Friday, May 16, 2014

Kaushambi

Kaushambi is one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh state of India, and Manjhanpur town is the district headquarters, that attracts a lots of Buddhist pilgrims each year, and considered to be the place where Lord Buddha passed his sixth and Ninth year after attaining enlightenment. Thus the place is special, and linked to many sermons that were delivered by Lord Buddha. The city finds distinct place as the centre of Kuru's Dynasty in Mahabharata and later as a wealthy city during Buddha's time.

During Buddha’s time Kaushambi was one of the six most important and prosperous towns of India. It was a nerve center of ancient Indian communications as the principal routes from north to south and east to west met at the city. It was a terminus of river traffic and an important emporium of Madhyadesa. The city retained its importance at least up to the sixth century A.D.,as it was visited by the Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hien and Yuan-Chwang.

The ruins of the well-known site of Kaushambi (25o20’ 30”N., 81o23’12”E.) are situated on the left blank of the river Yamuna at a distance of 51.2 km from Allahabad in a south-westerly direction. The remains of the ancient city viewed from a distance give the impression of an imposing hillock, which, when approached nearer, reveals itself as a chain of rolling mounds, standing high above the surrounding plains, girdled on the south by the Yamuna. The Vindhyan range across the horizon at not a great distance beyond the river Yamuna provides the southern frame of the Panorama.

Places to see in Kaushambi :

Udyan Fort:- Built in 6th Century BC, the Fort is situated in the south-west corner of the ancient walled city. The fort was discovered during excavations, conducted by Cunningham & Archaeological Department of India in 1861. According to Cunningham the boundary wall of the fort was about four mile long & about 30.35 feet high & for security reasons trenches were dug all along the boundary wall of the fort. The layout of the fort is barrel shaped & having thick walls made up of exceptionally long & wide bricks.

Ashoka Pillar:- The Pillar, located on the eastern entrance of the Kaushambi city and was built by Emperor Ashoka in 232 BC, is also the main attraction of this archaeological site. Excavation of the area reveals that there was a Vihar around the pillar.

Ghositram Vihar:-
The Vihar has got special mention in Buddhist literature and was one of the four major Buddhist Vihars of Kaushambi. Ghositram, a businessman of Kaushambi, built the Vihar to provide lodging to Buddha & his disciples and hence the name Ghositram Vihar. At the entrance of the Vihar there are remains of the shrine of Hariti, which was renovated later and existed till Gupta period. The area was under the reign of terror of Hariti, who was supposed to have been a man eater but had a complete change of heart through the sermons of Lord Buddha. A temple in her name exists here.

Digamber Jain Temple:- (Temple timings: 6am-8pm) This temple was built in 1834 by late Prabhudas & later renovated in 1919. This is the birth place of 6th Jain Thirthankar Padam Prabhu, who received his education, practiced meditation and got enlightenment here. The temple houses his idol made of white marble & foot marks, which are worth watching.

Sheetla Temple
:- The Sheetla is a goddes associated with power and the worshipping of the goddess is said to impart powers to the devotees. The temple, by river Ganga, is a famous Shktipeeth well revered by all Hindu Devotees. The ruins of the fort of Hindu King Jai Chand are still lying near the temple.

The Durga Devi temple
:- The Navaratri is the special festival of this temple in which lots of people gather during the festival. The temple houses a black stone idol of Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva, which is quite beautiful.

Prabhosha
:- Prabhosha or Prabhashgiri, Famous as the place where Lord Krishna died of an arrow, is considered as a holy place. The other important aspects of this place includes the Jain temple and the cave, which are both ancient and worth a visit.

Besides these attractions, there is the Kamasin Devi Temple, Kaushambi, and Shri Ram Temple of Bajha, The Ashoka pillar (in ruins) and the Ghositaram monastery, which are also good places to visit.


How to reach Kaushambi  :
 
Air : There is an airport in the Allahabad region, called Bamrauli. However this could be a hectic journey. Better option could be the Varanasi airport.

Rail : Allahabad is a well-linked station in U.P railway map. There is no railhead at Kaushambi, probably due to sustenance of Buses.

Road : Regular buses run to Kaushambi from Allahabad. This is the most reliable source of travel, however, private taxis are also available.
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