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Otherwise known for guns & goons and also for Maoists, eastern Bihar’s sleepy backward Lakhisarai district is all set to get ready for its facelift. A MoU was recently signed between Bihar state heritage develop society (BSHS), a body of state’s Kala Sanskritik Vibhag and Bishwa Bharati University (BBU), Santiniketan, Bengal for excavation of different sights at Lakhisarai having archeological significances, documentation of ancient edifices that would found during excavation and to develop the spots as tourist destinations.
Prof. Amit Hazra, register of BBU and the working president of BSHS, Bijay Kumar Choudhary signed on the MoU jointly at the varsity in Santiniketan on October 7. “It was a historic moment for Lakhisarai as it will open a big treasure trove before world’s archeologists and history lovers,” claimed Dr. Anil, archeologist and associate professor at BBU under whose direction excavation would start from November 2017. After Nalanda district, the home turf of Nitish Kumar, Lakhisarai became the second district in Bihar where archeological excavation would be initiated.
Meanwhile, archeological survey of India (ASI) has given license for excavation of Jainagar Pahadi where Dr. Anil and his team are scheduled to start excavation work from November 2017 tentatively.
Lakhisarai was an important political and religious center from early medieval (AD550-1200) to Pala period (AD 8th-12th century) but very unfortunately it earned notoriety in modern periods mainly due to noted goons and Maoists. Excavation of sands from its river bed has synonyms with crime and some topographically inaccessible parts of the district with evergreen forests and hills are converted into the safe corridors of Maoists. High rates of illiteracy, poverty in absence of proper employment opportunities and even lack of measures to the dry lands, made the inhabitants rude and ruthless to some extent. Lakhisarai earlier as a sub-division of Munger district, carved out as a separate district in early nineties during the tenure of Laloo Prasad Yadav as chief minister, mainly for maintaining law and order situations.
Situated at the confluence of Ganga, Kiul and Harohar rivers, Lakhisarai presently has 50 archaeologically rich sites spread over 50 square kilometres. Earlier under leadership of Dr. Anil a surveyed was conducted at Lakhisarai last year. Lakhisarai was also one of the political capitals of Pala empire of Bengal. During survey in February 2017 a hill mound at Bichuwey was found it was said that Bal Gudar was an administrative center in the early medieval period and Jainagar Pahadi was one of the political capitals during Pala period.
Noted British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham who visited Lakhisarai also had mentioned in his archaeological reports about a Kushan period stupa at Non Garh. The discovery of a relic stupa at Bhosi Kundi where ashes of Lord Buddha were kept, was also mentioned in his reports. Buddhist literatures along with important historical texts also have confirmed that Buddha had spent three rainy seasons at Bhosi Kundi.
Apart from the findings by the archeologists, Lakhisarai also claimed to be attached with Ramayana era as the place having religious significance is associated with the hermit, Sringirishi, who, legend has it, used to live here.
Ramayana has it that King Dasaratha once visited the hermit to seek his blessings for having sons. The hermit gave the king some fruits for his three queens and subsequently they gave birth to Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan.
Vikash Vaibhav, deputy inspector general of police, Bhagalpur zone who is also holding the additional charge of Munger zone, has welcomed the decision and hoped for change of fate of Lakhisarai district. “People should know their glorious past, excavation will certainly throw more light on the Pal dynasty along with matters related to Gautama Buddha as Lakhisarai district was an important destination for Buddha followers. Such excavation would certainly boost tourism as well as income generate opportunities leading to change the local society here,” he told The Telegraph.
According to Atul Kumar Verma , director, state archaeological directorate, seven sites like Bhosi Kundi, Bichuwey, Baal Gudar, Non Garh and Jainagar Lal Pahadi has been included in the list of protected sites of the Bihar government. Earlier in February 2017, the archaeological directorate department which functions under art, culture and youth affairs department, had surveyed 17 archaeological places in Lakhisarai district and finally the seven sites are included in the list, he informed.