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Buddha Gaya: The Hermitage of Sakya Muni / Mitra, Rajendra Lal
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Buddha Gaya: The Hermitage of Sakya Muni
Mitra, Rajendra Lal
 
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List Price : US$ 129.95
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  Book ID : 28262
  ISBN-10 : 81-7742-062-3 / 8177420623
  ISBN-13 : 978-81-7742-062-3 / 9788177420623
  Place of Publication : Delhi
  Year of Publication : 2005
  Edition : (Reprint)
  Language : English
  xiv, 308p., 51 B/W Plates, Maps., Sculpt., Index, 25 cm. (Published under orders of the of Government of Bengal) (First pub. in 1878)
   
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 CONTENTS
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CONTENTS:-
1. Buddha Gaya.
2. The penance of Buddha.
3. Architectural remains.
4. Sculptures.
5. Inscriptions.
6. Chronology.
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 DESCRIPTION
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Buddha Gaya is one of the four holiest places of Buddhism. Here Buddha attained enlightenment after having meditated for 49 days under the Bodhi tree. In the 3 century BC Emperor Asoka built a shrine to mark this spot of Buddha's sambodhi. A later stone railing enclosing this shrine survives from the Sunga period (1 century BC). Sanchi and Barhut depict the shrine on several reliefs. The shrine was replaced by the Mahabodhi temple, begun in the Kushan period in the 2 century AD. In the Pala-Sena period it was provided with statuary and revetment. Burmese Buddhists began to restore it in 1877, but a proper scientific restoration was done by Cunningham in 1882. The King of Burma deputed his officers to repair the temple. In course of their work they started to renew the structures, stick antiquarian heads foolishly onto ancient torsos, and the like. For the proper care of the antiquities and to control the operations of Burman excavators Dr. Rajendralala Mitra visited Buddha Gaya in 1877 in compliance with the wishes of the Lt. Governor of Bengal. He was the first to draw up maps, plans and to compile a record of its archaeology. The present work was thus the first attempt at a scientific study of the site, its monuments and antiquities, as well as its descriptions in Buddhist texts and Puranas. It describes the geography, buildings, ancient structures, and the religious legends of Gaya. It is still the only work to give an extensive account of the importance of Gaya in Buddha's enlightenment. The architectural remains, sculptures, carvings on railings, copings and pillars, inscriptions from the earliest period, and chronology are detailed by R. Mitra. The book retains its value in understanding the vicissitudes of the reconstruction of the Mahabodhi and surrounding buildings, its centrality in the enlightenment of Lord Buddha and its role as the centrum of the Buddhist world. This work inspired Sir A. Cunningham to a complete overhauling of the temple and its environs and to write his monograph Mahabodhi in 1892. In 1935 A.K. Coomaraswamy wrote La Sculpture de Bodhgaya, followed by Barua, Gaya and Buddha Gaya in 1931. Yet, this work of R. Mitra remains a fundamental historic survey of Buddha Gaya over to millennia. It has long been a desideratum and the present reprint is most welcome as a basic work, with 51 monochrome plates of the 19 century.
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