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In a press worthy work, chief minister, Nitish Kumar today inaugurated excavation works at the historical sites of Lakhisarai district where once Gautam Buddha had spent three long consecutives years and also was the kingdom of Pala dynasty.
With the inauguration, sleepy Lakhisarai district which otherwise known for goons and Maoists is all set to be placed in the archeological map of the country. Excavation works to dig out the treasure troves of ancient periods would also give a new direction on ancient history, claimed historians.
After Nalanda the home turf of Nitish Kumar, Lakhisarai became the second district in Bihar where archeological excavation has initiated.
Kumar’s arrival today at Jainagar Lali Pahari, falling under ward No 33 at Lakhisarai township generated hopes among local residents here. he was accompanied by the team of ministers, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Bijay Kumar Sinha, Sharwan Kumar, Krishna Kumar Rishi along with Munger MP, Vina Devi, Kumar. He formally inaugurated the excavation works which would be executed by Bihar Virasat Vikash Samity and Bishwa Bharati University, Shanti Nikentan, Bengal under guidance of archeological survey of Indian (ASI).
As per Buddhist texts Gautam Buddha had spent three consecutive years at Lakhisarai. The kingdom of Pala dynasty is somewhere buried here, claimed the pre-excavation reports so far. The main aim is to make a Buddha circuit while connecting Bodh Gaya and Rajgir with Lakhisarai to promote tourism, a high level source from state headquarters said.
A MoU was signed recently between Bihar Virasat Vikash Samity , 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 last.
Deputy superintendent , ASI, Patna circle, Gautam Bhattachariya, procured licenses for the excavation of the Lali Pahari while assistant archeologists, Niraj Mishra and Ashish Kumar has obtained the licenses for excavations of Kiul river valley and Bichuwey.
According to Dr. Anil, an archeologist from Bishwa Bharati University (BBU), Santiniketan, Bengal who earlier conducted a surveyed here from 2016-17, would conduct the excavations.
When he was conducting a 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 dynasty.
Giving historical references he said that Lakhisarai was an important political and religious center from early medieval (AD550-1200) to Pala period (AD 8th-12th century) Situated at the confluence of Ganga, Kiul and Harohar rivers, Lakhisarai presently has 50 archaeologically rich sites spread over 50 square kilometres. 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.
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, he said. Sringirishi was the hermit who provided fruits to King Dashrath, father of Lord Rama, for his quines and after eating the fruits the quines of King Dashrath gave births to Rama and his brothers.
Narendra Kumar a local social activist however expressed strong resentments. He said despite the glorious past, Lakhisarai very unfortunately earned notoriety in modern days mainly due to 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. “We could now hope for a better future in terms of tourism,” he said.
Vikash Vaibhav, deputy inspector general of police, Bhagalpur zone also holding the additional charge of Munger zone, who today present at Lakishari on CM’s duty here has 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. People don’t know the importance of their land but when it would expose, many things including the hearts of many could be changed,” he claimed.
Historians and archeologists have welcomed the step taken by ASI and Nitish Kumar. “There are several important questions related to Pala dynasty, the founders of Vikramshila Buddha Mahavihara, the ancient world University at Bhagalpur in 7-8 century BC. The excavations could have thrown more lights as well would help to give answers to such questions,” said Shiv Shanker Singh Parijat, a historian at Bhagalpur.