It may raise a question mark and ripples of doubt in millions of minds that Buddhism once flourished in the state. According to The Buddhist Forum, a body formed to act as watchdog and to collect data regarding the condition of all ancient Buddhist sites in India, Haryana is a treasure trove ancient Buddhist monuments and antiquities.
According to sources, Buddhism was propagated in Haryana by Buddha himself. Buddhism held an important place in society in parallel to other religions in Haryana, which was an important region of the Kuru kingdom, along with the main centre of Buddhism, founded by Buddha himself around 2500 years ago.
Buddha and Ananda travelled through Haryana several times via the ancient trade route of Mathura-Taxila and up to Gandhar. Buddha delivered several dharma discourses in Haryana like Maha Sati Patthan Sutt, Magandkiya Sutt, Ananjsapay Sutt and Mahanidan Sutt.
Talking to The Tribune, Siddhartha, president of the forum, Yamunanagar, said, “There is a holy place called Adi Badri, about 40 km from Yamunanagar in the foothills of the Shivalik. Excavations there have revealed remains of many stupas and Buddhist monasteries spread over an area of one kilometre. The stupas found on the banks of the Saraswati here are about 1500 to 1800 years old while the monasteries are around 800 to 1000 years old”.
He said the monastery found there was rectangular in shape. “At the entrance, there are stairs which lead to a big hall. On a wall of this hall, a niche contains a beautiful idol of Buddha. It seems this must had been the main worship hall. There are some small rooms also where only one person can sit. They must be the meditation cells”.
Another stupa discovered at Chaneti village, near here, was built during the Mauryan period. This stupa is around 8 m high with a diameter of 20 ms. Around the stupa, a circular parikrama path has been discovered and the lower portion of this stupa is cylindrical while the upper portion is slightly dome-like, containing a huge niche which were used to place idols of Buddha, the sources added.
Siddhartha said after an exhaustive survey of the entire Buddhist sites in the district, the forum was working for promoting and raising voice against the neglected condition of Buddhist monuments. The forum has submitted a collection of 21,000 signatures to the President of India to take steps for saving the Buddhist sites.
The forum further said most of the sites were isolated and if not given due attention “we might lose these”. Siddhartha stated that Haryana had huge Buddhist culture potential and if these sites were promoted at the international level, they could be a boon for the tourism industry.