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Anga, once prominent among 16 th Maha Janpad, today doesn’t have the opportunity to celebrate Buddha Purnima despite having the privilege of becoming host for Gautam Buddha who visited the region several occasions.
However the visit of state chief minister, Nitish Kumar to Jainagar Lalipahari at Lakhisarai this evening to observe the ongoing excavation there, flicked hope for revival of the site and subsequently could possibly be developed into an ideal tourists’ destination.
Kumar however started a new concept for offering best tribute to Gautam Buddha today while allowing construction of roads inside Lakhisarai for a proposed local Buddha circuit. Anil Kumar, head of the department of ancient Indian history culture and archaeology, Visva-Bharati who has been heading the excavation team here at Lalipahari, today requested Nitish Kumar for his approval for a road inside the district for the proposed Buddha circuit which would connect Ghosi Kund and Bicchway mount with Lalipahari keeping in the mind the convenient for the tourists in the coming days.
Anil Kumar explains apart from the inscriptions mentioned in the sculptures found at Lalipahari, topographical evidences are also very important to corroborate the facts. He said that the evidence of another monastery was found at Bicchway mount, hardly one km north of this nunnery which was exclusively for Buddhist monks as separate structured cells are found there. In between the two monastery the much described Chaliya mount is located where Gautam Buddha spent three consecutive rainy seasons, as mentioned in Buddhist texts, Prof Kumar pointed out. He said that there is the evidence of a large stupa is also inside the mount which would also be excavated soon.
Though no rituals or customs were observed at Anga Pradesh which still bears the evidences of how Gautam Buddha earlier visited the areas. Despite of different texts and religious books on Buddhism corroborated with historical and archaeological evidences, people almost forgotten Buddha’s connection with the soil of Anga. But the recently activists like ongoing excavations at Lakhisarai or mobilization of people from different walks of lives for the revival of Vikramshila in the pattern of Nalanda or extracting the old history by the people of a sleepy village, Bhadoria at Banka are some works are in positive direction for recalling the history
Villagers have initiated for the revival of more than 2500 year old history when Gautam Buddha for the first time preached a female in his life at Bhadaria village falling under Amarpur block in Banka, an eastern Bihar district in Bihar once under the territory of Anga.
Historical references from eminent writers on Buddhism like Hawaldar Tripathi Sahridoy, Rahul Snaskrityan and tests like Buddha Charya and Agguttarnikay and some Tibetan tests said that that Buddha accompanied by 1250 Buddha Vikshuk (monks) arrived Baddhiya (now Bhadaria) on the bank of river Chanan and become the guest of one Medhak, one powerful and influential ‘Setthi’ business men.
Setthi Medhak had a 7 year-old granddaughter, Bisakha who was assigned to welcome Buddha. Buddha for the first time preached a girl like her and she later became Buddha’s great female disciple commonly known as ‘Migarmata Bisakha’ as mentioned in different Buddhist texts.
To remember the great event, Bisakha Foundation, a Bhadoria based social organization with cooperation with Gram Panchayat of Bhadoria have already accelerated for establishing the importance of the place. People here have decided to rise the demand for conservation and renovation of their village to commemorate the great event of Gautam Buddha’s first time preaching to a female, Bisakha at the village.
Historical texts already gave references of how affluent was Medhak and the people of Bhadaria. When Bisakha went to received Buddha, she was accompanied with her 1000 female attendants. Besides Medhak gifted over more than 1500 cattle mainly cows yielding quality milks to Buddha, that reflects the prosperity of the area,” the references in such old documents mention.
Recently a function was organized at the village where many intellectuals, writers, journalists, educationalists and others who participated, gave their opinions on how to change the fate of the village. Most of them underlined the arrival of Buddha in this village and preaching to Bisakha was a unique incident in its kind in the world.
Ajit Kumar Pathkak, convener of Bisakha Foundation underlined two important events of Buddha’s life in this village. “Earlier the Buddhist monks didn’t take any byproducts of milk but Buddha first time allowed them to take milk, ghee etc. Second, the Buddhists monks didn’t take foods while on voyage and many were died due to such strict norms. But Buddha first time also allowed them to take foods and drinks during voyage during his preaching here ,” Pathak pointed out from the reference of different relevant texts.
Lakhan Lal Pathak, chief patron of the foundation has strengthened the need of reviving the importance of the place with an aim to promote tourism.
Villagers have decided to construct a gate in the main entrance of the village along with installation of two statues of Buddha and Bisakha at Bhadoria soon. “The gate in the memories of Buddha and Bisakha will help to give reorganization to Bhadoria village,” they pointed out. However, villagers also planted a saplings of Maha Bodhi tree and the symbolic foot marks of Buddha in the village.
Similar references including the travel notebook of Hiuen Tsiang mentioned that Buddha visited and stayed at different places like Gargara Puskarani (outskirts of Bhagalpur city) and at Buddhasan Zil (near the half-excavated sites of Vikramshila Buddha Mahavihara). King Dharma Pala, most efficient personality in Pala dynasty who had established Vikramshila world University, was just to pay tribute to Gautam Buddha at the place where he once stayed, believe many noted historians.
Unfortunately Buddha’s visit to this place is almost lost in people’s minds until the attention on Vikramshila again drawn after the excavation started in seventies, but it did not had the privilege to project its lost glory before the world. Very few work could be done so far for Vikramshila in comparison to two other contemporary world Universities, Nalanda and Takshila.
Misfortune continues to haunt Vikramshila as it has not been included in Buddha Circuit yet despite the fact that it still fulfills
all the criteria and deserves for the part of Buddha Circuit. It should also immediately attach in the World Heritage Site of UNESCO so that new generation in this world could know about the importance of Vikramshila.
Appreciating the chief minister for taking initiative for Lakhisarai, people in this region however urged him to give attention on Vikramshila otherwise best tribute to Gautam Buddha from Anga would remain incomplete!