Taxila, June 20 : Archeologists in Pakistan have reportedly discovered a statue of Bodhisattva Maitreya at the remains of a Buddhist monastery in Badal Pur area located around 13 kilometres north-east of Taxila Museum, 35 km from Islamabad.
Museums' Director (Exploration) Dr Mohammad Ashraf Khan, who is conducting the excavation and preservation of the ancient site, said the sculpture belonging to 2nd Century AD of Kanishka-I dynasty was made of black schist stone and measured two-feet-high and 16 inches wide, reported the Dawn.
Khan said that other important antiquities were also discovered recently, including a relic casket made of soap stone, three grinding mills with Kharashoti inscription in which name of the owner is engraved, ten coins, four iron and copper monastery bells and more than 10 beads.
He said that an assembly hall was also found in the monastery in good shape, adding that it was being excavated and preserved accordingly.
"These are important discoveries in Taxila valley as they will not only open new chapters of the history for the archeologists and researchers of Gandhara as well as Buddhism, but also attract more tourists, especially from Buddhist countries" the paper quoted Dr Khan as saying.
During last couple of months, many more significant discoveries have been made, including five umbrellas of votive stupas, a big iron pan, 188 copper coins, a surgical instrument, copper pendants, iron objects like nails, clamps, hinges, a saw, and a number of potteries like storage jars, pots, bowls, terra-cotta oil lamps and a heart-shaped schist stone lamp.
Besides, the remains of eight monks' cells have been discovered. The walls of the cells still retain mud plasters both on interior and exterior surfaces, which are in a good state of preservation.
The director said this stupa and monastery built on 2.9 acres belonged to early Kushan period (first century AD), and that it had its own significance and importance, as it was one of the biggest stupas discovered in the Taxila valley.