8th-century idol with inscription of Lord Buddha unearthed at Rameswar temple in Puri

After a thorough inspection, the members of the INTACH claimed that the inscriptions are of the seventh or eighth century.

Rameswar temple located at Bageswarpur village under Pipili tehsil in Puri district belongs to the 8th century. A team of the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) confirmed this after a thorough inspection of an idol which is a broken part of the temple.

The priest of the temple first found the idol lying on the premises of the temple. His curiosity grew as the language written on its back was new to him. “There were many idols lying under the tree on the temple premises. Once I found an idol with something written on its back. I couldn’t read because the language is said to be Pali. I agree to it that it may belong to 8th century,” said the temple’s chief priest Purnachandra Panda.

As the news spread, an INTACH team visited the temple and inspected the idol. They tried to find out when and how the idol came to the temple. Later, they identified it to be of the Eastern Ganga dynasty time. The members of the INTACH claimed that the inscriptions are of the seventh or eighth century.

“The inscription is written in praise of Buddha. The inscription on such a small idol makes it rare. More research is required in this regard. If the inscription is decoded, steps should be taken to keep a copy of it in the State Museum,” said Deepak Nayak, a member of INTACH.

Noted historian Anil Dhir said, “It is a good thing that the idol is intact. The inscriptions are clearly visible. We have got it translated from an epigraphist. The message is relating to Lord Buddha. The State Archeology may approach the temple committee or the temple can preserve it. If the ASI carries out a survey, more such artifacts can be found.”

The villagers were exalted after coming to know about the history of the idol.