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By Prakhar Patidar
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are three of the main religions followed in India. These three along with Sikhism are classified as Eastern religions and have similar roots. Hinduism, the oldest of the four, is believed to be the main river through which several streams of belief systems have emerged. Gaya district in Bihar is special as it holds a special place in the discourses of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Most famous for being the site where Siddharth gained enlightenment and became Buddha, Gaya is also mentioned in both the epics of Hinduism. It was the site of Dashrath's; the great king of Ayodhya, pind daan. It is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism and because of these factors, it is also listed as one of UNESCO'S heritage SITES.
Historically, Gaya has been a part of a series of great ancient empires. The earliest records of it are found in Ramayana and then of the enlightenment of Buddha (6 BCE) recorded by Buddhist historians. From 6th to 12th century till it was annexed into the Mughal empire, Gaya flourished as a post of many dynasties that rose and fell in that time. These were: Nanda Dynasty, Mauryan Empire, Gupta Empire, and the Pala empire.
It is the Mauryan period that is most strongly associated with the city because of Ashoka's strong inclination towards Buddhism. He was the one who laid the foundation of Mahabodhi Temple, the main heritage site in the city. This dates back to the 3rd century BCE. The temple further developed and over centuries has attained the status of a prime pilgrimage site in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Apart from this, Mahabodhi Temple is also an important specimen of the architecture of the time. This adds on to the criterion considered by UNESCO in designating it an important site of world heritage. The official website lists that not only it is one of the few standing examples of the brick structures used in the time, a living legacy of the architectural genius of the Indians of the time but also provides a window into a handful of great figures from Indian mythology and history.
The region is currently in the eastern state of Bihar and has a population of more than 43 lakh.
Keyword: Gaya, Buddha, Buddhism, Mahabodhi temple, bodh gaya, Heritage cities, UNESCO, Bihar, Buddha, Ashoka, History
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Here’s a book that aims to explore the story of conflict, confusion, and co-existence of the Socialist green and the BJPs saffron in Bihar.
“JP to BJP: Bihar after Lalu and Nitish” (Vitasta-Sage Select) by Santosh Singh reveals the inside story of Chief Minister Nitish’s somersault, how BJP President Amit Shah had forced Nitish’s return to NDA by opening the Arun Jaitley channel, how former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad spends his time in jail (in the fodder scam), and other such unknown details.
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While the book dwells at length on these little-known stories of the three products of the JP Movement — Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar, and late Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan – it recounts the parallel journey of the Socialists’ struggle against the Congress.
It is also the story of the Socialist movement in India from the time of Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Basavan Singh, Suraj Narayan Singh, Karpoori Thakur, Ramanand Tiwary, Kapildeo Singh, Lalu Prasad to Nitish Kumar.
The author takes up a whole range of questions and conundrums of the politics of Bihar from the 1930s onward and attempts to piece together this puzzle. The book further delves into the details of former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s Bihar plans and poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s plans for the eastern state.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: बसपा विधायक मुख्तार अंसारी को वापस लाने के लिए योगी सरकार की नई शुरुआत
“This book is special in the sense that nothing of this sort has been written so far on Bihar. While it tells the story of the formation of Triveni Sangh, a forum of three caste groups in Bihar, it also tells the story of Tejashwi Yadav. Karpoori Thakur has also been a less told story. I have tried to weave in nuggets from his time. It has been extremely satisfying and fulfilling to weave together the great Bihar story, from Dr. Srikrishna Singh to Nitish Kumar with a lot of contemporary elements,”, Santosh Singh, the author, said.
The title, he said, “is living up to the current political situation with Bihar politics now becoming a battle between the BJP and the rest”.
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With six JD-U members in Arunachal Pradesh joining the BJP, “the alarm bells are ringing for Nitish Kumar. Just wait till the UP elections in 2022, BJP will unfold its Bihar plans with more clarity. BJP’s arrival is just a matter of time. The only thing to watch out for is whether all socialist groups can come together to stop the saffron party’s juggernaut. Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan are also leaders to watch out for, while Kanhaiya Kumar and Prashant Kishor can spring some surprises,” he added. (IANS)
Hundreds of native and migratory birds are flocking the reservoir in Bihar capital Patna nowadays, making nature lovers and birdwatchers make a beeline to see the winged visitors that fly in from places as far as Siberia, Europe, and even Africa.
The water body spread over 7 acres was opened to schoolchildren from January 4, enabling the ebullient youngsters to watch with interest rafts of Gadwall, Northern Shoveller, Lesser Whistling Duck, Comb Duck, Lalsar or Red-crested Pochard, Moorhen, Cormorant, and Pintail Duck.
Forest officials said that 73 species of trees, mostly with medicinal value, have been planted around the water body to give a forest-like feel to the ambiance, which is sure to warm the hearts of nature lovers and also provide roosting places for the avian fauna.
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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the pond and spent some time watching the birds through binoculars.
The water body, which was virtually moribund not long ago — was earlier used to rear fishes, but has now been developed from environmental protection point of view.
Forest Officer Arvind Kumar Sharma said that a 12-foot wide pathway has been built around the water body to facilitate the movement of visitors and plans are afoot to develop the area further.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: देशी-विदेशी परिंदों के लिए नया आश्रयस्थली बना राजधानी जलाशय
Though the birds start arriving at the spot from August-September onwards, the influx increases around December. However, this year, the arrival of the avian guests increased in November itself due to heavy snowfall in areas inhabited by migratory birds.
“Not only from Siberia, but birds also arrive here from as far as Europe and Africa,” said forest officials.
Arvind Kumar Mishra, founder of Mandar Nature Club at Bhagalpur and an avian expert, said that birds did not arrive at the water body till a year ago, but began to flock to the spot in their hundreds after the Forest Department developed it virtually as a bird paradise.
“The migratory birds go to hotter climes in December, but they have now started coming here in November due to heavy snowfall in their original habitats and the consequent shortage of food. During the breeding season, all these migratory birds return to their native lands,” he said. (IANS)
BY SHWETA PORWAL
The Mundeshwari Temple also spelled as Mundesvari temple is situated on an isolated hill at an elevation of 608 feet in Ramgarh Village of the Kaimur district in the state of Bihar. The temple is the oldest specimen of the Nagara style of temple architecture.
The temple is best known for its unique historical, archaeological, cultural, and religious features. The ASI (Archaeological Survey Of India) dates the temple of 108 AD making it the oldest functional temple in the world. The temple has been protected by ASI since 1915.
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The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Shakti and also has deities of Ganesha, Surya, and Vishnu. The temple has four entrances in which one has been closed and one is half-open. The major attraction of the temple is the Panchukhi Shivling constructed with a special stone that changes its color along with the position of the sun and stone. People usually visit the temple in Navratri when the temple holds a mini-fair of 9 days.
According to the local folks, the temple was made and ruled by Chanda and Munda the two brothers who were the chieftains of Demon Mahishasura. Munda made goddess Mundeshwari Bhawani temple while the other brother Chanda made Chandeswari temple at the top of Madurana Hill.
But the historical facts have a different story to narrate. According to the source, Dr. NG Majumdar and Dr. KC Panigarhi say that the temple was built earlier than the 4th century AD. The recovery of the royal seal of the Great Shri Lankan emperor changed history in 2003. It established that royal pilgrims or monks from Shri Lanka once visited the place during their journey to Sarnath from Bodh Gaya sometime between 101BC to 77BC and lost the seal here.
Later on, Bihar State Religious Trust Board (BSRTB) organized a national seminar of eminent experts at Patna in 2008 and the date of Mundeshwari inscription was fixed 108 AD.
636-38 AD: Chinese visitor Huen Tsang writes about a shrine on a hill.
1790 AD: Daniel brothers Thomas and William visited the temple and provided its first portrait.
1888 AD: Buchanan visited the region in 1813.
1891-92 AD: First part of the broken Mundeshwari Inscription was found.
1903 AD: Second part of the inscription was found.
2003 AD: Royal seal of Shri Lankan Emperor Maharaju Dutthagamani was discovered.
2008 AD: The date of the inscription was established 30th year of the Saka Era (108AD).
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How To Reach:
One can easily reach Mandeshwari temple by road and air. It can be reached by road via Patna, Gaya, or Varanasi. The nearest railway station to the temple is at Mohina- Bhabua Road railway station.
By air, Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi is the nearest airport located at a distance of 102 KM from the temple.