Wah Cantt - The archaeologists have made unique and rare discovery of a huge statue depicting “death scene of Buddha,” which is biggest ever in the archaeological history of Gandhara, besides making another remarkable discovery of “image of Buddha with double halos” which was never found before in history during excavations at UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhamala of Taxila valley.

Director General Department of Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdul Samad while talking to APP here on Saturday said that UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhamala Buddhist complex enjoys an extremely important geographical location as it connected Taxila valley with Kashmir ran. He added that it is one of the very few sites to have a cruciform Stupa, a Stupa that was usually reserved for Buddha himself.

Revealing details about new discoveries made at the site, Dr Samad said that the death scene of Buddha known as “Maha Pari Nirvana” made of Kanjur stone measuring 14 meter in length is the largest ever death scene of Buddha ever discovered in the archaeological history of Gandhara.

He said that remnants of this colossal image including right leg and portion of left leg covered with drapery, feet and shoulders. The image is placed on a huge platform measuring 15 meter in length in north-west direction facing towards east.

He added that head of the Buddha was also found missing as this area was also disturbed most probably by the illegal treasure hunters. He said that other parts of the image especially the upper left leg and arms were found in damaged condition which was fallen towards east due to some unknown reasons.

He added that Pari Nirvana scene was also flanked by other images in terracotta exposed in fragments during the course of excavation. He added that Pari Nirvana scene was exposed from a long chamber to the west of the main Stupa facing towards east. He added that access to this chamber is given through three openings at regular intervals. The chamber is made of stone in semi ashlar masonry.

Dr Samad further said that another discovery which also brought to light another important discovery is images of Buddha with double halos which is very unique and do not exist in the rest of the Buddhist site in ancient Gandhara.

He said that this discovery has made from a Cruciform stupa with chapels on its eastern side facing towards west. The stupa is cruciform containing stucco sculpture fragments on its plinth.

Responding to a question, he said that a total of nine chapels were exposed during the current season and some of these chapels contain stucco sculptures mostly with unique style at this picturesque site located in Taxila valley.

He further revealed that recent excavation conducted at the site has unearthed a total of 510 antiquities, which include terracotta, stucco sculptures as well as architectural elements like iron objects including nails, hooks, door fitting and hair clip, copper artifacts and 14 coins of later Kushan period. He said that samples of organic materials were also taken for Radio Carbon Dating by Prof Dr Mark Kenoyer, director of the Center for South Asia and professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin Madison.