Saturday, March 12, 2005


Asian tsunami sweeps dislodged historical artefacts onto India's shores


Channel News Asia
By Vaibhav Varma
March 11, 2005

NEW DELHI : The Asian tsunami swept away hundreds of thousands of people, but it also threw up a whole host of historical sculptures and artefacts buried under the sea for hundreds of years. Indian archaeologists are now studying some of these artefacts found along the coast of Tamil Nadu.

Some of the artefacts thrown up on the sea-shore, historians believe, are the lost ruins of an ancient city off the coast of Tamil Nadu. Two-metre high lion statues, and a half-complete sculpted elephant bas-relief have been major finds.

The archaeological pieces are believed to be part of Mahabalipuram. The revered 7th century Shore Temple is believed to be part of the same city under the sea.

T Sathiamoorthy, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, said, "When water was has also desilted the entire area. As a result, we have found 3 more bas-reliefs belonging to the Pallava period, dated about 700 AD."

In Meyyurkuppam village along the coast, Hindu villagers are building a temple for a bronze statue of Buddha.

The artifact is believed to have been carried over 1,000 kilometres from Myanmar by the waves.

Villagers see it as a good omen, saying it has strengthened their faith in the almighty.

Kuppuswamy, Village Head, Meyyurkuppam village, said, "We keep a glass of water and a flower in front of the deity everyday. We will worship him like we worship our own gods. The idol will stay here. Our village has accepted it as its own."

Ravi, a village resident, said, "There were some Burmese coins and a book that also came in with the idol and the raft. The police have taken them. We met some outsiders who came and examined the idol.

They told us it is from Burma (Myanmar)." Photographs show that much more lies covered by the sea-waters.

Further under-water excavations are being carried out with the help of the Indian Navy.

The discoveries bring together scientific archaeology with supernatural faith and worship.

It is the aftermath of the tsunami taking on wider hues. - CNA


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