Patna: Deeper excavation near ancient Nalanda Institution has indicated that foundation of the 'Tiladhak University' was laid during the Kushan period of first century AD and not Gupta period, senior officials of Art and Culture department said Saturday.
"Deeper excavation indicates that foundation of Tiladhak university was laid during Kushan period in first century AD and not Gupta period as prevalently known so far," Secretary Art and Culture department Anand Kishore said Saturday.
This indicates that the Buddhist mahavihara found at the site might be more ancient than the mahavihara that exists at Nalanda and Vikramshila, Director of State Archeology Atul Kumar Verma, who is leading the excavation, said.
"This is a significant discovery," the officials said.
The site had come into light during a tour of former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2009.
Kumar, seeing the prospect of its historical importance, had directed Art and Culture department to begin excavation of the place.
The site exists about 33 km west of Nalanda University and the Mahavihara in Ekangalsarai block of Nalanda district, native place of Kumar.
The excavation in the last five years have thrown new lights on structure and artefacts of that time, the officials said.
Chinese Traveller Hsuan-Tsang had referred this mahavihara as "Tilakakiye" of 7th century.
The literatures found have confirmed its identity as "Tiladhak" or "Tiladhakay".
The officials said that study of four monastery seals found during excavation by Calcutta University's S Sanyal revealed its name as "Sri Prathamshipur mahaviharey bhikshu sanghas".
This new fact contradicts the prevalent name of the mahavihara as Tiladhak/Tiladhakay.
"There is a need to ponder afresh over name of the ancient university after information emerging from reading of the seals found," Verma said.