Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Pilgrimage Special: Sarnath Molested Again

Sarnath, after molested and forgotten for 600 years came again to the notice of the world in 1794 under a tragic circumstance. The Dharmarajika Stupa originally built by King Asoka was desecrated by Jagat Singh. Originally, a 13.4 m mound,this stupa was enlarged twice during the Gupta period. Lord Buddha's bodily relics originally were enshrined at seven stupas and King Asoka had built the Dharmarajika Stupa to enshrine part of these relics when he redistributed them. In 1794, Jagat Singh the minister of Benares aka Varanasi, conveniently dismantled Dharmarajika Stupa to collect bricks and stones for building a housing colony. At a depth of 8.3 m, a stone box containing a green marble casket was found. Jagat Singh consigned the human relics found in the casket, presumed to belong to the Buddha, into the Ganges River...

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