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Over the years, I had developed a pen picture of Kurkihar in my mind after having read some reports on the internet and also in the Antiquarian remains of Bihar (Patil). I thus had some sort of vague idea about the expectations during my visit to the the village and its surroundings. Before actually visiting the site I further laid my hands on the reports of Alexander Cunningham made during 1861-62 and 1879-80 to gather an idea of the significance of the site in the yester years. Describing the site of Kurkihar, Cunningham in his first report mentions :-
“About three miles to the north-east of Punawa is the large village of Kurkihar. It is not to be found in any of our maps, not even in No. 103 sheet of the Indian Atlas, although it is perhaps the largest place between the cities of Gaya and Bihar. The remains at Kurkihar consist of several ruined mounds, in which numerous statues and small votive topes of dark blue stone have been found. The principal mass of ruin, about 600 feet square, lies immediately to the south of the village. A second less extensive mound lies to the south-west; and there is a small mound, only 120 feet square, to the north of the village. The last mound is called Sugatgarh, or the “house of Sugata”, one of the well known titles of Buddha. In the principal mass of ruin, the late Major Kittoe dug up a great number of statues and votive topes; and a recent excavation on the west side showed the solid brick-work of a Buddhist stupa. In the north-west corner of this excavation the relic chamber had been reached, and I was privately informed that a small figure and some remains had been discovered inside. But the head man of the village stoutly denied that anything had been found, and all the villagers then denied the discovery also.”
To be continued...