BUDDHIST TOURISM IN SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT
Srikakulam District & Linkages with Buddhism :
It is believed that , soon after Buddha’s Nirvana, four of his teeth (Relics of Tooth) were taken to worship in Heaven, Gaandhaar, Kalinga Nagar and the Land of Naagaas. Dantapuri (Danta meaning Tooth) in present Srikakulam District (Erstwhile Kalinga Nagar of ancient India) is credited to be one of those 4 places of Worship. The Tooth of Buddha was enshrined here in a Stupa built by the then Kings. Also called as Dantha Varapu Kota (Fort of King Dantha Vaktra), Dantapuri was the capital city of Kalinga Kingdom for many Centuries.
Dantapuri is about 20 Km from Srikakulam Town towards North. The present dilapidated place has many Archaeological evidences to prove its pristine Glory. There are many other places of Buddhist Tourism such as Saalihundam, Kalinga Patnam, Dabbaka Vaani Peta, Nagari Peta, Jagati Metta etc in Srikakulam District. Many Historical Finds include Stupas, Caitya Gruhas, Vihaaraas, Votive stupas, Pillored Mandapaas and Statues including Manjusri, Taara, Marichi, Jambhala, Avalokiteswara etc etc.
Ancient Kalinga Kingdom, Srikakulam District being a part of it , fought one of the deadliest Wars with Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century BC. Deeply moved by the Carnage created in the war, and with a chance meeting of a Buddhist Monk “ Nigrodha”, Emperor Ashoka shunned the path of Violence and embraced Buddhism. Alongwith him all the Kalinga Kings, Srikakulam being part of it, also vowed to spread the “Message of Peace” of BUDDHA to the rest of the world. Deeply anchored around Kalinga Patnam Port, the spread started via the Sea Route to neighbouring countries like Srilanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, China, Korea etc etc
Andhra Pradesh State in general and Srikakulam District in particular were buzzing with Buddhist Activities for many centuries since 3rd century BC. Starting with Hinayana to Pragna Paramita Yana to Vajraayana branch of Mahaayaana., the district was witness to the gradual rise and assimilation of Buddhism in this part of the World.
BUDDHISM AS A RELIGION OR PHILOSOPHY
HISTORY AND GLOBAL SPREAD OF BUDDHISM