BODHGAYA MONASTRIES

SUJATA-KUTI (Sujata Gadh)

The Excavation Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India undertook excavation at the ancient site of Bakraur(Sujata-Kuti), near Bodhaya, located on the right bank of the river Niranjana. The site, that is situated just north of the village, is traditionally known by various names like, Sujata Kuti, Sujatagarh and Sujata Quila, named after the maiden Sujata, the daughter of the chief of the village. It was she who offered milk-rice pudding or kheer to the Buddha after he had undergone severe austerities for six years to gain Enlightenment. 
The stupa, which was constructed to perpetuate the memory of the maiden Sujata, is 11mt. high from the ground level. Unfortunately, through the years because of inefficient care has been severely destroyed to collect baked bricks, caskets and reliquaries. Several plaques of the Buddha in bhumisparsha-mudra, made probably of plaster and surprisingly light in weight, were found near the damaged top of the stupa. 


Encased in lime plaster, the maximum diameter of the stupa in the last stage was about 65.50 m. Mud-mortar of varying thickness was used as a binding medium in the construction of the stupa. The railings and pillars were made of stone.


It has not been possible to date the different stages of the stupa with certainty. The last phase of the stupa, however, can be assigned to a date between eighth and tenth century A.D., on the basis of terracotta sealing and plaques. It is quite likely that the religious zeal of the Pala Kings were responsible for the enclosure wall, railing and the gateway. The earliest occupation of the site may be placed in the second-first century B.C. on the basis of fragments of dark grey polished ware found in a partially exposed monastery-like structure towards the north-east of the stupa. 


The important finds of the excavation include a fragmentary ear-ornament of gold; small terracotta plaques; beads of agate and terracotta; a punch-marked coin; head, torso and multiple Buddha in stone; a few ornamental pieces; and a terracotta sealing.