Bharat Darshan

 

STUDY CUM CULTURAL TOUR TO BIHAR, JHARKHAND, WESTBENGAL, SIKKIM

TIMELINE

DATE PLACES VISITED
JULY 3 PATNA
JULY 4 RAJGIR, NALANDA
JULY 5 BODHGAYA
JULY 6 RANCHI
JULY 7 JAMSHEDPUR
JULY 8 KOLKATA
JULY 10 GANGTOK
JULY 14 NAMCHI
JULY 15 DARJEELING

Youtube video link:

Day 1:

BIHAR

Interaction with ADGP(Head Quarters)

A brief interaction , wherein he stressed the need of being disciplined , as a part of uniform service.  He also discussed about the policing issues in general and naxalism issues in Bihar. He emphasised upon the need of leadership qualities while maintaining high level of managerial abilities.

Visit to Rajgir

The word Rajgir meaning, “the abode of kings”, is a rich cultural remain. It was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire.  Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city. This area is also notable in Jainism and Buddhism

Rajgir is also famous for its association with Haryanka dynasty Kings Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. Ajatashatru kept his father Bimbsara in captivity here. It is first mentioned in Mahabharatha as a city ruled by the mighty king Jarasandha. This area is also notable in Jainism and Buddhism  as one of the favorite places for Lord Mahavira and Gautama Buddha and the well known “Atanatiya” conference was held at Vulture’s Peak mountain.

Here we visited places like,

  1. Swarnabhandar: This site is considered to be the treasury of Magadh.

                     

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Rajgir

     

  1. Battle ground of Jarasandh: The battle between jarasandh and Bheem took place here.

The epic Mahabharata calls it Girivraja and recount the story of its king, Jarasandha, and his battle with the Pandava brothers and their allies Krishna. Jarasandha who hailed from this place, had been defeated by Krishna 17 times. The 18th time Krishna left the battlefield without fighting. Because of this Krishna is also called ‘ranachorh’

Mahabharata recounts a wrestling match between Bhima (one of the Pandavas) and Jarasandha, the then king of Magadha. Jarasandha was invincible as his body could rejoin any dismembered limbs. According to the legend, Bhim split Jarasandha into two and threw the two halves facing opposite to each other so that they could not join. There is a famous Jarasandha’s Akhara

  1. Bimbisara jail: Bimbisar was imprisoned here by his son Ajatshatru. From his prison cell, Bimbisara could see Buddha meditating on the Gridhakuta

 

  1. Chariot Wheel: The marks of the chariot is believed to have been made by Lord Krishna’s Chariot. There were several shell inscriptions around the chariot mark, which is yet to be deciphered.

 

  1. Brahmakund: Hotspring that is located at the foothill of saptaparani caves.

 

  1. Pandu Pokhar: An amusement park set in natural environment.

 

  1. International Convention Centre: Late evening we visited beautiful Pandu Park and the SP and DM of the district hosted a dinner for us. We were also shown world class International Convention Centre. The visit to park and world class convention centre completely changed our perception of Bihar.

Nalanda

Nalanda, a UNESCO world Heritage site, holds key to the past. It was an ancient centre for higher learning, also known as Nalanda University. The time period is from 425 CE to 1199 CE. It flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and later under Harsha. The school attracted scholars and students from Tibet, Korea, China and Central Asia.

Visit to The new Nalanda University

Banking upon the historical and spiritual importance of Nalanda the Government with help of many other countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore,China,etc is establishing an International University. Although currently there are only a few students studying but the plan is to make it into a grand international University. The planned campus is energy efficient and will have net zero energy requirement. In case we need to plan any academy infrastructure in future, probably looking into Nalanda University’s planned campus is a good idea.

 

Ruins of ancient University of Nalanda

The remains of Nalanda today extend some 1,600 feet (488 m) north to south and around 800 feet (244 m) east to west. Excavations have revealed eleven monasteries and six major brick temples arranged in an ordered layout. A 100 ft (30 m) wide passage runs from north to south with the temples to its west and the monasteries to its east.  Most structures show evidence of multiple periods of construction with new buildings being raised atop the ruins of old ones. Many of the buildings also display signs of damage by fire on at least one occasion.

All the monasteries at Nalanda are very similar in layout and general appearance. Their plan involves a rectangular form with a central quadrangular court which is surrounded by a verandah which, in turn, is bounded by an outer row of cells for the monks. The central cell facing the entrance leading into the court is a shrine chamber. Its strategic position means that it would have been the first thing that drew the eye when entering the edifice. With the exception of those designated 1A and 1B, the monasteries all face west with drains emptying out in the east and staircases positioned in the south-west corner of the buildings.

The most iconic of Nalanda’s structures is Temple no. 3 with its multiple flights of stairs that lead all the way to the top. The temple was originally a small structure which was built upon and enlarged by later constructions. Archaeological evidence shows that the final structure was a result of at least seven successive such accumulations of construction. The fifth of these layered temples is the most interesting and the best preserved with four corner towers of which three have been exposed.

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Nalanda Ruins

Day 2 :

Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (pali: bodhi) under what became known as the Bodhi Tree.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Traditionally, Buddha was born in 563 BC in what is now Nepal  on the following auspicious Baisakhi purnima. As Siddhartha, he renounced his family at the age of 29 in 534 BC and travelled and meditated in search of truth. After practicing self-mortification for six years at Urubela (Buddhagaya) in Gaya, he gave up that practice because it did not give him Vimukthi. Then he discovered Noble Eight-fold path without help from anyone and practiced it, then he attained Buddhatva or enlightenment. Enlightenment is a state of being completely free from lust (raga), hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha). By gaining enlightenment, you enter Nibbana, in which the final stage is Parinibbana.

At this place, the Buddha was abandoned by the five men who had been his companions of earlier austerities. All they saw was an ordinary man; they mocked his well-nourished appearance. “Here comes the mendicant Gautama,” they said, “who has turned away from asceticism.

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Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree.

It is believed that about 280 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It consisted of an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa and a chhatravali on a platform. A double flight of steps led up to the platform and the upper sanctum. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand.

In 2013, multiple explosions had taken place in this sacred site. We offered our prayers at the holy site and during interactions with local Police personnel the following observations were made regarding the blasts:-

  • Before the blast there was a big local market near the site. The huge crowd due to the market made security arrangements difficult. Subsequently the market has been removed from that location.
  • Lack of HHMDs and DFMDs which may have deterred the perpretrators.
  • Police men on duty were not expecting any such incident hence there was a degree of casualness.

 

Subsequently we left for Jharkhand and made a brief visit to Jharkhand Police Academy, where we were told about the evolution of the Academy from British days to its current form. After a brief visit to JPA, Hazaribagh we reached Ranchi.

Day 3:

We visited training centre of Jharkhand Jaguars

Jharkhand Jaguar

2008 sanctioned the creation of 20 Assault Groups of Special Task Force (STF) for eradication of extremist activities in Jharkhand. This force was later given the distinctive name of “Jharkhand Jaguar” (JJ), and also a distinctive uniform.

JAMSHEDPUR

We visited the TATA STEEL PVT LTD in Jamshedpur. We were briefed about Jamshedji Tata’s vision

of indigenisation of technology and making India into a technological power.

About Tata Steel Limited was established by Dorabji Tata on 26 August 1907, as part of his father Jamsetji’s Tata Group. By 1939 it operated the largest steel plant in the British Empire. By 1970, the company employed around 40,000 people at Jamshedpur, with a further 20,000 in the neighbouring coal mines.

Due to lack of time we could not have a complete tour of it. We however managed to see, one blasting furnace and molten steel.

Later, we left for Kolkata.

Day 5:

We visited Kolkata Police Headquaters and met Commissioner of Kolkata Police.

Interaction with Honorable Governor, West Bengal

Interaction with DGP

 

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Howrah bridge

Day 6:

We visited Sunderbans Mangroves . The Sundarbans are the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world. It is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. We went in a Police Launchpad and interceptor boat of  Coastal Police.

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 While returning we visited Gosaba Police Station in one of the islands. The following were important learning points:-

  • There are large number of scattered islands and the only mode of transport is boat that makes life a little tougher.
  • Police is the only visible Government institution in the islands and hencepeople approach police people approach police for any requirement.
  • There is not much space for construction of Police Station.
  • The dacoits committing crime in mainland, sometimes gets shelter here.
  • Smuggling is rampant as there is a porous border with Bangladesh
  • The interceptor boats are not so fast.
  • Functions of BSF, Coastal Police and Regular Police.
  • VIP Security management when VIP visits involves boat.
  • Challenges of cattle smuggling.

Day 7:

BELURMATH

It is the headquarters of Ramakrishna math and mission founded by Swami Vivekanandha. It is the heart of the Ramakrishna movement. It hosts a museum wherein the artifacts of Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekanandha, Sarada Devi and some disciples are kept.

We left for Bagdogra and subsequently Gangtok. We reached Gangtok in late evening.

Day 8:

 

Sikkim

The challenges faced by the Police in the state includes,

  1. Smuggling is an issue
  2. As Sikkim is a small state and crime rates are low Sikkim is one of the few areas where good quality investigations can be carried out in textbook style.
  3. Although crime rate is low rate is low but there are large number of POCSO

and NDPS cases.

  1. Gambling is allowed and widespread , liquor is easily available yet surprisingly

the crime rate remains low.

  1. Prostitution is also a problem
  2. Disaster like landslides are frequent
  3. Theft

The state police has also the unique concept of Checkposts, that is a separate branch of Police characterized by Police presence in strategic points. We also visited a modernized Police Station in Gangtok.

Interaction with the Honorable Governor, Sikkim

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Day 9:

NATHULA PASS

Located at an altitude of 14,140 feet and 52kms from Gangtok, Nathula Pass was the place through which the famous Silk Route used to operate until 1962. This used to be a trade route between India and Tibet. Lines of mules used to carry silk, gold and many other items from Tibet to India and take daily essentials back to Tibet. The route in Tibet goes down the Chumbi Valley to Yathung, a place about 30kms away which used to be once a major trading township

Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass” in Tibetan. The opening of the pass shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region and was expected to bolster the economy of the region by playing a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade. However, trade is limited to specific types of goods and to specific days of the week. It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.

On the way to Nathula, we visited,

  1. Baba Harbhajan Singh temple

He is an Indian Army soldier who died in Nathula. The Indian army personnel rever him as Hero of Nathu la.  Many of the faithful people, chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese occupied Tibet have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas.

  1. Lake Tsomgo

It is a glacial lake in Eastern Sikkim.

Day 10 :

The day started with visit to Sadar Police Station, Gangtok. The Police Station is

recently built and is having excellent infrastructure. In case we need to plan for building a new Police Station, the Sadar Police Station can serve as a model to follow.

We visited Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery,  also called the Dharmachakra Centre, is a focal point for the sectarian tensions within the Tibetan Buddhism.

Originally built under the direction of 12th Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s, Rumtek served as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim for some time. But when Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. Despite being offered other sites, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek. To him, the site possessed many auspicious qualities and was surrounded by the most favorable attributes. For example, flowing streams, mountains behind, a snow range in front, and a river below. With the generosity and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, it was built by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat

It also has Nalanda Institute affliated to it, which runs courses on Buddhist Philosophy.

Day 11:

We left for Namchi, Headquarters of South Sikkim District and visited Temi Tea Gardens,Buddha Park and Char Dham. We got an idea how infrastructure built like Buddha Park and Char Dham can help in attracting pilgrims and tourists which will help in economic development of the area.

NAMCHI

It is home to the tallest statue of Rinpoche. It also gives a spectacular view of Kanchenjunga. But as the weather was not clear, we were not able to see the range.

On the way to Namchi, we came across Rwangla, which was very scenic with the tea garden. The significance of Sikkim is that the whole state is organic, so are the tea gardens.

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Day 12 :

We left for DARJEELING, While in Darjeeling, we visited Japanese Peace Pakoda, Rock garden.  Interaction with SP, Darjeeling was good. The Hon’ble President had recently visited Darjeeling. We were briefed about the security arrangements made for the visit.

 

Day 13:

Took return flight to Hyderabad from Bagdogra via Delhi.