.
On the east, west, south and north, three stucco sculptures adorned on all directions. Upper parts of all the sculptures were damaged but the lower parts, from the lap, survived. These sculptures of Buddha are seated in different poses i.e Dhiyan?Mudra (Meditantion) and Bhmesphara Mudra (touching the earth). Two heads on Indra and Brhman were also discovered from the south-eastern edge of the main stupa court.
Talking to this correspondent, the head of the excavation and preservation team, Abdul Ghafoor Lone, said for the first time the department had excavated the site during 2002-2004 and discovered 17 cells of this Buddhist monastery and stupa. He said a remarkable discovery made at this site was a Buddhist mural painting which he claimed was for the first time discovered from any site in Pakistan. This was a handmade painting on stucco plaster believed to be depicting Lord Buddha surrounded by his followers. Other discoveries included fair quantity of minor antiquities like coins of the Kushan dynasty including Kanishka, Vasudeva, Kidara Kushans and one silver coin of the White Huns; glass and shell bangles, stone and terracotta beads, earthenware storage jars, bowls and small spouted pots, metal objects consisting of large copper bells, iron aero heads, fragments of daggers and spearheads and nails, stucco heads of Buddha and Bodhisattva.
Keeping in view the importance and significance of this site, the US government through its cultural wing at the Islamabad embassy has approved a grant of $31000 for the restoration, conservation, preservation and publication of the site. He said the project would be completed by December.