Bamiyan Buddhas were the most impressive statues of the world and were destroyed by the Taliban Government. This repulsive act of destruction was condemned by the other countries of the world. Sadly, we will never be able to go and look at these monumental structures of beauty.
Does a third "Hidden" Buddha still exist?
According to buddhist scriptures and the eyewitness account of Xuanzang a Chinese pilgrim, there was third huge statue. Unlike the other two, the third Buddha statue was in sleeping (lying) position. Many people have theorized that this third statue has been buried underground. Many archaeologists have been searching for the 3rd Bamiyan Buddha.
Cave Paintings of Bamiyan - The oldest Oil Paintings?
When the Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed, the Taliban Muslims were shocked to find what was beneath the statues. Behind the statues were around 50 caves which was used (once upon a time) as a dwelling place for buddhist pilgrims. Twelve of the fifty caves had wall paintings, mostly of Buddha and pictures depicting pilgrimage. Below, you can see the pictures of these cave paintings (the faces have been riddled with bullets by the Taliban). These are considered to be the oldest oil paintings in the world. The other important feature is that the artists have generously used lapiz lazuli for blue color in these paintings.
These statues were build around 6th Century in the Bamyan Valley (Afghanistan). Unlike other statues which are made from rocks transported from elsewhere, these statues were directly hewn on the cliff itself.
A mysterious sutra inside the Statues?
A japanese magazine which was present during the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, reported that the Taliban found some very old palm scripts hidden in the statues. Many Buddhists believe that these scripts contain the Sutra for spiritual enlightenment. The Taliban reportedly whisked it away quickly and it was never seen again.
Here is a video of an old documentary video about the Bamiyan Buddhas: