Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scientific Clearance of Giriyak Hill Stupa by Archaeological Survey of India

just a beginning.....

Rich archaeological remains at the top and at the base of the Giriyak Hill (25° 01’ 28 N, 85° 30’ 51 E) suggests that this was a very important place in the past. The Big Stone structure (60 Mts X 60 Mts X 40 Mts) is from same period as the Cyclopean wall and Pipalli Stone House. Local folklore links all the mighty stone structures (cyclopean wall, Pipali stone house etc) of Rajgriha with the mythological king  Raja Jarasandha, who also finds mention in the Puranas Literature. 

Local legend says that the during the Mahabharata epic the army of Pandava's camped at the base of Giriyak Hill as the Rajgriha was impregnable. The Cyclopean wall which surrounds the Rajgriha is believed to be built by Raja Jarasandha to prevent the Pandava's from entering Rajgriha. The Big Stone Platform structures at key strategic places around the cyclopean wall  are probably the watch towers. The story further says that the Pandava's army  could enter Rajgriha from the eastern flank (i.e Giriyak Hill). And this was followed by a 27 days dual between Bhima and Raja Jarasandha that  ended with the Jarasandha's Death.

Giriyak Hill and its surroundings also has many Buddhist sites. One of the Important disciples of the Buddha, Sāriputta was born here and later attained Parinirvana in a village close to the Giriyak Hill; as mentioned in the travelogues of the Monk Scholars Fahein (5th CE) and Xuanzang (7th CE). 
Google Earth View of the Giriyak Hill (Left of the River)and the Surroundings
The Ancient Remains on the Giriyak Hill

The Stone Structure and the Stupa

The Huge Stone Structure

The Brick  Cylindrical Stupa

Cyclopean Wall and Stone Structures of Rajgriha
Map of Rajgriha with Hills and the Stone Structures as indicated

Pippali Stone House

Approx 15 Ft Wide and up to 12 Ft High  Cyclopean wall on the Rajgir Hills

The Scientific Clearance at Giriyak Hill by the
Archaeological Survey of  India (Patna Circle)

Path to the top- almost 600 Mt of stone pathway is now free of Bushes

The cleaning has exposed 20 Ft wide ancient path

This ancient Stone paved path was inaccessible before

The Brick Pillar was surrounded by 10 ft  high mound from  Fallen Bricks
The exposed base pedestals are almost 10 Ft High  and the cylindrical brick stupa on it is 28ft in diameter and 21ft high

The base of the Pillar exposed after the clearance

There are two bases with the Pillar on the brick base at North

The two bases as visible from the western side

The Stone structure and the Brick Pillar are connected with a stone pathway as seen from the aerial picture

Stone Path coming down from the stone structure (Aerial View)

The Connecting path after the cleaning

The Stone Path connecting the two mighty structures

The Tank to the right of the Stupa now ready to hold water

On the top of the Stone structure is another brick stupa with a circumambulatory path
The Stupa on the top of the Stone structure before the cleaning
Dense bushes and fallen bricks around the heritage structures
Brick stupa almost 40 ft High and 70 ft in diameter on the top of the stone structure

The stupa is still part of the local legend

40 Ft high Brick Stupa with 20ft wide circumambulatory path on the top of stone structure

Close view of the Scientific Clearance work of the Brick Pillars
The scientific clearance of the Cylindrical Stupa has exposed beautiful motifs made on bricks. we can see a layer of Pilaster on the stupa and at places the pilaster layer is almost one Inch thick. This indicates that this cylindrical stupa was once beautifully decorated with stuccoes. 


Revival of the Place

These mighty structures are just a shadow of its glorious past. Ancient Buddhist remains scattered in remote villages of  Bihar always reminding of the glorious past. A Sariputta World Peace Walk was organized this year at base of the Giriyak Hill with the objective to bring the Bhikkhu Sangha to this heritage site.

These elegant heritage of the past needs to be preserved in the most refined manners known to humanity so that they are available to those who seek solace in the shades of their glorious past

No comments: