Unattended lies the Ashokan pillar PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:25

Unattended lies the Ashokan pillar

Ms. Reena Sopam

Hindustan Times Patna

(January 16, 2010)

Patna: The world famous Mauryan Asokan pillar and the remains of the Raja Vishal ka Garh at Vaishali may be nationally protected monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Patna Circle. But lack of upkeep has meant that the sites have not received the attention they deserve.

Thousands of tourists and Buddhist pilgrims for over two dozen countries regularly visit the site. But the main attraction – the site of the lion pillar – today a national symbol stands most neglected.

The Ashokan pillar is crumbling in absence of maintenance. Archaeologists agree that the pillar has developed cracks “Sandstone pieces from its outer surface have been peeling off due to continuous weathering. Even the Asokan inscription in ‘Prakrit’ over the pillar is hardly visible now as the spots containing it are badly damaged.” An Archaeologist preferring anonymity said.

He continued, “Even Raja Vishal Ka Garh, a Licchavi remain, is crying out for attention because of the number kilns being located around the protected site despite the mandated law, that no other structure can come up within four kilometers of such heritage sites. Some of the kilns are within 500 metres of the site.”

Suresh Bhatia, an Archaeologist and Director of ‘The Buddhist Heritage, www.bhpromo.org said it was a holy lake believed to be used by the Royal Family of Vaishali on some ceremonious occasions during the age of the Licchavis. “Its sanctity is being violated and neither the ASI nor the State Archaeology care to stop it. Even the construction of a hotel at a close distance of the ancient age lake is a violation of the ‘Ancient Sites and Monuments Act 1958,’ he said.

S.K. Manjul, Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Patna Circle said that the Abhishek Pushkarni Lake at Vaishaligarh was not under ASI protection. “The State Archaeology Department should also take the responsibility to protect some of its heritage sites and monuments,” he said.

Manjul said that there were large human settlements at a close distance of the protected sites. “But the chimney is beyond 300 meters”, he said.

Archaeologists say, that Vaishali drew world attention because of the ashes of the Buddha discovered here. “It has been drawing lakhs of foreign tourists during the peak of the tourist season, but there is no accommodation facility for them. It also lacks any air connectivity with other Buddhist sites. Those who visit the place to witness Buddha’s ashes have to be disappointed as they continue to remain at the Patna Museum.

Courtesy Hindustan Times; Patna


Sanjeev Kumar Verma l TNN

The Times of India, Patna, January 20, 2010

Patna: Bihar has umpteen amusement parks, zoological parks and botanical parks, but what about theme parks depicting heritage? The concept should not sound too bizarre giving the fact that the State has a rich tradition of art and culture. And in an age of increasing globalization, sometimes it pays to be in touch with one’s roots, especially for Gen-Y.

So get ready to have a day out in the sun in theme parks across the State showcasing art works, including three-dimensional wonders. The State’s Art & Culture Department has short listed Patna, Dharbhanga, Gaya, Bettiah and Chapra for the special makeover. Themes have been decided for each park.

The one to come up at Patna on the premises of ‘Golghar’ would depict the city’s history from Asoka’s Mauryan times to the modern times. The one in Dharbhangha would depict the culture and history of Mithilanchal. Gaya’s theme park, to come up near the Mahabodhi Temple, would be replete with Buddhist philosophy, while the one at Chapra would showcase the rural culture of the region. Bettiah’s heritage park would depict the history of Champaran including the events leading to Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle against the Britishers for the local farmers. The parks are scheduled to be completed by the next fiscal year (2010-11), said the Art and Culture Department Secretary, Vivek Singh. He also said, the parks, apart from being a medium of knowledge for Gen-Y, it would also be an attraction for the tourists. “We intend to publish brochures about the park,” Singh added.

Courtesy: Times of India, Patna

Controversy over shift of Buddha Relic from Patna

Suresh Bhatia: B.H. News Service

January, 20, 2010

Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. Nitesh Kumar, presently touring the State on a two-fold mission: (1) to evaluate the efficient functioning of the State’s Government’s various Departments (2) to reach-out to the people in a bid to win the next Election – which is in the offing.

At a meeting in Sravasti yesterday, as part of his four-day pravas yatra announced that the ‘Relic of the Buddha,’ would be returned to its original home – Vaishali only after making proper security arrangement for it. So now, the Bihar Government has been looking for a suitable place to keep it permanently at Vaishali. Till now the district of Vaishali and its Buddhist sites have been to a large extent neglected and the flow of International and Indian pilgrims is negligible compared to Bodh Gaya and Sarnath. The ‘Relic’ being displayed at Vaishali will hardly attract a large flow of devotees.

On the other hand, the Country’s first ever Buddha Smirti park – another ambitious project of Chief Minister, Nitesh Kumar, at Patna. The ‘Mega-project’ is rapidly being constructed on the 22 acres of land where the Bankipore jail once stood. The park is located right in front of the main Patna Railway Station. The project estimated to cost approximately Rs.125 crore is likely to be completed by March 2010.

As per the earlier decision, the ‘Relic’ was to be placed in a transparent box at the theme park. Last week Chief Minister had himself reviewed the progress of the work done at the theme park. One of the main exhibits at the Theme park was the ‘Relic.’ Now with the decision of the Chief Minister’s to return the antiquity to Vaishali. One wonders why Rs. 125 crore was spent on a project that will be deprived of its main exhibit. It cannot be denied that if the ‘Relic’ was to remain in Patna, Buddhist pilgrims visiting the city would have been blessed at having seen the holy ash remains of the Buddha.




January 21, 2010

NALANDA: as per the directives of the Central Government HRD Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal, all Universities with the status of ‘Deemed University’ have been de-recognized. The Nav Nalanda Mahavihara which, in 60 years since its establishment had till date, not been able to attain the status of an ‘Independent’ University. The students to suffer most from this set-back are nearly 250 monks who are studying here. Most of the monks are from South-Asian countries as well as some from India. The main reason for the College not being able to become an ‘Independent University’ has been the incompetence of the Director, Dr. Ravindra Pant along with members of the administrative staff.

This University was created by Late Ven. Jagdish Kashyapa and in pursuance of a scheme worked out by J.C. Mathur I.C.S., the then Educational Secretary to the Government, to revive Oriental learning on the traditional lines and to re-orientate it according to the methodology of modern scientific research. Hence Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, the Institute for Post-graduate teaching and research in Pali and Buddhist Studies was officially established in 1951. If no solution can be found to cancel the de-recognition of this Institution, Nalanda’s reputation of being a place for Buddhist Study will finally come to an end



The Stupa of the Buddha’s Cousin and Chief Attendant for 20 years has been finally located by the Buddhist Heritage team on the banks of the River Ganga, at a place known as Chechar – not far from Vaishali. The Stupa is in the hands of a private owner and was never visited by the British Archaeologist during their reign in India. The Buddhist Heritage seeks benevolent Sponsors globally for the restoration of the Site as a venue for pilgrimage. Information on the ancient site as well as a proposal for building a Monastery for Nuns as well as Stupa is available. For more information please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it