Ratnagiri is an ancient and religiously significant site located in Jajpur district of Odisha. This site once embraced various magnificently crafted Buddhist structures the remnants of which are still available. Ratnagiri is situated amidst serene setting on a hillock of Assia Range between two rivers called Brahmani and Birupa.
Even from archaeological perspective Ratanagiri holds great relevance. From the excavation of the site remnants of Monasteries, Maha Stupa temple and various antiques have been received. All these things belong different periods ranging from 5th century AD to 13th century AD. At this site burnt bricks Maha Stupa was built, its remains are present on the top of the hill.
The primary stupa i.e. Maha stupa is surrounded by several votive stupas, around 700 votive stupas said to have existed at this site. On the north side of Maha stupa is a mound called Ranipokhari (queen’s tank).
The site of Ratnagiri also contains ruins of two monasteries that were built facing the Maha Stupa. These massive monasteries are associated with Mahayana Sect.
Ratnagiri is said to be established by Gupta dynasty around the 5th century. The findings from excavation indicate this site is connected with Gupta dynasty.
The Buddhist community in this area is estimated to have been very strong and enjoyed royal patronage of empires like Mauryas and Guptas. It is estimated that the sect perhaps flourished till the 13th century.
Ratnagiri has proven to be an archaeological gem. From the excavation carried out at this site we have been able to find out a lot about those times. From the articles found from this site major one include various bronze and stone images have been recovered from the site of Ratnagiri; these include statues of Buddha, Padmapani, Tara, Aparajita, Vajrapani, Hariti, sambhara, and Heruka.
Terracotta seals have also been recovered from the site. The seals bear the city name Ratnagiri. Remains of the architectural structures and statues speak of mastery of skill of craftsmen of ancient times.
Ratnagiri was a popular center for Buddhist learning, especially Tantric cult. Tibetan Buddhist texts give details on how Kalchakrayana flourished here.
After taking a tour of this amazing site of Ratnagiri one must visit the Buddhist Museum in the nearby vicinity. The museum houses a lot of antiques from different eras and a tour of it will give you a lot of insightful information.
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