ASI to excavates ruins near Vikramshila University

Patna, March 21 (IANS) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) plans to take up conservation work of the ruins of Vikramshila University in Bihar and excavate nearby areas in April.

ASI Patna circle's Superintending Archaeologist Sanjay K. Manjul said that conservation work of the remains of the ancient university would begin next month.

'ASI has decided to take up excavation over 116 acres of land not excavated earlier,' he said.

He said all this would help the Bihar government's move to develop Vikramshila's ruins as a tourist destination like Nalanda, situated around 90 km from the state capital.

The ASI has roped in the National Culture Fund (NCF) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to conserve its excavated ruins with an initial investment of Rs.2 crore.

'The conservation of 208 shells or reading room-like structures adjoining the main stupa and a major portion of the excavated structure will be taken up,' another official said.

Vikramshila University was set up by the Pala dynasty (750-1174 A.D) king Dharmapala in the late 8th or early 9th century.

The site is located near Antichak village in Bhagalpur district. It was among the most important centres of Buddhist learning in ancient India.

But the remains of Vikramshila University have been neglected for years.