Buddhist Remains From a Millennium ago in Jharkhand
What is the News?
Earlier this year, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had discovered Buddhist Remains from Hazaribagh’s Sadar block located at the eastern side of Jharkhand’s Sitagarha hills.
What did the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) discover? ASI had discovered the remains of a Buddhist monastery along with some Shaivite remains which includes:
- Four Statues of Taras, the “saviouresses” of the Thunderbolt Vehicle, displaying the Varada mudra(gesture of hand showing dispensing of boons).
- Six statues of the Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra [gesture of hand showing five fingers of right hand towards the earth symbolising the Buddha’s enlightenment].
- Remnants of a statue of the Shaivite goddess Maheswari. Also, with a coiled crown and chakra, it appears to suggest a degree of cultural assimilation at the site.
Earlier Discoveries at this Site:
- The first archaeological discoveries on this site were made in 1992. A painted grey ware (PGW) pottery, a votive stupa, a black basalt apsara torso, and an “eight-petalled astadala lotus” inscribed on the stone were discovered.
- It was estimated that these antiquities of Buddhism were from 300 BC from the period of the Palas (8th to 12th centuries AD) and the Sena (11th-12th centuries).
Significance of these discoveries:
- These findings are significant since the monastery is on the old route to Varanasi. It is also 10 km from Sarnath where the Buddha gave his first sermon.
- Further, the presence of statues of the deity Tara shows the possible proliferation of the Vajrayana form of Buddhism in this region.
- Vajrayana is a form of Tantric Buddhism. It flourished in India from the 6th to 11th century.
Source: Indian Express
What are “Sattras”?
What is the news?
In Assam, the campaigns of political parties often include going to different Sattras to seek blessings or to glorify the teachings of Sankardeva.
What are Sattras?
- Sattras are monastic institutions in Assam. They were created as part of the 16th century Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement. Movements started by the Vaishnavite saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva(1449-1596).
- Why were they established? They were established to spread the Sankardeva’s unique “worship through art” approach. They are doing it presently with music (borgeet), dance (sattriya), and theatre (bhauna).
- Each Satra has a naamghar (worship hall) as its nucleus and is headed by an influential “Satradhikar”.
- Monks known as bhakats are inducted into Sattras at a young age. They may or may not be celibate depending on the kind of Sattra they are inducted into.
- Satras in Assam: There are about 900 Sattras across Assam, but the main centers are Bordowa (Nagaon), Majuli and Barpeta. These institutions are of paramount importance and lie at the heart of Assamese culture.
What is Sankardeva’s philosophy?
- Srimanta Sankardev (1449–1568) was a 15th–16th century Assamese saint, scholar, poet, and social-religious reformer.
- He propagated a form of Bhakti philosophy called Eka Sarana naam Dharma. The philosophy had an influence on two medieval kingdoms—Koch and the Ahom kingdoms.
Key Features of the Philosophy:
- Components: The four important components of the philosophy were deva (god), naam (prayers), bhakats (devotees), and guru (teacher).
- Society: The philosophy espoused a society based on equality and fraternity, free from caste differences, orthodox Brahmanical rituals, and sacrifices.
- Teachings: The teachings of the philosophy rejected idol worship and focused on devotion (bhakti) to Krishna. Devotion would be in the form of congregational listening and singing his name and deeds (Kirtan) and (sravan).
Source: Indian Express
Gwalior, Orchha on UNESCO World Heritage City List
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News: The historical fort cities of Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of UNESCO’s world heritage cities urban landscape city programme.
- Gwalior: It was established in the 9th century and ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.The city is known for its palaces and temples, including the intricately carved Sas Bahu Ka Mandir temple.
- The Gwalior Fort occupies a sandstone plateau overlooking the city and is accessed via a winding road lined with sacred Jain statues.Within the fort’s high walls is the 15th-century Gujari Mahal Palace, now an archaeological museum.
- Orchha: It is popular for its temples and palaces and was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.The famous spots in the town are Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir.
- UNESCO World Heritage Cities Programme: It is one of six thematic programmes formally approved and monitored by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
- Aim: To assist States Parties in the challenges of protecting and managing their urban heritage.
- Urban Landscape City Programme: It was adopted in 2011 at UNESCO’s General Conference.This programme approach to managing historic urban landscapes is holistic by integrating the goals of urban heritage conservation and those of social and economic development.
Hampi stone chariot now gets protective ring
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News: Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has placed wooden barricades around the famous stone chariot at Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi for protection.
- Hampi Stone Chariot: It is an iconic monument located in front of Vijaya Vittala Temple in Hampi, Karnataka.Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Dedicated to: Stone Chariot is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, the official vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
- Significance: Stone Chariot in Hampi is one of the three most popular stone chariots in India. Other two are in Konark (Odisha) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).
- Style: Built in Dravidian style, the stone chariot reflects skill of temple architecture under the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.
- Vijaya Vittala Temple also known as Vittala Temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.The temple is located in Hampi, near the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
- Built by: Temple was built in the 15th century during the reign of King Devaraya II of the Vijayanagara Empire. Several sections of the temple were expanded and renovated during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
Why Jharkhand is seeking a separate religious code for Sarna tribals
News: Jharkhand government has convened a special session and passed a resolution for the provision of a separate ‘Sarna Code’ for tribals.
- What does the resolution say? The resolution seeks a special column for followers of the ‘Sarna’ religion in the Census 2021.
- What is the Sarna religion? Sarna followers are nature worshippers who do not consider themselves Hindus and have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades. At present, they are not classified as a separate religious entity.
- Nature Worship in Sarna: The holy grail of the Sarna faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
- Was there a separate code before? The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals. Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
- Significance of Separate Code: The population of Sarna tribals in the State has declined from 38.3% in 1931 to 26.02% in 2011. One of the reasons for this was tribals who go for work in different states not being recorded in the Census. Therefore, the separate code will ensure the recording of their population.