Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

History of pilgrimage

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“Anada, there are four places the sight of which will arouse strong emotion in those with faith – which four places? Here the Tathagata was born this is the first. Here the Tathagata attained enlightenment- this is the second. Here the Tathagata set in motion the wheel of the Dhamma – this is the third. Here the Tathagata attained final Nirvana without remainder – This is the fourth.”
Buddha

The modern pilgrim need to have some idea about the religious, historical and archaeological background of each of the sacred places.

The first historical record going to pilgrimage is King Asoka, third emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, He was crowned in 270 BCE. In 260 BCE , he went on a pilgrimage to Bodhagaya and ten years later to Lumbani. He erected huge pillars used to record the mark various sacred sites, Patna to Lumbani.

“I given up the usual kingly habit going on pleasure trip and started going on pilgrimage, Dhamma tour”
King Asok

Later the pilgrims coming from China was the monk Fa Hein in 399 BCE. He was one of the truly great travel adventure in History. He is not speak indian language, nothing to guide or sustain them but their faith. He arrived back in China 414 CE.

“All things are possible to the sincere of heart, and all things can be accomplished if a man has determination.”
Fa Hien

I live in West Bengal

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The region was part of Mauryan empire under Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.
West Bengal is on the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalays in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south, The state has a total area of 88752 square kilometres (34267 sq mi) The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region in the northern extreme of the State belong to the eastern Himalya. A small coastal region is on the extreme south, while the sundarbans mangrove forests from a remarkable geographical landmark at the Ganges delta.

The Ganges is the main river, the Bhagirathi river and Hooghly river flows through West Bengal.

The main seasons are summer, rainy season, a short autumn, and winter. The summer is noted for excessive humidity, the highest day temperature ranging from 38 Degree C (100 Degree F) to 45 Degree F. At nights, a cool southerly breeze carries moisture from the Bay of Bengal.

As of 2009, recorded forest area in the state is 11,879 km2 (4,587 sq mi) which is 13.38% of the state's geographical area, compared to the national average of 21.02%. Reserves, protected and unclassed forests constitute 59.4%, 31.8% and 8.9%, respectively, of the forest area. Part of the world's largest Mangrove forest, the Sundarbans , is located in southern West Bengal.

As of 2011, the total length of surface road in West Bengal is over 92,023 km (57,180 mi) National highways comprise 2,578 km (1,602 mi)and state highways 2,393 km (1,487 mi).Average speed on state highways varies between 40–50 km/h (25–31 mi/h); in villages and towns, speeds are as low as 20–25 km/h (12–16 mi/h) due to the substandard quality of road constructions and low maintenance. As of 2011, the total railway route length is around 4,481 km (2,784 mi).Kolkata is the headquarters of two divisions of the Indian Railways—Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway.The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) plies in the northern parts of the state. The Kolkata metro is the country's first underground railway The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway part of NFR, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The state's only international airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Dum Dum, Kolkata. Bagdogra airport near Siliguri is another significant airport in the state. Kolkata is a major river-port in eastern India. There is passenger service to Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and cargo ship service to ports in India and abroad. Ferry is a principal mode of transport in the southern part of the state, especially in the Sundarbans area. Kolkata is the only city in India to have trams as a mode of transport.

Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto rickshaws which often ply specific routes in cities. In most of the state, cycle rickshaws, and in Kolkata, hand-pulled rickshaws, are also used for short-distance travel. Large-scale transport accidents in West Bengal are common, particularly the sinking of transport boats and train crashes.

West Bengal is the fourth most populous state in India with a population of 91,347,736 (7.55% of India's population). West Bengal was the first Indian state to constitute a Human Rights Commission of its own.

The Bengali language boasts a rich literary heritage, shared with neighbouring Bangladesh.