History of Kumrahar
The first account about Pataliputra has been compiled by a Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya called Megasthenese. He mentions it as Palibothra in his book Indica. His account depicts that the city was spread in parallelogram form, about 14 km east-west along the river Ganges and about 3 km north-south. Its circumference was estimated as 36 km. The city was protected by massive timber palisades and was defended by a broad and deep moat which also served as a sewer. Kautilya in Arthasastra indicates wide ramparts around the city.
In the 6th century BC, Pataliputra was a small village where Buddha, before his nirvana, noticed a fort being constructed under the orders of King, Ajatasatru of Rajagrih for defence of Magadh kingdom against the Lichchavis. Impressed by the strategic location, king Udayin, successor of Ajatasatru, shifted the capital to Pataliputra in the 5th century BC. For the next thousand years, it remained the capital of Saisunaga, Nanda, Maurya, Sunga and Gupta dynasties. It was the center of education, commerce, art and religion. During Asoka's rule, the third Buddhist council was held here. Sthulabhadra, Jain ascetic convened a council here during the time of Chandragupta Maurya.
Relics found at the Archeological Site in Kumrahar
The relics found at the Archeological Site in Kumrahar belong to a series of four continuous periods from 600 BC to 600 AD. These periods mark the rule of three greatest emperors in the history of ancient India namely, Ajatasatru, Chandragupta and Ashoka. The Mauryan 80 pillared hall at Kumrahar was brought to light in 1912-15 as a result of a number of excavations carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India. In this excavation, traces of 72 pillars were found. Further excavations in 1951-55 in Patna exposed 8 more pillars of the hall and four others belonging to the entrance or porch. All the pillars were made of black spotted buff sandstone monoliths with a lustrous shine typical of the period. This hall is known to belong to the Mauryan period (322-185 BC). This hall has been assigned different names such as the palace of Asoka, the audience hall, the throne room of Mauryas, the pleasure hall or the conference hall for the third Buddhist council in the 3rd Century BC, during the reign of Asoka.
Excavations by K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute also unearthed brick structures from the Gupta period which were identified as Arogya Vihara or hospital-cum-monastery. Terracotta sealing discovered from the place bears an inscription reading 'Sri Arogya Vihare Bhikshusanghasya', thus testifying the presence of this Vihara at the site. A red potsherd was found here, which bears an inscription reading, Dhanvantareh, possibly referring to a name or title of the presiding physician of Arogya Vihar. It was concluded that this hospital was run by Dhanvantari, the famous physician of the Gupta period. Anand Bihar, a Buddhist monastery and the Durakhi Devi Temple (which translates into double faced Indian Goddess in English) were also surfaced at this archeological site.
Excavations also revealed copper coins, ornaments, antimony rods, beads of terracotta and stone, dices of terracotta and ivory, terracotta seals, toy carts, skin rubbers, terracotta figurines of human, bird and animals and some earthen utensils. An exhibition hall tells the story of Kumrahar through antiquities, photographs, dioramas and illustrations.
Remains of wooden palisades have been discovered in excavations at Lohanipur, Bahadurpur, Sandalpur, Bulandibagh, Kumrahar and other locations in Patna.
Present Status of the Archeological Site in Kumrahar
As Kumrahar is prone to floods, the actual excavation trench of the palace of 80 pillars is no more visible presently. A solitary pillar with some inscription on the front has been covered with a fenced shade. In the year 1989, the Government had buried the entire site with soil. There is a museum at the site which is a home to a small replica of the original excavation, which will help one to imagine the look of the site when it was explored in the year 1913. The museum also serves as a home to various relics that were originally discovered during the excavations.
The time period between October to March is generally considered the best time to plan a tour to the Archaeological site in Kumrahar. This is because during this period, the climatic conditions are quite pleasing.
The nearest airport to the Archaeological site in Kumrahar is Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan Airport in Patna. This airport is located at a distance of about 9 km from the Archaeological Site. The nearest railway station to this site is the Patna Junction Train Station. This train station is located at a distance of about 5 km from the Archaeological Site in Kumrahar.
Indian Regional Monuments
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Archaeological Sites in Bihar
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