Architecture of Stupas at Deur Kothar
The Deur Kothar complex boasts 4 brick stupas, the most ever found at a site of this period. The varying sizes of bricks used in construction point to an early date and motifs suggesting Buddhist art such as the twirling lotus, conical lotus bud, and a simple flower pot on a 3-tiered pedestal can be seen on the railing posts of the largest brick stupa, which rises to a height of nearly 30 ft. The stencil-cut effect of the friezes, along with their simple ornamentation and the paucity of human and animal figures, suggests these are early attempts at stone railing art. It would therefore seem that the stupas at Deur Kothar were built before the famous early free-standing stupa at Sanchi.
Pieces of a pillar were also recovered with a 6 line inscription in Brahmi, the precursor to modern Indian alphabets, the earliest examples of which date to the rule of the Mauryan Empire. The 6 line Brahmi inscription on the Deur Kothar pillar is given in the table - transliterated into Devanagari script. The inscription mentions Lord Buddha on the first line, the gist of which pertains to the erection and dedication of stone pillar by an unnamed Upasaka and his disciples in memory of Lord Buddha, the enlightened one. The inscription speaks about an Acharya, named Dharamdev, and his 3 disciples - Uttarmitra, Bhadra and Upasaka, who used to reside in the monastery. They installed this pillar, dedicating it to the Buddha.
The site of Deur Kothar was once an active centre of trade. With discovery of pieces of terracotta toys, beads, ear stud and coins which shows that the genesis of this pilgrimage site occurred amidst a vibrant mercantile community.
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