In News: Recently, Chaukhandi Stupa has been declared a site of national importance by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).


Image Source: Wikipedia

About Chaukhandi Stupa:

  • It is an ancient Buddhist stupa in Sarnath, located 8 kilometres from Cantt Railway Station Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. 
  • Stupas have evolved from burial mounds and serve as a shrine for a relic of the Buddha.
  • It is a lofty brick structure crowned with an octagonal tower.
  • Originally stupa is said to be built by Emperor Ashoka.
  • The octagonal tower on top is a Mughal monument built in 1588 to commemorate Humanyu’s visit to this place.
  • Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Sarnath called dharmachakra – pravartana due to which one can find many buddhist sites and structures in Sarnath.

About National Importance Site:

  • Section 4 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 states that - 
    • Ancient monuments or archaeological sites which are of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and 
    • which have been in existence for not less than 100 years may be declared as of national importance.
  • The protection and maintenance of monuments declared as of national importance is taken up by ASI by way of structural repairs, chemical preservation and environmental development around the monument on a regular basis.

About Archeological Survey of India (ASI):

  • It is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. 
  • It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who also became its first Director-General.
  • It regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958
  • It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.