Other sites of cultural interests in Gaya districts

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Belaganj:

Belaganj is situated about 15 km north of Gaya on Patna- Gaya Road, within the Gaya district. At about 3 km east of dak bungalow are remains of temples (Brahminical & Buddhist), of which only broken pieces survive now.

There exists a temple of a devi enshrining the image of Chamunda. Hundreds of people throng this place during Navaratra. There are a number of Brahminical images in the temple premises and they belong to c. 9th to 12th century CE. The present temple is a modern one but shows signs of successive repairs and restorations.

Konch:

Konch is situated about 25 km north-west of Gaya town and is known for the temple of Konchesvara Mahadeva.

The temple in plan consists of the sanctum only, but it appears to have had a pillared hall or mandapa in front, since several pillars and pilasters of granite can be noticed lying outside among the debris. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is quite peculiar. It is in the form of a tunnel vault, consesting of arcs meeting at the crown in a ridge and built of cut-to-shape bricks, in a rather ingenious device wherein bricks are placed edge to edge to form an arch.

Externallu the tower os curvilinear, each wall being divided into seven faces by deeply recessed upright lines, the carved ornamentation being limited to brick mouldings and indentations, covered by a later coat of plaster. The temple is dated in c. 8th- 9th century CE.

In the precises of the temple lie numerous sculptures representing various forms of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Uma-Mahesvara, Vishnu, Suryas etc. belonging to c. 9th – 12th century CE.

Kurkihara:

Kurkihara is situated about 5 kms north –east of Wazirganj on Gaya – Nawada Road. It is said to ber the site of the famous Kukkutapada-giri Vihara, described by Fa-hien and Xuanzang. From this place, a hoard of 226 bronze images and five other objects have been discovered. These images belong to c. 10th to 12th century CE; represent Buddha, other Buddhist deities and Brahmincal deities, and are said to be the finest specimen of contemporary metal craft. Most of the images at the site are inscribed. They now lie in the Patna Museum.

To the south of the village is a 600’ ssquare and 25’ high mound, including ruins of a small fort with solid brick walls. Quite a good numbers of sculptures, belonging to Brahmnical and Buddhist panteon may be noticed in and around the village.

In the north-eastern portion of the village is a temple of bricks with signs of successive repair and restorations. It is called Devisthana of ‘Vagiswari temple’. Various images (between c. 9th and 11th century CE), representing ‘Mahishmardini Durga’, ‘mukha linga’, ‘Navagraha’ and ‘Buddha’ along with other deities of Buddhist pantheon.

To the north of the village lies a small mound, called ‘Sugat Ghat’ i.e. abode of Sugata (Buddha). Cunningham’s report refers to an inscription from the site which mentions the erection of a ‘Sugatagandha kuti’ by a devotee from Kerala in Dakshina desa.

Gurpa:

Gurpa is situated about 2 km north of Gurpa railway station on Gaya-Asansol Grand chord line, about 20 km from Gaya. There is a hill with three peaks, extending from south west to north-east. At the base of the highest peak (north-east) are six small mounds, said to represent six dwarpalas or door keepers of ‘Gurupasini Devi’, the presiding deity of the hill.

On top of this peak are two miniature shrines (about 5’ square) made of huge bricks, sculptures and statues piled together without mortar of cement, which enclose a pair of foot prints on stone slabs, a number of Buddhist images and some small votive stupas. The images include images of Buddha, Goddess Tara.

On the western peak is a square basement of bricks, perhaps ruins of stupa with some images. On the southern peak also lie fragments of sculptures and stupas. On the basis of the remains laid there, the site may be dated in c. 8th – 12th century CE.

Punawan:

Punawan is situated about 2 km south-west of Wazirganj railway station on Gaya-Kiul line and about 4 km south west of Kurkihara.
In 1847 Kittoe noticed a ‘handsome’ and ‘most perfect’ temple he had seen except the Mahabodhi temple. About 15 years later, Cunningham noticed the ruins in the form of a pillared temple of ‘Trilokinatha’.

Eventually the temple seen by Kittoe had collapsed and a new one was erected using materials from the earlier one. A figure of Buddha was kept inside the shrine and worshipped as Trilokinatha. A beautifully carved door frame and other plain door frames were noticed by Cinningham used in the new construction. Even this improvised structure suffered later and was deprived of the carved materials, which were removed by Broadley to Bihar Museuk and have now found their way to Indian Museum.

Numerous Buddhst sculptures lie in the village and they belong to c. 10th – 13th Century AD. There are two tanks, (i) to the north of the village and known as ‘Budhokar Tal’ and (ii) to the east of the village known as ‘Karaman Tal’.

Pali:

Pali is situated about 16 km north west of Gaya on the road to Konch. There were three temples dedicated to Siva which were seen by Buchanan in 1871-72 CE in heaps of brick and stone debris.

These temples were built of bricks with doorways of stone. The door frame displayed elaborate carving which was common during the Gupta period with usual fugures of Ganga & Yamuna on their vehicle in the basal portion of the two door jambs.

Further east, there is another mound with granite pillars and to the south of the road there is another mound with several sculptural fragments representing deities like Vishnu, Uma, Mahesvara, Ganesha, and Nandi etc.

The ruins ata Pali belong to Gupta and later Gupta age (c. 6th to 7th century CE.) and may be counted among very few Brahminical remains of such an early date.

Kespa:

Kespa is situated about 9 km north of Tekari or 20 kms west of Barabar hills. The site is known for the temple of Tara, but the object of worship here is a standing figure of Buddha. The temple itself is not very old but ancient stone elements may be noticed in the structure. Numerous mounds and stone images can be noticed in and around the village. The images represent Brahminical and Buddhist deities and belong to c. 9th to 12th century CE.

Tekari Fort:

Temari, a sub-divisional township 25 km to the north west of Gaya, may not boast of hosting a king. But the majestic five-storey Tekari Fort, built by a former zamindar of Tekari, had been the envy of many a raja and maharaja in its heyday.
It is believed to have been built about 300 years back, around the time of Nadir Shah’s infamous plunders.

Having 52 couryards, the Tekari Qila, now in fuins, still tells the tale of its better days. An underground palace, sub-surface parade ground, cultural centre and guest house made it an architectural marvel built in the Mughal style of architecture. For reasons of safety, the Tekari Fort was encircled by a deep water canal.