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Patliputra Karuna Stupa, Buddha Smriti Park , Patna

 

The Buddha Smriti park is situated in the heart of Patna, Bihar . The central attraction of Buddha Smriti park is the Stupa, known as Patliputra Karuna Stupa  which is 200 feet high and is  situated in the middle of the park. The Stupa contains the relics of Buddha, one amongst the eight original relic excavated from Vaishali, secured in a glass enclosure, where a tiny golden statue of the sitting Buddha is kept along with the pot containing the relic . The relics brought from different countries are put in separate caskets inside the glass case. The holy relics was brought by His Holiness Dalai Lama and the monks from Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, South Korea and Sri Lanka. The dome rises high in the sky and provide a magnificent view of the park. Circular paths around the stupa for parikrama have been provided at three different levels that lead to the highest level of the building. The central hall  has wooden flooring in concentric cell fashion. The case is situated in the middle. Rest of the hall is empty and does not have any image or other thing. This park was inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama on 27th May, 2010 (Buddha Poornima). He also planted two saplings, one brought from Bodh Gaya and another from Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, of the sacred Bodhi tree. A branch of the original Mahabodhi tree at Bodh Gaya is believed to have been taken to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by Emperor Ashoka's son Mahendra.

The relic were discovered from the stupa in Vaishali which was one amongst the eight original relic stupas built over the corporeal remains of Buddha. According to Buddhist traditions, after attaining Mahapariniryana, his body was cremated by the Mallas of Kushinagar with royal ceremony befitting a universal king and the mortal remains were distributed among eight claimants including the Lichhavis of Vaishali. Seven others were Ajatshatru the king of Magadha, Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Bulis of Alakappa, Koliyas of Ramagram, A Brahmin of Vethoweep and Mallas of Pava and Kushinagar.

 This was originally a small mud stups measuring 8.07 meters in diameter raised in 5th century B.C. Later during Maurya, Sunga and Kushan periods it was encased with bricks and enlarged in four phases which increased the diameter ti 12.00 meters. The Ayaka projection noticed towards south and east is probabally the earliest examples of Ayakapattas.The most remarkable discovery was the Relic casket of stone partly filled with ashy earth besides a small conch , two glass beads, a fragmentary piece of gold leaf , a copper punch marked coin .The relic are now placed in Patna near Patna Junction at the Patliputra Karuna Stupa . The authenticity of the relics has been proved archeologically, scientifically and also on the basis of literary sources. The partially-empty casket at the time of excavation also proved Yuan-Chwang’s statement right that Ashoka the Great broke open all eight stupas, except one, and took the relics away and divided them into 84,000 parts. The mud stupa is still there in Vaishali near Vishwa Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagodra ) .

The Smriti Park has a meditation centre, library, open park, museum besides the Karuna stupa. The meditation centre in the park consists of 60 cells having a view of the stupa. The library consisting of books on Buddhism along with a large Audio-Visual Hall. The Hall has been designed to be used by the groups visiting the park. The park is called Smriti Bagh (Park of Memories), is a landscaped open space which have votive stupas from countries across the world, each designed in the architectural pattern representative of the specific country. The park symbolically represents the dispersion of Buddhism from Bihar to various regions of the world.The park has museum showcasing the life of Lord Buddha through artfacts,3-D models, audio-visuals and multimedia presentations. The park has saplings of holy Bodhi trees which have been received from Mahameghavana Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka and Bodh Gaya, India.

 The Buddha Smriti Park is situated in front of the Patna Junction and the Mahavir Mandir. The park has been constructed at the place where once the historical Bankipur Central Jail of British era existed.  A part of the former jail which includes a watch tower has been preserved in the park. This beautiful multipurpose park has been developed by the State Government to commemorate the 2554th birth anniversary of the Lord Buddha.The park is a great place to visit and understand the life and teachings of Buddha. The open park is great for recreation. It has well-laid paths and green cover, with majestic central stupa being visible from all parts of the park. Timings : 11 AM to 7 PM, Tuesday to Sunday. The park remains closed on Monday for public.

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