Village near Bodh Gaya worships Buddha as Goddess | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Village near Bodh Gaya worships Buddha as Goddess

Village women at Bhuraha in Gaya district even apply vermillion on idols, unearthed during unconventional digging, treating them to be variation of goddess Durga and Kali.

india Updated: May 30, 2017 11:52 IST
Anil Kumar Ojha
Idols of lord Buddha found at Bhuraha village in Gaya, being worshipped as Hindu goddesses. (HT Photo/Anil Kumar Ojha)
Idols of lord Buddha found at Bhuraha village in Gaya, being worshipped as Hindu goddesses. (HT Photo/Anil Kumar Ojha)

Gaya In the Puranic texts, Buddha is mentioned as one of the ten avatars (incarnation) of Vishnu and his statues of Pala and Sunga era have often been seen to be worshipped in Hindu temples in villages, where they were originally discovered.

But at Bhuraha village in Gaya district, 140 km south of Patna, idols, which archaeologists claim to be of Buddha, have been placed in Hindu temples and are being worshipped as Durga and Hanuman. Village women even apply vermillion ritually on some of the idols each day, treating them to be variation of goddess Durga and Kali.

Bihar archaeology department director Atul Verma, however, sees nothing wrong in it. “You cannot but commend the villagers. They have installed these idols, unearthed during unconventional digging, in temples and helped preserve it,” he said.

Archaeologists say Bhuraha is a protected area where a treasure-trove of archaeological remains are still buried and require permission for excavation and proper preservation. They also claim that Buddha is believed to have spent some days in the village on way to Sarnath, where he delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.

The site was in the news in May 2013 when chief minister Nitish Kumar visited Bhuraha during his Seva Yatra and held a detailed discussions with the villagers, along with a high-level team of the state archaeology department.

Sensing the significance of the site, Kumar also announced plans for integrated development of the village and protection of the mounds. On his return to Patna, the chief minister directed all the departments concerned to chalk out a plan for Bhuraha village,” said Rajeev Ranjan, associated with the village development committee.

“We have been struggling to protect the mounds for more than a decade. Although we have been able to protect the idols and other remains like pillars, stones in our temples, it requires serious exercise to showcase the remains to tourists,” said Rajdev Prasad, president of the committee that organised the first Bhuraha Mahotsav in 2016.

The Bhuraha Zirnodhar Samiti, a committee formed to spearhead a campaign to promote the village as a tourist spot, has, however, its own grounds for worshipping Buddha as Hindu goddess.

“The idols are well preserved in Hindu temples. What is the harm if women worship Buddha as their goddess? The precious idols are at least safe here,” said Bhuraha Zirnodhar Samiti president Suryadev Prasad.

“The chief minister is well aware of the site and the hopes of Bhuraha rest on his initiative,” the Bihar archaeology department director said, adding that Kumar had sanctioned Rs 50 lakh to set up a museum for preservation of the idols and other artifacts recovered at the village.

UNIQUE TRADITION

QUOTE

You cannot but commend the villagers. They have installed these idols (claimed to be of Buddha), unearthed during unconventional digging, in temples and helped preserve it

Atul Verma, director, state archaelogy

BLURB

Archaelogists claim Buddha is believed to have spent some days in Bhuraha on way to Sarnath, where he delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya