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Where Was Odantapuri Located?: Archaeological Evidence Using Remote Sensing, GIS and Photogrammetry

Rajani, MB and Kumar, V (2021) Where Was Odantapuri Located?: Archaeological Evidence Using Remote Sensing, GIS and Photogrammetry. In: Resonance, 26 (9). pp. 1287-1304.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12045-021-1230-0


Historical records reveal that Odantapuri Mahavihara was an important centre of Buddhist learning. It was established in the 8th century by Gopala (the first Pala Emperor), and for several centuries, it was part of a network of Mahaviharas in eastern India (the most famous being Nalanda, along with Vikrama�ila, Somapura and Jaggadala). Archaeologists have conclusively identified the locations of all these Mahaviharas except Odantapuri. The best guess (based on tenuous evidence) is that Odantapuri Mahavihara was located in the modern town of Bihar Sharif. There has been very little exploration at this site, and no investigation has revealed remains of an in situ structure comparable to a Pala Mahavihara. This article discusses a chance finding while analysing a region one kilometre north of Nalanda (about ten kilometres southwest of Bihar Sharif). Using stereoscopic remote sensing data from satellites, photogrammetry and geographical information systems (GIS) software, we identified a large (400 m � 450 m) structure buried below the village of Begampur, virtually at Nalanda�s doorstep. Its shape is startlingly similar to both Vikramasila and Somapura (both built by Dharmapala, the successor and son of Gopala). Further, AMS dating of bricks from a portion of this site (another chance finding) suggests that they may be as old as Odantapuri Mahavihara. This new evidence allows us to update our best guess for Odantapuri Mahavihara�s location, but a careful archaeological investigation is necessary to confirm this hypothesis. © 2021, Indian Academy of Sciences.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Resonance
Publisher: Springer
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Elsevier
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2021 09:58
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 09:58
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/70565

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