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The Sultanganj Buddha : A Specimen of India’s Glorious past


Sultanganj Buddha (as excavated in 1861) with E. B. Harris


The Sultanganj Buddha : A Specimen of India’s Glorious past

· ‘The Sultanganj Buddha’ is one of the largest Buddha sculpture found in India. It is the finest example of ‘Sarnath School of Sculpture’ and belongs to the Gupta – Pala transitional period (500 AD to 700 AD).

· The magnificent Buddha statue was discovered and excavated in 1861 by Mr. E.B. Harris, the Resident Engineer of East Indian Railway responsible for laying railway line between Bhagalpur & Jamalpur and construction of Jamalpur Tunnel. The famed statue was found within an earthen mound near Sultanganj railway station site in Bhagalpur district of Bihar (then under Bengal province).

· The size of statue is 2.30 m high & 1.0 m in width which weighs more than 500Kg. It is made of Copper- alloy and crafted in a very skilled manner. It indicates about the extra-ordinary talents of the sculptors and knowledge of metallurgy in ancient India.




· The statue of Buddha stands in the ‘Fearless posture’ with right hand raised in ‘abhayamudra or ‘varadmudra and his left hand is held downwards with palm outwards. The Buddha is wearing robes which are almost invisible. The ends of monastic robe are held between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand in a specific manner still practiced by the Buddhist monks. The facial expression is believed to indicate ‘Focus the mind on the believer’.

Mr. E. B.Harris sent it to Birmingham (U. K.) and placed in the museum in 1864.

# Considering its heritage value, Govt. of India should make endeavour to bring back this valuable sculpture to India.

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Dedicated to ‘World Heritage Day’ –18th April

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