Friday, April 30, 2010


PIC: The Laxminarayan temple complex over the remains of ancient Tapodarama

The words of Xuanzang
“This place had a succession of hills and stream was hermitage of benevolence and wisdom, and in it were hidden many scholars unknown to the world.”

Tapodarama was another destination where the Buddha took refuge with his Sangha and subsequently a monastery was build there. This sacred monastery was blessed with the presences of hundreds of natural water springs both of hot and cold temperature. It was an ideal place for the residence of monks who were very sensitive to the environment around them and always maintained a sustainable ecological balance. Xuanzang reports in his travelogue that several of those hot and cold water springs were still active at the time of his visit which was during the 7th century. The Pali commentaries (Vin.iii.108; iv.116f; DA.i.35; UdA.110) describe the serene beauty with most auspicious words, the picturesque shows a calm blue lake at the base of the mountain that held the warm water from the streams that flowed in to it creating a perfect balance. And the grounds around this heavenly lake was Tapodarama

Xuanzang has further associated the hot water springs to Pious Anavatapta Lake (in Himalayas) confirming the auspicious words from the Pali literature. According to the cosmological view of Buddhism, the Anavatapta Lake lies at the center of the world. The name Anavatapta means "free of heat "; the waters of the lake that soothe the fires that torment living beings. And the lake at Tapodarama did just that physically and meta-physically too. Xuanzang explains that the water from the lake flowed in various branches under the ground past the small hot wells, and this made the water of the springs hot.

He saw foundation of stupas and temples in the surroundings of Tapodarama and these were places associated with the four Past Buddhas describing it to be a very fortunate place. There are almost no archaeological evidences to confirm any of the claims made by Xuanzang of the Buddhist past but the sacredness of the land is maintained by the newly surrected temples and platforms that have replaced the much coveted Buddhist remains. At the time of Xuanzang’s visit during the seventh century there were around 1000 Brahmin families living here at Rajgriha; as an explanation to the large number of Brahmin presence he attributed it to king Ashoka, who offered it to the Brahmins to maintain as a religious capital while the political capital was moved to Pataliputra.

The hot water spring is part of temple complex and managed by panda committee, this confirms the note in xuanzang's travelogue where he mentioned that Rajgir was handed over to Brahmins to maintained as a religious capital while the political capital was moved to Patliputra...

Next Post: Tapodarama transformed to Laxmi Narayan Temple

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