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Kurkihar

An archeological site, mostly Buddhist, dating to between the 9th and 12th centuries CE, which were found in Kurkihar near Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar.

The village of Kurkihar is situated about 5 km. north-east of Wazirgunj, and 27 km east from Gaya. The inscriptions found suggest that Kurkihar was once a well-known international pilgrimage center.

Cunningham visited Kurkihar in 1861-62 and again in 1879-80. He mentions that the site was about 600 feet square and about 25 feet high. He mentioned having seen here not only numerous Buddhist images, large and small, but a large number of votive stupas. He says there were in his time "row after row of Chaityas extending north to south for several hundred feet".

In 1930 a hoard of 226 bronzes and five other objects was found at Kurkihar, which were unearthed from the main mound. These included Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Stupas, Bells and ritual objects. Today, these objects are displayed in special room in the Patna Museum.

Several inscriptions have been found on the bronzes. The Kurkihar inscriptions refer to Devapala (810–c. 850), Rajyapala (908–940), Mahipala (988–c. 1036) and Vigrahapala III (1054–1072), ranging from 9th century to 1074 AD. The name of the monastery was apparently named Apanaka, which is mentioned in several inscriptions. The monastery was apparently very popular among the visitors from Kanchi in South India.

Of the 87 images, 81 were Buddhist and 6 Hindu. They were all found in one spot, with the smaller images enclosed in earthen jars. They were found about 25 feet below the surface of the main mound, when someone was digging for bricks.

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