Monday, December 21, 2009

Proposed Tourist circuits at Juafardih and Rukmanisthan (Jagdishpur)


In 2007, ASI carried out an excavation in Juafardih. During the course of excavation some evidence were found suggesting this could be Kulika the birth place of Maha Moggallana as per the travelogues of Xuanzang. This is an important site and will attract many Buddhist pilgrims if it is appropriately staged and managed. The site is in the centre of the village and is in bad shape. It needs suitable conservation and restoration measures. A community participation plan is envisioned for the conservation of this site. We had a couple of meetings with the community in the village, people from all section of society participated in the discussion and it was decided to have a tourism development committee in village. More meetings with the community is planned for future to frame the bye-laws and objectives of the body.

Rukmanisthan (Jagdishpur)
Rukmanisthan is an ASI protected site and is 1Km south-east of Jagdishpur village. The site is around 10 Acres of land, circular in shape. At the centre of the site is a 10 Ft, black stone, Pala period Buddha statue. The statue is an attraction among visitors from many South-east Asian countries. The approach to the site is not good. The site is protected and a part of land at centre is owned by community. There is prohibition on any agriculture activity and community is not allowed to till the land. There is an ASI guard, who is at site for few hours on weekdays.

There is no development planned for this site by the ASI as yet and would need some considerable efforts to make it a rewarding journey. Dr. U. Panyalinkara, Head Abbot, Chinese Buddhist Temple has shown considerable interest in its potential. With his efforts a link road is under construction. Another problem is that the site is popular for animal grazing by the local people and the plantation efforts made by ASI in last couple of years has seized to alleviate the problem.

We gathered a lot of information from the community; the community shared with us the oral history of the Rukmanisthan and that it revolves around King Bhimika of Kundalpur (Bargaon), His daughter Rukmani and Mythical Lord Krishna of epic Mahabharata. They believe Lord Krishna when eloped with Rukmani; he stayed for some time at this place. Hence the place derived its name Rukmanisthan. Unmarried gals form this vicinity worship at a temple housing Lord Buddha statue at Rukmanisthan. The place had many statues some 50 years ago; a few of them have been removed by ASI but lots many idols have gone missing in last 20 years.

In the meetings it was discussed that a community organization comprising of people from all section need to be formed and that more youths should be involved in it. There are few students from Nava Nalanda Mahavihar in the village and they took special interest in all the meetings. We had few more meetings to discuss a suitable action plan for community participation in its development and how the community can benefit from tourism. It was agreed that the tree plantation was the first necessary step and also the necessity to safeguard the plantation from animal grazing.

The next meeting place was recommended on the opposite corner of the village so that the people from that side are not excluded for the discussion. We had a meeting with the communities there and we got positive response when we shared the objectives of the plantation and how it will help in tourism and hence livelihoods. It was also decided to work closely with stakeholders in future and meet regularly to discuss future course of action.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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