Kakinada: It is surprising to find Buddhist sayings in the furthest corner of Mamidikuduru mandal in East Godavari district of Konaseema. Adurru is a place little known to the layman, but for a devout follower of Buddhism, it is sacred and quite interesting for his Buddhist pursuit.
Adurru (or locally Dubaraju Dibba) is a 2,400-year-old Buddhist site located on the western bank of the Vainetaya, a tributary of the Godavari River, which lies about 9.5 km from the Bay of Bengal at Mamidikuduru mandal. The site was excavated by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1923 and declared a protected monument in 1955.
According to sources, among the three most popular Buddhist stupas in the world, the first was built in Adurru and the second in Ranchi, Jharkhand; and the third was in Sarnath, Bihar. According to historical evidence from ASI, the foundation stone of Adurru was laid by Sanghamithra, a Buddhist nun and daughter of Emperor Ashoka. Records relating to Adurru are very sparse and do not shed much light on the activities of Buddhists in this region. It is also doubtful that any evidence of their full existence has been destroyed by opponents of Buddhism.
As this Buddhist center houses the remains of stupas, several upa-stupas, chaityas and viharas, it is considered “Mahakshetram” by Buddhist monks and followers even today. In 1953, ASI conducted excavations which unearthed the remains of stupas, chaityas and viharas.
The most beautiful and famous is Mahastupa, built like a giant wheel with a platform with a diameter of 17 feet. In 1955, the ASI declared it a protected monument. Excavations have also unearthed artifacts such as pots, troughs, dishes and bowls. On the front side (to the east) are two upa-stupas with the same wheel-based structure. There are also round and square structures on the west side of the main stupam, all systematically connected to each other on all sides.
According to ASI officials, Adurru, known as Dubaraju Gudi, has been the victim of vandalism, especially by local zamindar. The Buddhist remains cover an area of 3,200 square meters (about 2.04 acres) with a 4m high mound.
Buddhists from places like Tibet, Himalayas, China make pilgrimage to this revered place and pay homage to Lord Buddha. They also used to offer prayers and meditate here. According to the locals, every year on the sacred Vaisakha Poornima, monks from different Buddhist places come to Adurru and offer their prayers in congregation and walk around the Buddhist stupa.
Unfortunately, the state government is not paying attention to developing this place, which attracts people from Buddhist countries. On the other hand, the meager funds from the central government do not contribute to enhancing the image and importance of Adurru for its development and glory. Means of transport are insufficient to transport a large number of travelers to Adurru. There is no canteen on the site nor a guide available to explain the importance of the place.
Locals have expressed anger at the government for neglecting to highlight the significance of the Buddhist stupa in Adurru.
Some of the Buddhist monks felt that if the central government came forward to provide sufficient funds for the development of Adurru as a Buddhist center, it would attract a large number of Buddhist pilgrims from other Buddhist countries. The place can become an excellent center of pilgrimage and Buddhist studies. It should also be recognized as a tourist spot for Buddhist pilgrims and the necessary transportation can be provided.