Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Gate and the Walls of Mahasanghrama

The Gate and the Walls of Mahasanghrama pose another challenge, as we know from the historic account that the monastic units were part of the campus and were surrounded with walls on all sides but its entrance have not been located yet. Here’s what the travelogues say about the structures:

Hwui Lun- there are two mentions of gates, while one of the convent is clearly mentioned but no further clarification about the other gates is provided.
1. This building of Nalanda stands four-square, like a city precinct. The gates have overlapping eaves covered by tiles.
2. Outside the western gate of the great hall of the temple are large stupa and various chaityas. The great temple opens to the west. Going about 20 paces from the gate, there is a stupa 100ft high.

Xuanzang description
Wall number 1 & Gate
(“Life” by S. Beal- Bok III- P-111), (“Travels” by S.Beal- Book IX- p 171) (“”Travels” Vol-2 By Thomas watters p-165)
Moreover, the whole establishment is surrounded by a brick wall, which encloses the entire convent from without. One gate opens into the great college, from which are separated eight other halls, standing in the middle of the sangharama.

Wall number 2
(“Travels” by S.Beal- Book IX- p 173) & (“Travels” Vol-2 By Thomas watters p-170)
To the west outside the wall, and by side of tank is a stupa………to the south east about 50 paces, within the walls is an extraordinary tree….

Wall number 3
(“Travels” by S.Beal- Book IX- p 174) & (“Travels” Vol-2 By Thomas watters p-170)
Next to the eastward 200 paces or so, outside the walls is a figure of Buddha standing upright and made of copper.
It is evident there were possibly many gates but number and position is not clear. It is also evident from Hwui Lun and Xuanzang that the Convent had one western gate opening to the temple

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