Dhulikatta- Buddhist Mahastupa

Buddhism is a religion that always fascinated me. The gentle nature of Buddha and his great teachings still hold very much relevant in today’s world. I’m always looking out for places where Buddhism flourished. Fortunately, Telangana has its own share of places related to Buddhism. Dhulikatta is one such place. Though not much remains now, seeing the size of the stupa, we can imagine that at one time it must have been grand.

We started from Hyderabad on a Sunday morning and reached Karimnagar in about 3 hours. This time our only wish was to see the stupa. We had just seen some pictures with not much information on how to reach there.

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It was real adventure and like a puzzle to find the place. We didn’t know the local language and that made things worse. Though the tourism department has listed the place in their website, there is no board with directions anywhere around. There is no motorable way to the Stupa.

We reached there through very narrow roads, sometimes dragging our bike through cotton fields. And when, there was absolutely no way, we left the bike and went walking. It was really hot and at one point, we were thinking whether to continue or go back. We communicated through gestures showing a hill and finally a kid was able to understand and showed us the way. We were still not able to understand if we are going the right way until we saw the stupa.

Finally, we felt better. We found the way to our destination.

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The structure was discovered by the Archaeological Department in 1975. Unfortunately, not much have been done since then. There are no walls that marks the boundaries of this monument. There is no motorable road to the monument. There have been incidents where the miscreants have damaged the monument and and have smuggled out the slabs with carvings. Some have even tried to dig up the ground in search of a hidden treasure.

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History:

The Buddhist Mahastupa and Vihara in Dhulikatta village dates back to 2nd century BC, about 2000 years ago. Many historians find a striking resemblance of this place with the description of a fortified town on the banks of a river described by the Greek emissary Megasthenes.

During the excavations, several articles like punched coins from Roman Kingdom and Satvahana dynasty, beads, combs made of ivory, bangles and authentic silver jewellery have been found. Most of relics were shifted to the present State Museum and only a few antiques lie in the Karimnagar museum. The uniqueness of the Stupa was the use of light-weight bricks and the carved limestone slabs.

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There were some tablets depicting the life of Buddha. We took a parikrama of the stupa. A statue of Buddha has been constructed under an old tree recently. If you see from far, for a moment it looks like he is alive and preaching his disciples. We spent about an hour around the place and decided to start for our return journey to Hyderabad.

How to go:
Dhulikatta is about twenty-five kilometres away from Karimnagar. Karimnagar is very well connected from Hyderabad by buses and train. The nearest Airport is Hyderabad which is about 175 kms from Dhulikatta. You can take a private vehicle to reach this place.

Tips for travellers:
There is no place to buy water or food in Dhulikatta. Make sure you carry snacks and water from Karimnagar. The best time to visit will be October to March. After that, the place can get really hot. There is no opening and closing time as the place is not guarded by any walls and anyone can walk-in anytime.

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Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked spending time here. I will be back again with another interesting place.

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This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.
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