All posts filed under: Bihar

Patna: A Photo Essay

Patna or ancient Pataliputra became Magadha’s capital after the Kings realised the importance of Ganges as a mode of transportation. Rajgir, the initial capital was closer to the mines that were located down south. However, with the rise of Pataliputra, it faded away. When modern Bihar was formed, Patna was a natural choice to be the capital. Theses pictures are from my one day roaming around in Patna.

The 80 ft Buddha Statue

In the Land of Enlightenment: Bodhgaya

My guide picked up a leaf that fell from the Banyan tree and handed it over to me. The very tree (albeit descendant) under which Gautama became the Buddha. The value we ascribe to things is proportional to your beliefs only. I remember that when I was a kid there used to be a bottle of water my mom had collected from Ganges and it was held very reverentially. I used to look at it with starry eyes, as if the object in front had some mystical powers. This time during my visit to Ganges, I couldn’t help but think of it only as a polluted water source. Bodhgaya, a mere 15 kms away from Gaya is the city if Enlightenment. While Gaya is out and out a Hindu pilgrims place, Bodhgaya is a Buddhist centre + secular tourist destination. You see school children on tour, monks, foreigners, and the whole spectrum in Boddh Gaya. Bihar’s first world heritage site (2nd being Nalanda), the current temple at the site is largely a modern construct. The …

Gaya: Where the dead incur expenses

There is a place in India for everything. Banaras is where people go to die and attain “Moksh”( salvation). Gaya is where those who couldn’t attain salvation before their death are remembered and sent to Swargalok (heaven). The dead incur expenses for everything here. “South ka log bahut aate ho Kya yahaan pe?” I asked my panda( The guy who performs the rituals) whether a lot of South Indians come to Gaya. “Aap log hi hamara kheti Hain” You guys only are our agriculture, he said. I smelled business in Gaya right from the start. However I wanted to see the process through because I wouldn’t come here again probably. Besides my mother fished out a strange coincidence for the day that I came to Gaya. It was the same day that my maternal Grandfather had died. And he used to talk about Shraadh in Gaya. So now I had no choice but to perform it. If you visit Gaya, be sure to carry a lot of change. There are Brahmins and Beggars at every …

Nalan-da: Give Knowledge- At the ruins of the ancient university

It is said that the fire that engulfed Nalanda raged for six months. Such was the size of the university and the books that it contained. The mammoth structure was built of wood and bricks and both were burnt to the ground. As I stood at the ruins, I could see the burnt mark over the bricks. Such was the heat, that some of the bricks had even melted. However, the story of Nalanda is not be remembered for the attack that it had to suffer. All things great will come to and end. We should rather be proud if such an institution that existed in the place and try to answet pertinent questions that it poses to our present society. Nalanda is a portmanteau of two words. Nalin means lotus, which is a symbol of knowledge in Buddhism and Hinduism. Da means to give. This Nalanda is the place where knowledge was given. The present ruins are only a shadow of what was present during the glory days. It is said that the majority …