The maha-chaitya, or stupa, constructed at the command of King Chamtula’s sister in the third century AD, is the area’s earliest Buddhist structure. It was raised over relics of the Buddha – said to include a tooth – and has been reassembled in the southwest of the island. Nearby, a towering Buddha statue stands beside a ground plan of a monastery that enshrines a smaller stupa. Close by are other stupas; the brick walls of the svastika chaitya have been arranged in the shape of swastikas, common emblems in early Buddhist iconography.
The museum houses stone friezes decorated with scenes from the Buddha’s life, and statues of the Buddha in various postures. Earlier artefacts include metal axe-heads and knives (dating from the first millennium BC). Later exhibits include inscribed pillars from Ikshvaku times. Medieval sculptures include a thirteenth-century tirthankara (Jain saint) and a seventeenth-century Ganesh.