The discovery and destruction of the big statue of Thoddu in 1959 - Statue smashed a second time at Mulee-aage
Found carefully buried on Thoddu in 1959, this statue had been preserved underground for nearly 800 years. To hide it after Buddhist Maldives was declared an Islamic kingdom by royal decree in 1153, islanders removed the statue from a higher position and placed it upright on the floor of the temple where sand had been spread. It was then surrounded by hewn stone slabs and more sand and rocks. A protective slab was placed over the statue and additional rocks and sand were added to the pile until the temple had become a mound. The heap was then covered in soil.
HISTORY OF THODDOO
ACCOUNT GIVEN BY DR S. PARANAVI-THANA OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CEYLON, PERADENIYA, ON THE BUDDHIST REMAINS RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN THE MALDIVES
(at Thoddu in 1959)from 'A New Light on the History of Maldives'Male' 1958-1966
The photographs furnished are not accompanied by any information with regard to the identity dimensions of the remains unearthed and the relation of one to the other. It is, therefore, difficult to arrive at accurate conclusions with regard to their character.Judging from the photographs, there appear to have been exposed the remains of a stupa of no great size, but intersting on account of its many unusual features. It is also not possible to say from the photographs the material out of which the stupa and relic-casket found in it were made; but it is presumed that they are of coral stone, the material readily available on these islands.
The pit in the centre of the temple is used to bury sacred objects during construction. The other pits give the four main directions.
Photograph is taken to be the interior of the stupa, the garbha in which the sacred objects were deposited. We have here a rectangular pit in the centre with four similar but smaller pits at the four sides The arrangement clearly indicates the centre of the universe and the four directions. In corresponding positions in Ceylon stupas we have nine, instead of five pits, four being added at the corners. The arrangement in this Maldivian stupa is clear evidence that the so-called yantragalas in Buddhist stupas originated as a directional symbolism which is quite obvious here. The stupa consequently has preserved a very archaic feature in its internal arrangements which is of great importance for a proper understanding of the significance of early stupas.