Raipur : Chhattisgarh will lobby for world heritage status for Sirpur village, which was a famous Buddhist study centre from the 6th to the 10th century.
"Sirpur deserves to be listed as a world heritage site," Tourism Minister Brijmohan Agrawal told IANS.
Sirpur village, 72 km east of state capital Raipur, is in Mahasamund district on the banks of the Mahanadi river.
"The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is carrying out one of the biggest excavation exercises of central India at Sirpur. Almost every week new findings are coming out, establishing that the site was one of Asia's top educational centres for Buddhists," the minister said.
According to Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang who visited Sirpur in the 7th century, it had an Ashoka stupa and at least 100 viharas and 150 temples.
The ASI excavations have found that most of the viharas were underground and had brick walls. These included residential, meditation and study rooms.
"The state government will focus on creating facilities for tourists and also on the maintenance of archaeological records, ruins, statues and monuments coming out during excavations," the minister said.
He said the state's cultural department has decided to get grants from the Indian government to provide world-class maintenance of Sirpur and push the claim for securing world heritage status.