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Very interesting 👍
Kurkihar, a small village, is located at a distance of 22 km from Gaya, a little ahead of Wazirganj, on the road to Rajgir. The historical site was visited by Buddhist pilgrims in the ancient times including the Chinese travelers Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang. The antiquarian remains of Kurkihar were first brought to notice by Kittoe in 1847. He visited the place twice and on his second visit spent four days collecting “ten cart loads of idols, all Buddhist and many of the Tantrika period”, some of which are now housed in the Indian Museum, Kolkata. In 1866, Peppe took photographs of some of the images at Kurkihar and published his brief notes thereon. Cunningham also visited here twice in 1861-62 and 1879-80 respectively. Stein also paid an exploratory visit to Kurkihar; but it was chiefly with a view to identify places visited by Hiuen Tsang in the locality. In 1930 Kurkihar suddenly came to limelight following an important discovery of a hoard of 226 bronzes and five other objects, which were unearthed from the main mound. These artefacts included a range – Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Stupas, Bells and ritual objects. Today, these artefacts adorn the shelves of a special room in the Patna Museum.
The village sits atop a mound that was earlier a Buddhist monastery. Several legends were contemporary about the importance of the site in ancient times, many of which have simply faded out of human memory due to centuries of neglect. The partly known legends about Kukkuta-pada Vihara as also described by Hieun Tsang are very interesting and have almost faded out of common memory, only to be found in old texts documented by scholars. Kittoe’s account of Kurkihar is brief and refers to “a vast mound of bricks and rubbish…..undoubtedly the site of a great monastery and a great town.” He noticed an outer enclosure “180 paces square”, the wall being 3” in thickness, with an inner enclosure “which appears to have been filled for ages with Chaityas or Buddha temples of every dimension from 10 inches to perhaps 40 to 50 feet.” Cunningham’s report on the ruins is accompanied with a sketch plan of the sites.
To be continued....