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  • 0 Bodhgaya Land of Enlightment

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    About Bodhgaya Information Three hundred years before Alexandria was founded, about the time that Thales, the most ancient philosopher of Europe was teaching in Greece, that water is the origin of all things, the soul of the world; and Zoroaster, in Media or Persia, was systematizing the fire-worship of the Magi; and Confucius in China, was calling on the teeming multitudes around him to offer the guardian spirits and the manes of their ancestors; and Nebuchadnezzar was setting up his golden image in the plains of Dura; and Daniel was laboring in Babylon to establish the worship of the true God in Judea; a reverend sage who had left a throne for philosophy, was traveling from Bodhgaya to Benares, and from Benares to Kanouj, exhorting the people against theft, falsehood, adultery, killing, and intemperance. In the year 563 B. C. on the Full Moon Day of V aisakha in the kingdom of Kapilavastu a young prince was born to King Suddhodana and Queen Mahamaya in the royal Lumbini grove under a Sal Tree. On the fifth day of his birth he was named ‘Siddhartha' and on the seventh day his mother expired. Prajapati Gautami, the younger sister of Mahamaya, who also was his step-mother, took care of the young child like any other mother would do. During the formative years of Prince Siddhartha, he received his early education and was trained in warfare and administration but he was often found immersed in deep - thoughts regarding the suffering and miseries of humanity. He was opposed to exploitation of man by man, inequality, poverty, violence, class and caste system. When he attained the age of sixteen he was married to a very beautiful and charming Princess Yashodhara, daughter of the Koliya King Dandapani of Devadaha.When Siddhartha was 29 Years old Yashodhara gave birth to a beautiful son named Rahula and this he termed as another impediment to keep him attached to worldly life. He left his palace leaving behind his parents, his beautiful wife and the new born Rahula in search of a way that would free mankind or humanity from the cycle of suffering.Since then Prince Siddhartha who became a parivrajaka wandered forth to several teachers in search of the Truth that would end the cycle of birth and death. He went to dense forests and dark caves, and met many teachers, practised penance and self- mortification and studied their doctrines and disciplines but all these were not sufficient to satisfy him for what he earnestly sought for and he practiced these severe austerities for six long years without taking food nor drink and as a result of which he turned into a mere skeleton.Realizing that the practice of severe austerities would lead him to death he left his friends and came to the east bank of the river Niranjana where he was offered Kheer (rice-pudding = rice cooked with milk and sugar) by Sujata, daughter of the chief of the village Senani. Accepting the dâna (offer) of Sujata he crossed river Niranjana and came to Uruvela on the same day and in the evening he prepared a seat of kusa grass and sat beneath the peepal tree facing eastwards. The Bodhisattva Siddhartha who was determined to reach the truth started his fight against Mara, the Evil One sitting for meditation with a strong determination (adhitthâna) that unless and until he cannot find out the truth he would not get up from the seat, come what may.All the efforts of Mara failed to disturb and distract Siddhartha from his seat and on the full Moon day of Vaisâkha during the last watch of the night at the age of 35 years he attained Supreme Enlightenment and came to be known as the Buddha which means the All Knowing One, the All Compassionate One, One who can show us the Truth to end all Suffering for which He is also called the Bhagawân, Sugato, Samyak Sambuddha and Tathâgata and the seat of His Enlightenment is called the 'Vajråsana' or the 'Diamond Throne' and the Tree under which He attained Enlightenment is known as the 'Bodhi Tree' the botanical name being the 'Ficus Religiosa'.After attaining Enlightenment, the Buddha spent seven more weeks in meditation in seven different places around the Bodhi Tree contemplating his stupendous achievement for this human life, because to be born as a human being is very rare an opportunity.THE DHAMMA (TEACHING OF THE BUDDHA)The Buddha then set out for Varanasi where at the Deer Park (Mrigadayavana) in Isipatana, modern Sarnath where the first sermon (the Dhammachakka pavattana) was expounded or the setting in motion the Wheel of the Law to the first five disciples who earlier were in the initial years closely associated with Siddhartha for six long years, exhorting them to avoid the two extremes of self-indulgence and self mortification. Self-indulgence leads to retardation of spiritual progress and the latter weakens one's intelligence. The Buddha expounded the Dhamma based on the Four Noble Truths i.e., Dukkha (Suffering) , the cause of Dukkha (Suffering), the cessation of Dukkha (Suffering) and the path leading to the cessation of Dukkha which was through Ârya Atthangika Magga (the Noble Eightfold Path) consisting of Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, Right Understanding and Right Thought. The Dhamma which is based on the three pillars of Sila (Morality), Samâdhi (Concentration) and Prajñâ (Wisdom) which in other words is also called the Middle Way or the righteous way of life. The Buddha established the Sangha or the Order of Monks for the creation of an ideal society based on Mettâ (loving-kindness), Karunâ (compassion), Muditâ (sympathetic joy) and Upekkhâ (equanimity) which was free from class, caste and colour prejudices and maintained equality, freedom, justice, fraternity and brotherhood.Love, mercy, patience, self-denial, alms-giving, truth, and the cultivation of wisdom, he required of all. Good actions, good words, and good thoughts were the frequent subjects of his sermons; and he was unceasing in his cautions to keep the mind free from the turmoil of passion, and the cares of life.Buddhism which embraced those doctrines, together with the systems of worship that have grown out of it, has numbered more adherents and influenced more men, than any other system of belief historically known-perhaps than all others together.Buddhism, however, according to a true definition of the word religion, or any purely technical use of the term, is not a religion. It does truly admit, in a modified way, nearly the whole pantheon of early Hinduism and all the demons, ghosts, spirits and fairies that belong to the wild superstitions of the peoples; but yet it nowhere admits any real god on any superhuman being worthy of worship; it has no temples; it admits neither altars nor sacrifices; it has no true priests; it knows no prayers, no ritual, no religious rites of any kind.Buddhism is simply an atheistic system of Philosophy and Ethics-a Philosophy of humanity in its environment, so clear, so profound, so positive, that it is destined not only to astonish, but to largely modify, at no distant day, the thought of the West. Ethics which have already begun to awaken surprise and admiration in many who had not believed that any good thing could come out of heathenism.In a broader, more popular use of the word, however, Buddhism is a religion : and is rightly studied as such in connection with other great religions that have influenced large masses of men.A religion is always a growth. No religion ever started as an absolutely new and completely perfected system; but each, with constant changes, developed out of something, or in connection with something, that went before. Curiously enough, this word growth in this connection partakes of both senses in which it is used, respectively, of organic development and of inorganic increase; for in religion, there is always something that, like the principle of life, itself-developing from within, according to regular organic law, while, at the same time, there are whole masses of outer accretions like the glittering stalactites and stalagmites of a calcareous cavern, or the slimy alluvial flats of a great river delta.The Buddha in course of 45 years of his ministry moved from village to village, town to town, city to city along with His retinue of monks following His own prescribed dictum 'Bahujana Hitâya, Bahujana Sukhaya' and finally at the age of 80 he attained Mahaparinibbana (left His body in meditation) lying between two Sal trees. It is an event of unique significance that all the three events of the Buddha, His Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinibbana all took place in the forest and beneath the trees and all happened at a single day on the full Moon Day of Vaisâkha in the Sal grove at Kusinara, modern Kushinagar.MAHABODHI MAHAVIHARAThe Mahabodhi Mahavihara or more popularly known as the Bodhgaya Temple or the Great Stupa, is one of the shrines out of the 84000 shrines erected by King Asoka the Great in the 3rd century B.C. The Mahabodhi Mahavihara is the sole surviving example of what was once an architectural genre. How long it took to create this magnificent structure or whose creation it is still remains a mystery and for the lack of a comprehensive historical data this subject remains a controversy till date. However, throughout the centuries, this blessed site has retained its deep spiritual vibration and inspired countless beings towards a saintly life and the vihâra itself stands out as an eye catching artistic landmark as if standing testimony towards the presence of the greatest Teacher of all time mankind has ever witnessed.A graphic and comprehensive description of the Mahabodhi complex is left by Huen Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim who visited Buddhagaya in 637 A.D. About the Mahabodhi Temple he says :“To the east of the Bodhi tree, there is a vihara about 160 or 170 feet high. Its lower foundation-wall is 20 or more paces in its face. The building is of blue bricks covered with chunam (burnt stone lime) all the niches in the different stones hold golden figures. The four sides of the building are covered with wonderful ornamental work : in one place figures of stringed pearls (garlands), in another, figures of heavenly rishis. The whole is surrounded by gilded copper amalaka fruit. The eastern face adjoins a storied pavilion, the projecting caves of which rise one over the other to the height of three distinct chambers; its projecting caves, its pillars, beams, doors, and windows are decorated with gold and silver ornamental work with pearls and gems let in to fill up interstices”.The original fabric of the present Mahabodhi temple, which notwithstanding the simplicity of design and decoration, is of unique importance, being the sole survivor of a style of architecture which was in vogue in this region and of which vestiges are still in existence in the ruined temples at Nalanda and a few other places. Curiously enough it retains the dimensions and broad features which characterized it in the time of Huen Tsang.The Temple underwent several restorations, renovations and repairs in subsequent periods by a number of devout Kings, donors and philanthropists of home and abroad. A very thorough renovation of the Temple was taken up during 1874 by the deputations of the Burmese King, Mindon-Min, with the permission of the Government of India but subsequently completed in 1884 under the supervision of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Beglar. This Temple suffered much at the hands of time due to man made miseries and natural calamities especially during the reign of King Shashanka of Gour (Bengal). Important Places The sacred Bodhi Tree -The sacred Bodhi tree - the shades under which the Siddhartha Gautama meditated and attained Enlightenment on the full Moon day of Vaisakh Purnima (May month). This peepal tree’s botanical name is ficus religiosa. It was under this tree that the Buddha spent the first week in meditation after attaining Enlightenment. The present tree is probably the fifth succession of the original tree which was earlier destroyed several times by man-made misery and natural calamities.Vajrasana -Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne is the seat of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Built in the 3rd century B.C. by Emperor Asoka, it is made of red sand stone. Venerable Ashwaghosa in his Buddhacarita reveals that this is the Navel of the Earth. Fa-Hien mentions that all the past Buddhas attained Enlightenment here and the future Buddhas too will attain the enlightenment on this spot.Animesha Lochana Chaitya -Situated on the north east of the Mahabodhi Temple, this is the place where the Buddha spent the second week in meditation in standing posture gazing at the Bodhi Tree with motionless eyes for one whole week.Cankamana -This is the place where the Buddha spent the third week in meditation practicing the walking meditation, otherwise, called the Cankamana or the cloister walk. The raised platforms with lotus flowers mark the spot where the Buddha kept his feet while walking.Ratanaghara -The Ratanaghara or the Jewel House is the place where the Buddha spent the fourth week in meditation. Situated in the north-west of the Temple, the Buddha meditated here reflecting on the Patthana or the Law of Dependent Origination. A ray of six colours was said to have emanated from his body during that period and the Buddhists have designed their flag based on these colours.Ajapala Nigrodha Tree -The pillar marks the spot where the tree once stood marking the place where the Buddha spent the fifth week in meditation after his attainment of Enlightenment and delivered a discourse on the equality of mankind.Muchalinda Sarovar -The place where the Buddha spent the sixth week in meditation after his Enlightenment. While the Buddha was in meditation, a severe thunder storm broke out and seeing the Buddha getting drenched, the snake king of the Lake called Muchalinda came out of his abode and protected the Buddha with his hood from the violent wind and rains.Rajayatna Tree -Situated in the south of the Temple, this is the tree under which the Buddha spent a week in meditation. It is said that two merchants from Burma (presently Myanmar) named Tapassu and Bhallika while passing this way offered rice cake and honey to the Buddha and took refuge in the Buddha and His teachings ‘Buddham Saranam Gachami, Dhammam Saranam Gachami’ but they could not take refuge in the Sangham because the Sangha was not constituted then, thus they became the first lay devotees in the Buddhist world.Meditation Park -The park situated at the south-east of the temple is newly developed as a Meditation park. It has facilities for meditation huts, congregation and discussion courts and two huge prayer bells and two water fountains besides a lotus pond. RIVER NIRANJANA River Niranjana, running South to North, on the bank of which Bodhgaya is situated. River Niranjana has an important place in Buddhism. Buddhist Literature places on record how before his attaining Buddha hood the ascetic Siddhartha was charmingly impressed by this locality on his first arrival here. His impression finds a marvelous expression in the following measured terms. "Pleasantly picturesque is this part of land. Delightful is the sight of the grassy woodland. The river Niranjana is flowing on in glossy stream, showing the bathing places with gradual descents of steps, presenting a charming land scape, and affording glimpses into the neighboring hamlets easy to access. This must needs be the fitting place for a scion of a noble race strenously striving after the highest attainments.”SUJATA-KUTI (Sujata Gadh)The Excavation Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India undertook excavation at the ancient site of Bakraur(Sujata-Kuti), near Bodhaya, located on the right bank of the river Niranjana. The site, that is situated just north of the village, is traditionally known by various names like, Sujata Kuti, Sujatagarh and Sujata Quila, named after the maiden Sujata, the daughter of the chief of the village. It was she who offered milk-rice pudding or kheer to the Buddha after he had undergone severe austerities for six years to gain Enlightenment. The stupa, which was constructed to perpetuate the memory of the maiden Sujata, is 11mt. high from the ground level. Unfortunately, through the years because of inefficient care has been severely destroyed to collect baked bricks, caskets and reliquaries. Several plaques of the Buddha in bhumisparsha-mudra, made probably of plaster and surprisingly light in weight, were found near the damaged top of the stupa. Encased in lime plaster, the maximum diameter of the stupa in the last stage was about 65.50 m. Mud-mortar of varying thickness was used as a binding medium in the construction of the stupa. The railings and pillars were made of stone.It has not been possible to date the different stages of the stupa with certainty. The last phase of the stupa, however, can be assigned to a date between eighth and tenth century A.D., on the basis of terracotta sealing and plaques. It is quite likely that the religious zeal of the Pala Kings were responsible for the enclosure wall, railing and the gateway. The earliest occupation of the site may be placed in the second-first century B.C. on the basis of fragments of dark grey polished ware found in a partially exposed monastery-like structure towards the north-east of the stupa. The important finds of the excavation include a fragmentary ear-ornament of gold; small terracotta plaques; beads of agate and terracotta; a punch-marked coin; head, torso and multiple Buddha in stone; a few ornamental pieces; and a terracotta sealing. PRAGBODHI CAVES (DUNGESHWARI HILLS) The hill is situated about 3 miles to the north-east of Buddhagaya on the eastern bank of the river Phalgu. The hill had been identified by Cunningham with the Pragbodhi mountain of the Buddhist tradition, where the Buddha is said to have lived for six years before he proceeded to Uruvela, i.e., modern Buddhagaya. The identification is based on the fact, that, half way up the western slope of the hill, facing the river Phalgu, is a natural fissure or cavern, shaped like a crescent, 37’x5½’, with a small entrance 3’ 2’’ wide and 4’ 10’’ high, where the Buddha is said to have lived. Both Fa Hian and Hiuen Tsang visited and described the cave of the Pragbodhi mountain and their accounts, according to Cunningham, would perhaps refer to this cave. The height of the cave at the other end i.e. southern end is hardly 2’ 7’’, while the width is 1’ 7’’. At the back or east side of the cavern there is a ledge of rock, which probably served as a pedestal for the shadow of Buddha also figures on the rock. At present there is a small temple that is maintained by the Tibetan monks and just above the temple there is a cave which sheltered the Bodhisattva during his stay there. Below that the pilgrims can see the foundations of a large monastic complex and on the top of the mountain the ruins of several ancient stupas. The peaceful environment around Pragbodhi, its wild beauty and the powerful presence can be felt in the cave made it worth visiting. EXCURSION FROM BODHGAYA GAYA A place of religious sanctity for Hindus, Gaya lies 12 kms from Bodhgaya between Pretshila and Ramshila hills and is washed by the shores of river Phalgu. Gaya has a large number of Buddhist temples also. While Buddha was doing severe penance, he became weak, tired and hungry. He rested under a tree where, he was offered food by a condemned village woman named Sujata. To everybody's surprise Buddha accepted her offerings. Legend has it, that after having consumed the food, Buddha's countenance assumed a divine glow and he realized the Supreme truth; that neither extreme self indulgence nor self mortification is ever required. What is needed is to follow the Middle Path. Sujata Sthan or Durgeshwari Temple stands as a symbol commemorating this event. Rajgir:Just 15 kms from Nalanda is located the complex of temples and monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley, Rajgir is a very scenic place. Nalanda90 kms south of Patna, literally means the place that confers the lotus. It was one of the oldest universities of the world. It has nine million books, ten thousand students, two thousand teachers and was a center of great learning which reached its zenith between 5th and 12th Century A.D. Both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira visited this place. Emperor Ashoka built a Vihara, while Emperor Harshvardhan donated a 26 mtr. High copper image of Buddha and Emperor Kumar Gupta built a college of fine arts. In 1951, an International Center for Buddhist Studies was established in Nalanda. Nava Nalanda Vihar, 2 kms from here, is a similar institution. BARABAR CAVES The chief architectural remains, before the Gupta period, other than stupas and their surrounding gateways and railings, are artificial caves, excavated for religious purposes. Early specimens show a slavish imitation of carpentry that proves conclusively that the art of building in stone was still not fully developed. Two caves of Barabar Hill, 61.5 km. north of Bodhgaya, are in the form of a plain rectangular outer hall, at one end of which there is an inner chamber with a curved wall and overhanging caves. The caves were evidently substituted for a standardized religious meeting place consisting of a round thatched hut standing in a courtyard, and their designer could not transcend the pattern to which he had been used. Similar dependence on wooden models is evident in many other features of design until the Gupta period. The caves of the Barabar and Nagarjuni Hills are unadorned, with the exception of one at Nagarjuni, near Barabar, which has a comparatively simple carved entrance, added during or soon after the Mauryan period. The inner walls of all the caves are finely polished, no doubt by workmen of the school that was responsible for the polish of the Asokan columns. The Barabar caves, a fine specimen of workmanship needs to be added in the scheme of things for tourism development and if connected within the surroundings of Buddhagaya it sure will evoke much interest in the visitors. Deo : 20 kms from Gaya is located the Sun temple of Deo. In fact, this place is famous for the 'Chhat' festival, which is held in the month of October-November.

  • 0 Bangalore IT City

    5.00 of 1 votes

    About Bangalore Travel Information Bangalore is a booming city and considered fifth largest and the fastest growing city in Asia. Home to well over 6 million people, and a base for over 10,000 industries, Bangalore combines a quaint old world charm with the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolitan city. It is a delightful place with an amalgamation of various rich cultures, crafts, and heritage centers. This city while enjoying the reputation of being a modern, high-tech city, still offers a lot of places of historical interest for the avid sightseer to explore. A trip around the city can be very interesting and provides a varied sightseeing experience with Palaces, museums, temples, churches and gardens. It has an enviable posterity and presents much to be discovered. Despite being one of Asia's fastest growing cities, Bangalore remains one of the most elegant metros in India.A well-planned city, with tree-lined avenues,a large number of parks, gardens and lakes,Bangalore is aptly called India's garden city. Bangalore is even gaining the status of the "Floriculture Capital of India" due to the present blossoming of flower exports from the city. The beautiful parks like the Lalbagh and Cubbon Park are indeed a treat to the eyes. Take a tour of the wonderful places you can go sight seeing in Bangalore by clicking at the links to your right. Sightseeing 1. Bull Temple – It is situated in Basavanagudi ( Basava means bull in Kannada). It is the oldest temple built in the Dravidian style by Kempe Gowda, founder of Bangalore and has a monolithic Nandi, the bull (vahana or vehicle of Lord Shiva). Karnataka Tourism website tells me the imposing sculpture of Nandi measures 4.57 meters in height in height and 6.10 meters in length. There is a legend associated with the temple. You can also see the famous Dodda Ganesh temple next to the Bull temple. Apparently there is a huge monolithic statue of Lord Ganapathi about 18 ft in height and 16 ft in width, coated with kilos of butter. We didn’t have time to visit that temple so no photos. Timings of Bull Temple : 6 am to 8 pm. Vidhana SoudhaBangalore's best-known landmark, the Vidhana Soudha houses the Legislative Chambers of the State Government. This 46-metre high edifice was built almost entirely of granite and is a masterpiece of temple architecture. Government Museum Government MuseumThis beautiful 125 year-old structure with its Corinthian columns houses one of the oldest museums in the city. The museum boasts an exquisite collection of coins, sculptures, inscriptions, old paintings and excavated items. Cubbon ParkThis 135 year-old park is a 300 acre oasis of greenery in the heart of modern Bangalore. The park was laid out in 1864 by Lord Cubbon, the then viceroy of India. The red Gothic structures of the State Central Library and the High Court enrich the natural beauty of the park. The park houses a number of significant institutions like the Cheshire Dyer Memorial Hall, Ottawa Chatter, Museum, Century Club and the Press Club. Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological MuseumThe museum is a tribute to the brilliance of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, one of the architects of modern Karnataka. Highlights of the museum include 5 galleries, namely Engine Hall, Electronic Technology Gallery, Kimbe Paper Metals Gallery, Popular Science Gallery and Children's' Science Gallery. The museum even has an airplane and a steam engine on display in its compound. Some of the exhibits are interactive too!. Lal Bagh GardensThe rulers of this region in the 18th century, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, laid out a paradise-like garden, which sprawled over 240 acres. The garden was graced with rare trees from Persia, Afghanistan and France. This expanse of greenery is now one of India's most beautiful botanical gardens. At the heart of the gardens is situated the Glass House, whose design was inspired by the Crystal Palace in London. Flower shows are held here every January and August. Nandi HillsThis is a well-known tourist spot, 60 km from Bangalore on the road to Devanahalli. Tipu's Drop is a spot that affords dramatic views of the valley below. Legend has it that Tipu let captured soldiers plunge to their deaths from this precipice. . The best time to visit Nandi Hills is between July and February. Shiva StatueThis 65-foot high statue depicts Lord Shiva seated in Lotus position with a the backdrop of Mount Kailash with the river Ganga flowing from his matted locks. The statue is lit at night and looks looks really majestic. Sri Gavi Gangadhar-Eshwara TempleThis is a cave temple, which can lay claim to being both an architectural and scientific marvel. On Makara Sankranthi day during January every year, a ray of sunlight passes precisely through the horns of the stone bull outside the temple and illuminates the deity, the Shiva Linga, inside the cave.

  • 0 Land of Buddhas Enlightenment

    5.00 of 1 votes

    The crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya was where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree and became Buddha 2600 years ago. In terms of blessedness, this tiny temple town is to Buddhists what Mecca is to Muslims. Unsurprisingly, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world every year, who come for prayer, study and meditation. The most hallowed spot in town is a bodhi tree which flourishes inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, amid a beautiful garden setting, its roots embedded in the same soil as its celebrated ancestor. Additionally, many monasteries and temples dot the bucolic landscape, built in their national style by foreign Buddhist communities. The ambience is a mix of monastic tranquillity and small-town commotion (a booming nonreligious tourism industry has brought along with it the usual invasion of tourist paraphernalia, souvenir stalls and English-speaking wannabe guides). The complex, located about 110 kilometres from Patna, at 24°41′43″N 84°59′38″E,[10] contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree. It is believed that about 280 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It consisted of an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa and a chhatravali on a platform. A double flight of steps led up to the platform and the upper sanctum. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand.

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