Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Development of Griddhkuta(Vulture's Peak) Zone (Circuit)

Griddhkuta (Also Vulture's Peak) is a very important pilgrimage site for the followers of the teachings of the Buddha. Griddhkuta Hill is surrounded by many other important places. Unfortunately, many of these places are currently inaccessible to pilgrims. The Chinese monk scholars,  Fahein (5th CE) and Xuanzang (7th CE), gave detailed descriptions about caves and rock shelters surrounding the base of Griddhkuta Hill. A meeting of concerned officials was called by Shri Sanjay Aggarwal, District Magistrate, Nalanda,  to prepare a developmental plan for Griddhkuta and its surrounding areas which would make these places of pilgrimage interest accessible again.

The objective of the meeting was revival of the link path between Griddhkuta Hill, Ashokan Stupa and Vishwa Shanti Stupa, (refer to Fig-1 and Fig-2)
1-Access to the caves on the southern side of Griddhkuta Hill (to create a circumambulatory path around Griddhkuta Hill)
2- Link path between Griddhkuta and the Ashokan Stupa on the north of Griddhkuta Hill
3- Staircase reaching to the Ashokan Stupa
4- Link path between  the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the Ashokan Stupa
5- Circumambulatory path around the Ashokan Stupa

The idea is to create a Griddhkuta Circuit consisting of places in and around Griddhkuta Hill. A careful study of the Google Image (Fig-1 and Fig-2) suggests that there was some path connecting these hills, which was lost during the past centuries. This task required coordination among the officials of the Forest Department and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). We are grateful to Shri Rakesh Kumar Ji (Divisional Conservator of Forest), Dr. Pathak (Dy. SA, ASI) and Shri Keshto Ji (ASI)  for their kind cooperation to make it all possible.

Shri Baban Pandey (Asst. Engineer, Government of Bihar) and Shri Manoj Kumar took time out to do all the measurement work.
Fig-1- The places around Griddhkuta and the ancient path connecting them

Fig-2- The proposed link paths and circumambulatory path marked in colours
DCF Shri Rakesh Ji , ASI Representatives Shri Krishto Ji and others at Griddhkuta
Shri Baban Pandey and Manoj Kumar making the measurments

Close view of the uneven ancient path
Path flanked by dense bushes
Myself with Baban Pandey ji at Ashokan Stupa
Dhamma Flags at Ashokan Stupa
View of Vishwa Shanti Stupa from Ashokan Stupa

We look forward to the completion of the Griddhkuta Circuit and the revival of the ancient pilgrimage to these places.


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