Sarnath Current Affairs - 2019
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According to a notification issued by Union Ministry of Culture, Chaukhandi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist site located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been declared as ‘protected area of national importance’ by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
For declaring the stupa as protected area government sought public feedback on 8 March 2019 for a period of two months.
About Chaukhandi Stupa
- Name: The Stupa is known as ‘Chaukhandi’ becaause of its four armed plan.
- The stupa is an ancient Buddhist site which evolved from burial mounds and served as a shrine for a relic of Buddha. It appears to be in ruins and was originally constructed in 5th Century AD.
- It also finds mention in account of Hiuen Tsang, celebrated Chinese traveler of 7th century AD.
- It is widely belived that Stupa was originally built as a terraced temple during Gupta period (4th-6th centuries AD) to mark the site where Lord Buddha traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath was reunited with panchavargiya bhikshus (Budhha’s five companions) who had previously deserted him at Rajgir.
- After Gupta’s the stupa’s architecture was altered by Govardhan, son of Raja Todarmal, who modified stupa to its present shape by building an octagonal tower in commemoration of Humayun (Mughal ruler) visit.
- Current Structure: Stupa is a high earthen mound covered with brickwork, to which stands atop a terraced rectangular plinth and it is capped by an octagonal Mughal tower. It is maintained, conserved and preserved by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Art: Some images of Buddha, such as the image of buddha in dharmachakra pravartana mudra and other statues found during excavations at this Stupa are believed to be rare artefacts and classic examples of art from Gupta period.
Tags: Archaeological Survey of India • Bodh Gaya • Buddha • Chaukhandi Stupa • Dharmachakra Pravartana Mudra
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will launch a new train Samantha Express on February 14 from Nagpur. The Samantha Express will cover prominent places associated with Gautam Buddha and chief architect of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar.
Journey of Samantha Express
The Samantha express will run through the following places:
- Chaityabhoomi (Mumbai): Dr Ambedkar was cremated here after his death on 6 December 1956 and it hosts a memorial for Dr Ambedkar.
- Mhow (Indore): Dr Ambedkar was born at Mhow.
- Bodhgaya (Gaya): Bodhgaya is a place where Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under Bodhi Tree.
- Sarnath (Varanasi): Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma here.
- Lumbini (Nautanwa): It was here Gautama Buddha was born.
- Kushinagar (Gorakhpur): It was here Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
- Deekshabhoomi (Nagpur): It was here Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.
Dr B R Ambedkar and Buddhism
About two months prior to his demise, Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism. Speaking about conversion Dr Ambedkar had said that everybody has to admit that conversion is necessary to the Untouchables as self-government is to India. The ultimate object of both is the same and there is no difference in ultimate goal. The ultimate aim is to attain freedom. Freedom is necessary for the life of mankind. Conversion of Untouchables would provide them with complete freedom. The conversion cannot be called worthless by any stretch of the imagination.