Chhattisgarh lobbies for world heritage status for Sirpur

Sify News, Mar 22, 2010

Chhattisgarh, India -- Chhattisgarh is lobbying to get world heritage status for the Buddhist site Sirpur, Tourism and Culture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal said Monday.

'The Chhattisgarh government is lobbying for Sirpur to be granted world heritage status. It deserves to be placed in the list of world heritage sites as its archaeological pieces are connected to the Shaiv, Vaishnav, Jain and Buddhist religions which is rare in India,' the minister told IANS.

Sirpur, a popular Buddhist study centre during the 6th-10th century, is about 75 km from here and located on the banks of the Mahanadi river.

According to the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, who visited Sirpur in the seventh century, Sirpur village had an Ashoka stupa, at least 100 monasteries and 150 temples.

The state government has handed over the necessary papers and documents to the central government and has asked it to write to UNESCO.

'During the past five years a total of 38 mounds have been excavated at Sirpur that have brought new historical details of Shaiv, Vaishnav, Jain and Buddhist religions. The archaeological evidence now suggests that Sirpur was a bigger scholar centre than Nalanda,' the minister remarked.

The Chhattisgarh government has been holding a three-day national symposium in Raipur, where experts will exchange information on Sirpur. The symposium ends Monday.