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Bodhgaya News
Founded: March 15 2002
Last updated: August 8, 2004

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Bodhgaya News Not Being Regularly Updated
July 30, 2004. Due to pressure of work commitments since last December I am not able to update this website very often at the moment. That is to say the present contents will remain up for the moment but I will not be adding new stories very often and the stories mostly reflect my reading of the news up to last November.
Part of the reason for this is also that when I was in Bodhgaya last December I started wondering about the way that the media contribute to and play a role in the events occuring in Bodhgaya and decided to take a step back for a while and consider this a bit more. There is excellent discussion of this issue in India's Newspaper Revolution by Robin Jeffrey (Hurst & Company, London, 2000).

Zen and the art of holidaying
Published : November 29, 2003
(Business-Standard)
Funny how one can find a place as peaceful as this right in the middle of chaotic Bihar.
Bodhgaya is, naturally, full of bodhi trees, its avenues are shady and the snout of the Mahabodhi temple rises awe-inspiringly amidst the green canopy.
Serenity apart, the little town is perhaps the most popular of all the holy sites linked to Buddhism and is much more of a working Buddhist centre than an archaeological site. full story

PM road project chief shot
(Telegraph India)
OUR CORRESPONDENT
Patna, Nov. 27: The project manager who had directly written to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about irregularities in the National Highways Authority of India golden quadrilateral project was shot this morning at Gaya by unidentified persons. Satyendar Dubey, on his way back from Varanasi, was going from the railway station to his A.P. Colony residence when he was killed near the circuit house. He was in his mid thirties.
...
The golden quadrilateral project aims to link Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai. The project, one of the largest in the world with an overall length of 14,162 km, also aims to create north-south and east-west corridors — connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Saurashtra....full story

BUDDH GAYA AND ITS ASSOCIATIONS
[From: J. C. Oman, Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1905.] Melbourne, 26 November. A fascinating account of a visit to Bodhgaya undertaken soon after the restoration of the temple in the 1880s.
"If it were possible to ascertain, by any means, what particular spot on earth is the most sacred in the opinion of mankind, there is reason to think that the majority of votes would be given in favour of Buddh Gaya, which is held in high veneration by both Buddhists and Hindus. Such a spot is certainly worth a visit. Leaving the busy town of Bankipore one afternoon in April, I travelled some fifty-seven miles to Gaya, by the branch railway, over a level uninteresting looking country, unredeemed in its drear monotony except by picturesque groups of slender palm..." more

Buddha Gayá Guide for 1881
Melbourne, 26 November. Read from the guide to Bodhgaya for 1881 by Edward Eastwick published by John Murray in London in the guide to the Presidency of Bengal.
Buddha Gayá.—The distance of this place from Gayá is 7 m. For the first 5 m. the road is good, but un­shaded by trees. The traveller will pass, on his right, the prison of Gayá, After 5m. he will turn tothe left, and go for 2 m. along a country road, where the many ruts and inequalities oblige carriage-horses to walk. The temple of Buddha Gayá is built in a hollow, which diminishes its apparent height. It is also shut in by small houses. more

Bhutan's Royal Family Arrives in Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya, 24 November (Dainik Jagran). Late on Sunday night a high level delegation including the Bhutanese Prince and his wife and 20 people arrived in Bodhgaya as royal guests.
Prince "Dering Bang Chu" along with a the high level delegation first of all went to have darshan of the temple and perform puja and worship. In the morning after resting over night Prince Chu after visiting various temples went again to the Mahabodhi Temple and performed puja. After that he set off via road to Rajgir and Nalanda. The prince was greeted in the temple by the member [of the legislative assembly?] Dr Ramrup Singh who showed him the temple.

Japanese scientists to study protection of sacred tree
By Imran Khan, Patna, Nov 24 (NewKerala.com)
The Mahabodhi Temple is taking the help of Japanese scientists to look for ways to rescue the holy tree at Buddhism's birthplace from certain death.
The tree in Bodh Gaya, 110 km from here, which grew from the original banyan tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago, is situated behind the Mahabodhi Temple, which Unesco declared a world heritage site in June.
"A team of two Japanese botanists visited Bodh Gaya this week and collected extracts from the Mahabodhi banyan tree, its leaves and soil to study in their laboratory in Japan," said temple committee secretary Kali Charan Yadav.
The team would then suggest measures to protect the holy tree, said to be nearly 110 years old, near the Mahabodhi Temple.
After the threat to the holy tree was reported in Japanese media, Japanese organisations came forward to help protect the holy tree. full story

Tourist Industry gets new income from Air Services Starting up
Bodhgaya, 23 November, (Dainik Jagran). A new source of income has opened up for the tourist business with the starting up of air services from various countries in view of hte start of the tourist season to the world famous pilgrimage site of Bodhgaya. In particular it has meant an increase for the hotel business. Several offices have also opened in hotels for the various charter and scheduled airlines landing at the airport. It is due to this also that various new hotels are being built.
The tourist season in Bodhgaya begins this month. Tourists have also started arriving in fair quantities too. The senior manager of the Hotel Lotus Nikko Ajay Bharti believes that year 2003 will be a good tourist season. He said that in October and November the hotel business has been good. However between December 15th to January 15th due to Christmas there are not too many crowds. However, there are good bookings of foreign tourists up to March. Whilst 19 charter flights under the supervision of Phuket Airlines are being organised by Lotus Trance [trans?] Travels. Mahamaya hotels owner Sudama Kumar and manager Sanand Kumar believe that this season is begining slowly. But, tourist bookings are good from next month. For years there is going to be considerable profit from the landing of international planes at the Gaya airport. Due to this hotel business is being developed by the opening of an Indian Airlines office in the Hotel Royal Residency, Royal Bhutan's Duk Air in the hotel Darbar, Thailand's charter airline Phuket Air in the Nikko hotel and Sri Lanka Air line's office in a [unnamed] hotel, etc.

Lumbini On Trial: The Untold Story
UK, 21 November, Mr T.A.Phelps. There are compelling reasons for believing that the present site of Lumbini, the Buddha's birthplace, may not be the real Lumbini site at all, but the result of an astonishing deception, begun in 1896, and unwittingly fostered ever since. It is an extraordinary tale, now told for the first time. read the full story

4554 Hits on Bodhgaya news in October 2003
Melbourne. (20 November 2003). Thanks for visiting Bodhgaya news. Currently there are about 110 requests a day for pages on the site so I hope that you find something on the site to interest you. Also remember that the Find function on the left helps you locate stories on the site amongst the three hundred plus files now on the site.

Due to Technical Fault Indian Airlines Flight to Calcutta not able to board Gaya, 18th November (Dainik Jagran).
The international flight from Bodhgaya to Thailand on Tuesday was not able to board passengers for the flight to Calcutta. All the 81 passengers were travelling to Calcutta but were put up in two hotels in Bodhgaya instead.
The flight arrived from Thailand with 35 passengers who all got off and was to board 81 passengers to go to Calcutta, of whom ten were 'Depoti' [Deportees?]. Everybody's luggage was sealed away in a customs warehouse and they were put up at hotels. full story on Dainik Jagran

Display Includes Beads Said to be Formed When a Buddhist Master Is Cremated
By BILL BROADWAY (15 November)
The Washington Post (The Ledger.com) WASHINGTON, D.C.
Those who will have the rare opportunity this fall to view remains of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, founder 2,500 years ago of one of the world's great religions, might be in for a surprise.
Unlike most religious relics, typically pieces of saints' bones, the remains of great Buddhist teachers include tiny pearllike objects known as ringsel. These crystalline beads are said to be formed when a Buddhist master is cremated and to settle into the shape of a heart, conch, flower or other object.
....
The Heart Shrine Relics are so named because they will be placed permanently in the heart area of a 500-foot statue to be constructed in Kushinagar, a town in northern India where Shakyamuni Buddha died. The massive bronze statue will represent the Maitreya, or "loving kindness," Buddha, an enlightened being of the future who Buddhists believe will bring world peace. Full story on Fort Worth Ledger website

Sahara flies to Colombo; makes history
Abhijeet Kulkarni in Colombo | November 14, 2003 19:14 IST
(Rediff.com)
Private carrier Air Sahara became the country's first private airlines to cross the Indian Shores when its maiden flight landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo on Friday.
The chartered non-revenue flight, S2 501, which embarked on its first ever sojourn from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, was accorded a warm welcome by the Sri Lankan government.
...
"A major chunk of Sri Lankan visitors to India are religious tourists who visit Buddhist worship centres and we plan to exploit that potential by providing connecting services to places like Sarnath (Varanasi), Bodhgaya (Patna) and Kushinagar (Gorakhpur)." [full story on Rediff.com]

Buddha tees off yen tourism drive from the greens
A STAFF REPORTER, 8 November, (The Telegraph). Hounded by healthcare horrors and rattled by the rally row, it is time for the chief minister to take a swing — on the golfing greens. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has teed off a fresh initiative to woo international tourists to this part of the world — for its ecology, for its heritage and for its fairways.
....
“Look how Delhi has tied up tourism with the game by laying out three designer golf courses (DLF Golf & Country Club, Golden Greens and Classic Golf Resorts) along the drive to Jaipur,” pointed out Brandon De Souza, president, Tiger Sports Marketing (TSM), which drives the Indian Tour. TSM had recently suggested to the government that Calcutta be linked to Patna and Bodh Gaya through an integrated golf-tourism blueprint to cash in on the Buddhism connection. “If the state is keen to develop allied areas of interest in its backyard, like heritage spots and eco-tourism parks, the whole picture could change real quick,” clarifies the golf consultant. full story on the Telegraph.com

Bihar govt to sue Reliance Infocomm
Thursday, 06 November , 2003, 13:57 (Sify.com). Patna: After trying to cast off its IT-unfriendly image by resolving to gift laptops to 318 legislators, the Bihar government has now trained its guns on Reliance Infocomm. Tourism Minister Ashok Kumar Singh said on Wednesday that Reliance used information technology to portray a negative picture of the state as a tourist destination on its website, R-World.
The minister was reacting to reports that the company had presented an unflattering image of the state's four major tourist spots - Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Patna and Rajgir - on the travel tips option on Reliance India Mobile (RIM) declaring them unsafe.
On Gaya, the RIM asked its users to be alert as incidents of theft and robbery was common and advised them not to wear expensive jewellery. About Bodh Gaya it said since power cuts were frequent, tourists should carry a torch and not travel after sunset, the minister said.
...
"Not a single tourist coming to Bihar has been a victim of crime and we supply even toothbrushes at hotels run by tourism department," the minister said adding the state earned around Rs 36 crore from tourism sector in 2002. Full story on Sify.com

Jois opens meditation centre
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ MONDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2003 01:24:12 AM ]. GAYA: (Times of India).Governor M Rama Jois on Saturday inaugurated a meditation centre at Bodh Gaya. Built at a cost of Rs 40 lakh, the meditation centre is designed to offer a congenial place of uninterrupted meditation to the large number of tourists and pilgrims visiting Bodh Gaya in their quest for the peace of mind. full story at TOI


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Related Links

Hindi Dailies
Dainik Jagran
Prabhat Khabar
English Dailies
PatnaDaily
The Times of India
Hindustan Times
Link to Papers
Samachar

Monastery Sites
Burmese
Mahabodhi Temple
Maitreya Project
Shechen Monastery
Vietnamese Monastery

Other Sites
Ambedkar Website
Sasai Shurai Website
Battling for the Buddha: William Dalrymple
Antioch Education Abroad
Mahabodhi Temple Page [at www.stupa.org.nz]
Lumbini: Buddha's Birthplace?

Bodhgaya
at Buddhanet
History
of Bodhgaya by Ven. S. Dhammika
Map
of Gaya District
the-South-Asian

Other Sites:
Early Indian Census Reports

Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation

Some of my sketches of India from the 70s and 80s

 

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.