Ambran in Akhnoor continues to remain neglected by govt even 17 years after its discovery -
Ambran in Akhnoor continues to remain neglected by govt even 17 years after its discovery
Posted 27 Mar 2017 12:27 PM


Considered as one of the important archaeological finds in Jammu and Kashmir related to the Buddhist period in north India, Ambran in Akhnoor sub-division continues to remain neglected even 17 years after its discovery.

Archaeologists are not able to carry out excavation as the land surrounding the site is owned by villagers. With little interest shown by successive governments, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is unable to explore the area.

Ruins at Ambran, some 30 km from Jammu city on the banks of mighty Chenab, were first discovered during the excavation between the year 1999-2001. Several artefacts belonging to the Kushan period in the eighth century, including a stupa and living quarters of monks, were discovered at the site by experts.

However, after the find, the exploration was stopped following an outcry by the locals who feared that their land might be taken away from them. Though the site is well-maintained, successive state governments have failed in either bringing the site on the tourist map or hold talks with locals to allow further digging. Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama had visited the ancient Buddhist ruins in December 2012, highlighting its importance.

Ironically, for the successive governments in the state, historical places have received little attention. In a majority of the places in the country and abroad, in case of any important archaeological find, people are provided alternative land allowing exploration but no such step has been taken in the state.

“We have not been able to fully explore the site as the land around the site is owned by villagers. As per our survey, there are many structures hidden within the soil but we have no way to explore it,” said Dr Vasant Swarnakar, Superintending Archaeologist, J&K.

However, Dr Swarnkar said they were starting excavation within the site to explore it further. “There is some portion at the existing site which we are planning to dig. This will help us understand the history better,” he said.

Experts claim that the area could be a treasure trove of ancient artefacts and habitation of the 5,000-year-old Harappan civilisation but it needed a greater involvement of the government.

In 2015, the Union Tourism Ministry had included J&K in its nationwide Buddhist circuit project to promote and create infrastructure at the Buddhist sites in the state, but not much has been done on ground.

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