Singapore, June 1 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gifted his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong a replica of a sixth century Buddhagupta Stele that bears Sanskrit phrases in the Pallava script and serves as important evidence of the transmission of Buddhism from India to Southeast Asia, particularly the Straits and the Malay peninsular region.
A stele is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than wide, erected in the ancient world as a monument.
According to sources, the inscription on the Buddhagupta stele was the product of a Buddhist community that was residing along the coast of the Malay peninsula, likely a sangha of local and Indian monks supported by Malays and Indian merchants who had settled in the area.
It was discovered by Lt. Col. James Low of the East India Company in Bujang Valley, Kedah, in 1834, in association with brick and laterite ruins of what was assumed to be a Buddhist monument.
The original Buddhagupta stele is currently housed at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. The replica was made by the Indian Ministry of Culture in association with the Indian Museum.