From Raja Bhoj’s fort to Orwell’s birthplace: 42 heritage monuments in Bihar state-protected
From the ruins of Raja Bhoj’s fort in Buxar to noted author George Orwell’s birthplace in Motihari, Bihar’s archaeology department has brought nearly 13 heritage landmarks under its fold in the last 10 years.
According to top officials in the state’s Directorate of Archaeology, the total number of monuments and sites protected under the Bihar Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites Remains and Art Treasures Act, 1976, has now grown to 42.
“An old mound located in Lari area of Arwal district is the latest site (42nd) to be declared protected. The notification for the same was issued on September 8, last year,” a senior official told PTI.
The consolidated list also includes the colonial-era clock tower in Jamui.
Named after Lord Minto, who was the Viceroy of India from 1905-1910, the yellow-coloured clock tower, built in European style and topped with a dome, is a distinct landmark in the region in the erstwhile Gidhaur zemindari estate in Bihar.
The state legislation provides for preservation of ancient monuments and archaeological sites other than those declared by or under the law made by parliament to be of national importance for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for the protection of antiquities in Bihar.
According to data shared by the Bihar’s archaeology department, the over 230-year-old granary Golghar was among the first six monuments which were notified as protected in 1976.
The other five landmarks were - Agam Kuan and Kamaldah Jain Temple in Gulzarbagh, Begu Hajjam ki Masjid and Chhoti Patan Devi in Patna City (old Patna), and Durukhi Statue in Kankarbagh.
According to the consolidated list, in 2016, the ruins of Raja Bhoj’s fort at Dumaron in Buxar district were brought under the ambit of the archaeology department, while Hareshwar Nath temple located at Dwalakh village in Madhubani was included in 2015.
In 2014, six sites were notified, including Minto Clock tower in Jamui district; ‘Hazeldel’ or Morrison House, a charming colonial-era bungalow in Patna, situated right next to Golghar, and Ahilya Sthan in Darbhanga.
The ruins of Tekari Fort (built by Tekari Raj, zeminadari estate) in Gaya; Apsadh Garh and Varah Sculpture, and Paravati Pahari in Nawada were included in the protected monuments list of the state in 2011.
The house of British author George Orwell, who was born as Eric Arthur Blair in then unified Champaran district’s Mothihari town in 1903, was brought under the state archaeology department in 2010.
The ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and ‘Animal Farm’ author is still remembered by many local residents who hold commemorative events, and his house also draws scholars and researchers from far and wide.
Between 1976 and 2007, some of the iconic sites and monuments which were notified by the state government include - ancient Vishnupad Temple in Gaya (2007); Hazarimal Dharmashala in West Champaran’s Bettiah associated with Mahatma Gandhi (1996), Nepali Mandir in Hajipur (1981), birthplace of Babu Veer Kunwar Singh in Bhojpur (2000) and Munger Fort (2001).
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