Bhattiprolu, a village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh originally known as Pratipalapura or Pithundanagara is an ancient Buddhist town in Sala kingdom. Originally it was an 18-acre site with three ancient mounds and they were locally called as “Lanjadibba”, “Chinna Lanjadibba” and Vikramarka Kotadibba. Unfortunately today we can see only 1 stupa and even that was in the ruined state. Locals here have constructed houses all over the site and they were not ready to vacate the place even by many government orders.
The original stupa with 148 feet diameter and 65 feet height. Bhattiprolu is of the Buddist relic caskets sites. The uppermost relic casket was most important as it contains sacred relics of Lord Buddha. The maha stupa of Bhattiprolu is famous for a wide variety of precious objects kept in its relic caskets and valuable epigraphical evidence datable to Mahayana period.
In the year 1969, archaeologist R. Subrahmanyam did the excavation works in 1969 and he noticed the stupa was height was reduced to 45 feet in height. But still, it was neglected and got converted into a mound. The state government took attention in the year 2004 and started developing the site.
An 85 years old woman told there are also Buddhist remains in other nearby villages named Buddam, Karlapalam, Yadala etc., but those places were fully ruined and modern houses were built on them. A few years back archaeology department conducted some excavations in the budda village and found stones related to 2-3 centuries but they couldn’t continue their works as the locals opposed and allegations were made.
State government have taken the keen interest in developing this place. A large Buddha statue is being constructed in the middle of a lake and a walkable bridge is under construction. The government also planning for introducing boating in the lake and boost tourism in the area.
There are many such ancient sites all over the country which were completely left unnoticed. The government has to take special care in developing all such sites.