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.