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|1st June 2009, 17:18||#48|
And I like your suggestion. Believe me, I would like to believe you. Now, only if the all the TV audiences were you...
|1st June 2009, 21:05||#49|
Nalanda Mahavihara II
All monasteries more or less follow the same master plan consisting of a spacious open courtyard, enclosed by a covered verandah, leading to living rooms of the monks on all sides. They have a shrine on the wall opposite to the entrance (facing the entrance). There is platform in front of shrine from which discourses and lectures would have been delivered.
Almost all the monasteries have their own uniqueness in terms of their history and construction, essentially still following the master plan. Moreover each monastery has several layers of construction activity. The difference in bricks used and how the new structure imposes itself on the old structure give testimony to this. Layered water ducts also indicate several layers of construction. At the time of sack, all the monasteries would have had more than one floor as each of them has a staircase.
Monastery 1a and 1b
These are the only two monasteries facing north. They are among the oldest in the lot and belong to the Gupta era.
The rooms of this monastery don’t have provision of beds. They have provision for the lamps though.
You can see an open courtyard leading to stairs that in turn leading to covered Verandah (the pillar marks indicate that the missing pillars may have been done in wood or may be not.). The bow structure at the stairs indicate that the monastery belongs to the Gupta era (bow was their royal symbol).
A closer look at the Laboratory (actually could also have been community kitchen)
The finish of the wall and bricks
Look at the size of bricks
This is first time in my entire life that my aunt has requested a click. I happily oblige. She is happiest to be at Nalanda.
9 layers of construction; can it get more complicated? Let me tell you that this monastery is almost impossible to navigate and comprehend. I will let pictures do the taking rather
There would have been idol here. And wherever you see those black burnt bricks, those are marks left by Khilji. He had actually tried (and almost succeeded) in burning the whole place down.
A staircase leading to no where
Staircases leading to every direction
The rooms on the first floor have provision for two beds indicating that they are shared rooms. The rooms on the ground floor must have been used by seniors and that on the first floor by juniors.
By this time, it was already 2:00 pm and my aunt gave up. The heat was excruciating and the stretched open ruins were not helping at all. We were getting out of our senses. My aunt decided to rest under a tree as I went around to next few monasteries, taking pictures. I still wonder how and where so many pillars have disappeared. Were they really all done in wood and got burnt? I don't know.
A small Caitya
Monasteries 6 & 7
Can you see different layers of construction?
I too give up now. Although there are quite a few monasteries left, I turn towards the temples.
Temple site 12
This is amazing structure. But I have only taken a couple of pictures. I was just wondering at the marvel.
Those pillars from Gupta era; finally I get to see pillars.
So many votive stupas around this temple
To be continued…
|2nd June 2009, 09:36||#50|
Nalanda Mahavihara III
The temple site 2 deserves a special mention. It is refreshingly different from any other structure here.
I think this would have been King Harsa’s contribution. This is the only structure that has stone engravings and the stone that is not available in Nalanda. After successful experimentation with images, idols, and pillars, this would have been early experiments to take to stone carving on temples.
The entire dado of this temple is decorated with scenes from Panchatantra, Jatakamala, Puranik scenes, Ramayana, et al.
The famed Darpana Sundari in the making
Now what is this?
About the Museum
The museum is worth a visit. It has some amazing idols and finds. The sad part is that you will be left wanting for more. The museum official inform me that they have more than 12000 items lying in the godown (they call it reserve) that they are unable to display for lack of space. The ASI is sitting on a proposal to consturct a more modern and bigger museum at this place for last several years.
We leave with heavy heart
The place is one great marvel. And it needs time to explore. My suggestion would be to give it at least one full day (8 hours). It is challenging to discover intricacies and the beauty lies there in. Nevertheless 5 hours that we spent at the site were worth a lifetime. If dreams do come true, I will be coming back here in any winter.
To be continued…
|2nd June 2009, 13:59||#51|
We now leave for Pawapuri. Pawapuri is another 20 kilometers from Nalanda. Pawapuri is where Mahavira attained Nirvana. After Mahavira’s cremation, there was a huge demand among His devotees for His ashes. They took away whatever they can lay their hands on. This created a huge pit at that place. Today the pit has been converted into a lake and there stands a temple in the middle of the lake.
Nothing much to say here, only to be felt. I haven’t been to a more peaceful place.
The place that marks Mahavira’s Nirvana
We then leave for Rajgir, reaching our hotel at 6:30pm.
I had promised the priest of the Jain temple that I would come to the Naulakha temple in the evening. The priest is actually looking for more alms. No one can help these folks with their greed.
The Naulakha temple is where the Jain dharamsala is. The Jain pilgrims coming to Rajgir to visit the 26 temples on the 5 hills generally stay in this dharamsala. The temple has been recently constructed; actually moved from another location.
Munisuvratswami’s idol is beautiful
This idol is ancient and was found on the Vaibhargiri hill, but is now housed in the temple
Don't miss the glass hall beneath the main temple premise.
It has been extremely busy day: an early morning bath at Brahma Kund, Trek to Vaibhargiri, Nalanda, Pawapuri, and Naulakha temple. I hit the bed with lot of content and peace.
Tomorrow we leave for Vaisali…
To be continued…
Last edited by akbaree : 2nd June 2009 at 14:04.
|2nd June 2009, 19:19||#52|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Thanked: 5 Times
Amazing travelogue Akbaree ! It is a virtual trip to Magadh.
Mesmerizing photos. I wonder how did you manage to post so many photos. I had to refresh the page several times to load all the photos ! Some of the pictures on this page remind me of ruins of Hampi.
I voted for a 5 star rating and this thread really deserves it.
Great effort Akbaree
|2nd June 2009, 20:45||#53|
I had clicked almost 10 GB of pictures in just 7 days during this trip. And I don't have the skills to shoot in the RAW mode. I have made a concious effort not to load thread with unnecessary photographs as well as to reduce the size of each file to around 100kb. I look forward to all suggestions if you folks have felt that there were unnecessary photographs.
|3rd June 2009, 11:05||#54|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2006
Thanked: 283 Times
There are very few people like you on board who study the place rather than just visit.
I had read something about Nalanda and Bhagawan Gautam Buddha during school days and forgot everything about it till reading this travelogue.
Its really learning experience by reading this travelogue .
Now, i had more knowledge about the same.
|4th June 2009, 10:15||#55|
Thanks for you kind words and my apologies if you feel this travelogue rivals a school textbook.
Last edited by akbaree : 4th June 2009 at 10:21.
|4th June 2009, 10:47||#56|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2006
Thanked: 283 Times
i am waiting for further post.
i think, this is the travelogue which i read for some knowledge and not for just T p.
Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 4th June 2009 at 10:50.
|4th June 2009, 13:52||#57|
Vaishali – I
Vaishali is around 180 kilometers from Rajgir. We have to go via Patna (55 kilometers north west of Patna). From Patna we continued on NH83 till Hajipur where we took a left turn towards Lalganj. From Hajipur, it’s a state road till Vaishali. The road is fairly decent and almost the entire stretch has mango groves on both the sides. Unfortunately we were a bit early to enjoy ripe mangoes.
Like Barabar hills, I haven’t read much about Vaishali. Vaishali was added to itinerary only after arriving at Bodh Gaya and after talking to the tourism office. The kingdom of Vaishali was never part of Magadh. Actually one of the reasons that Ajatshatru moved his capital from Rajgir to Patliputra was to better face the challenge posed by frequent pitched battles with the Licchavis. Vaishali finds mention in Ramayan as capital of King Vishal.
Mahavira was born in Vaishali and Buddha frequented Vaishali. Some texts suggest that Vaishali has also seen confrontation between the followers of Mahavira and Buddha in those times. Buddha is believed to have welcomed a lot of Mahavira’s followers into his philosophy while giving his last sermon and announcing his mahaparinirvana here. Buddha had then left for Kushisnagar where he attained mahaparinirvana. Vaishali also hosted the 2nd great Buddhist council (after the 1st one that was held at Saptaparni caves in Rajgir).
But the most interesting fact about Vaishali is that historians (based on ancient texts and archaeological findings) suggest that couple of centuries before Buddha and Mahavira, the Mahajanapada of Vajjis (of which Licchavis were part of) have created world's first democracy with an elected assembly of representatives. Vaishali was the capital of this Mahajanapad and Sanskrit was the official language.
We arrived at Vaishali at around lunch time. We had plans for an overnight stay here and leaving for Patna next day early morning. But the government hotel (that was inaugurated by Rabri Devi) lies in shambles.
There’s no restaurant but the folks at the hotel were very cordial and got lunch arranged for us. We took an hour’s rest while waiting for lunch.
The lake as seen from the our room’s balcony
This lake is also known as “Abhishek Pushkarni” (Coronation Tank). The water of the lake was considered sacred and the oath taking ceremony for the elected representatives of Vajjis/Licchavis used to happen at this lake.
After the lunch, we visited the museum. The museum at Vaishali also has some marvelous finds and should be on your must visit list if you happen to visit Vaishali.
As we walk towards the museum which is just 100 meters from the hotel…
As you can see that Sir Alexander Cunningham’s name figure prominently here as well.
After the museum we walk down to the Relic Stupa.
After the cremation of Buddha, it is believed that there were 8 contenders for His relics and so the relics were divided into 8 parts. One of the them happen to be the Licchavis. They built a small mud stupa in Vaishali to honor the relics. The stupa was later expanded by the kings and dynasties that followed.
That’s the relic stupa for us. An earthern pot believed to containing part of Buddha’s ashes has been recovered from this relic stupa. That earthern pot is presently housed in Patna Museum.
Mango trees are everywhere.
The relic stupa... the earther pot was discovered right at the center.
We then walk back to our hotel as we will need the car to travel to rest of the places in Vaishali. It appeared lonely to be visiting these places without a guide and just then our hotel manager offered to be our guide. As we discovered later, he turns out to be a great person.
The first place we visited was Kolhua which is around 2 kilometers from the hotel.
A beautiful stupa.
This stupa has been constructed over the corporeal remains of Ananda. Ananda was part of the core disciple team of Buddha. He is believed to be a memory whiz and after the mahaparinirvana of Buddha helped immensely in codification of His teachings as he remembered everything.
Ashoka’s pillar: Ashoka built this pillar to honor the place where Buddha gave his last sermon. This is the very place where Buddha gave his last sermon. And the Lion’s head is pointing in the direction in which Buddha left after giving his last sermon.
This is the only Ashokan pillar that has no damages whatsoever.
If you noticed there is a bus full of Thai tourists. And to my surprise a beautiful girl walks up to us and asks my aunt if she would mind a photograph with her. Of course my aunt obliged. At 73 years I envy my aunt’s charm. I am not sure if I will even live that long.
This water tank is one of the 8 legends in Buddhists text and is believed to have been dug by monkeys.
All put together.
There are two monasteries as well.
One of them is swastika shaped. It was build for nuns. That reminds me of Amrapali - the illustrious royal courtesan of Vaishali. According to some legends Amrapali was the first women arahant. Her unwavering devotion to Buddha, have Buddha change his mind and allow women arahants in to Dharma and Sangha. Our hotel manager is quite unhappy that the birth place of Amrapali (identified some couple of kilometers away) has seen no attention from government).
Just next to Swastika shaped monastery is Kutagarshala. Buddha used to stay in Kutagarshala while at Vaishali. It would have been expanded into a monastery in later periods.
The Thai group was having a long prayer meeting at the stupa.
To be continued…
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