Tapa-i Kafarihā


Description :

Tapa-i Kafarihā (abbreviation: K and K') was already at the time of excavation a highly eroded area. In the center was a group of stūpas surrounded by an enclosure (K). To the north stood a comparable enclosure (K') and to the east a small monastery was built. Between these structures was an area void of remains, occupied to the south by isolated monuments including a few stūpas. Only the two Stūpas Courtyard have been cleared. In the center of the larger enclosure was the main Stūpa, built on a terrace that carried smaller stūpas on either side of the staircase. This placement reveals that it had originally been intended to leave room to build them. Surrounding the main Stūpa on three sides were other stūpas aligned, except on the south side. On the east and south sides, spacious chapels and chambers lined the courtyard (to the west and northwest, the enclosure had disappeared). In the southwest corner, a staircase led to the top of the enclosure. The row of chapels revealed more elaborate heads according to J. Barthoux than those found in the Stūpas Courtyard. Half of these chambers contained stūpas and benches supporting statues. The same arrangement seemed to continue along the northern wall, but it was demolished to the floor by the second chamber. It is possible that the entrance was located at this level, opposite the stairs of the Great Stūpa. Beyond this wall was a narrow strip covered with medium-sized stūpas of the same type as the main Stūpa, apparently juxtaposed without coordination.

 

To the north was an enclosing gallery that revealed a great many statues. The entrance must have been to the west. A wide L-shaped corridor No. 48 opened to the north, at ground level, into gallery No. 45 on a platform that carried large leaning standing Buddhas framing chapels and flanked by seated Buddhas. This arrangement continued along the eastern wall where a doorway provided access to the section devoted to the stūpas. At the ends of this step-high and stuccoed platform (like the floor) were stūpas. At the bottom, to the north rose a mighty wall. The difficulty of excavation in this area forced J. Barthoux to abandon the excavation which, he admitted, was most unfortunate because buried deeper, entire statues could have been found. A large door to the northeast gave access to the second group of stūpas K'. In the center of the enclosure was a large stūpa facing south, toward the Great Stūpa of enclosure K. It was similarly surrounded by smaller stūpas arranged on elongated platforms and aligned with it. To the east and north, the enclosure was demolished. The monastery occupying the other corner opened onto the courtyard of this enclosure. It has not been excavated. The eastern wing of the main enclosure had been baked by a fire, so walls, statues, and stūpas had taken on a brick-red color (Barthoux, 1933: 25).

 

Perspective of the plan of Tapa-i Kafarihā drawn by J. Barthoux (Barthoux, 1927) and the current state of the site from Google Earth satellite imagery.