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Kurkihar

A small village in Bihar, Kurkihar is among famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India placed atop a mound that was earlier a Buddhist Monastery. In 1930, a rich collection of 148 bronze artifacts were unearthed from Kurkihar including a range of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Stupas, Bells and ritual objects. Presently, they are preserved in Patna’s museum. Many stone sculptures dug out from Kurkihar are housed in Kolkata’s, Indian museum.

Among significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Bihar, Kurkihar has two Hindu temples. One still preserves an exquisite collection of Buddhist sculptures and relics excavated from Kurkihar. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, in various forms display the work level involved in their making at peak level. The most prominent is the beautiful statue of Akshobhya Buddha, placed outside the temple’s entrance. The fourteen carved pillars dating back to 9th century, display ancient Buddhism in India.

Stupas of varying sizes are found at the border of a large tank. Many sculptures have been taken by a local zamindar for his own house. These include a relic representing a teaching bodhisattva on a rock between two female attendants. The fresco shows devotees approaching a stupa with offerings and placed atop are five bodhisattvas enshrined in small positions.

Close by, at Punwan one can sight more Buddhist relics but many were not preserved, destroyed with digging activities. A Triloknath temple, which once existed here, is lying in shambles. These Buddhist pilgrimage sites are significant for Buddhist pilgrims.

Other Tourist Spots :

Gaya : Gaya is significant for Buddhists as Buddha preached His famous Fire sermon. A museum displays an excellent collection of Buddhist artifacts.

Bodh Gaya : Prince Siddharta attained Enlightenment in BodhGaya, becoming the Buddha. Many pilgrims seek blessings of Lord Buddha.

Barabar Caves : It is among the earliest rock cut caves in India. Built by Emperor Ashoka, caves include Nagarjuna, Pandava and Hut caves.

How to reach Kurkihar :

Air : Nearest airport is Gaya, well connected with Varanasi and internationally with Bangkok, Yangon.

Rail : Nearest railhead is Gaya with direct trains from Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi and Puri.

Road : Good roads link Gaya to cities within and outside Bihar.