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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Check out the previous post about returning to our regular programming for any commentarial intro. Here's a bunch of pics. We'll start off with the Son  Bhandar Caves, sacred to the Jains. These are natural structures that were modified a millenium and a half ago, though some estimates push for an earlier date.

Following we begin a look at Nalanda University. The photos are not in the order I shot them, but I'm too lazy to arrange them.

The plan of  the university or at least, what's been uncovered is that  monasteries and chaitya faced each other in rows. We took a stroll around a couple of the monastery remains first and while the floor plan was pretty standardized, apparently, some of the monastic buildings served different functions, as here, where this one seemed to handle the cooking for the complex or some part of it.

A view of Sariputra's stupa.

Sariputra's stupa in the distance, you can make out some of the remains of a residence here in the foreground. It staggers the mind to think that the edifices that are standing are only part of higher buildings; I get the impression that in addition to being the first university, Nalanda may have been home to the first skyscrapers (exaggeration....anything for a little wit...)

Note the corbelled arch. This amazed me as this is also a much-used architectural support used throughout the Maya empire. Admittedly, it's a pretty universal form later in European architecture (or not, come to think of it), but for some reason, it seems out of context in India. These were storage rooms, by the way, for grain (I think).

Interior of storage.

This and what follows are views from the landing where the storage rooms are found.

In the background are individual "bedrooms".

Now we turn to the chaithyas/temples.

From here you can see memorial stupas for the long-term dedicated instructors.

Looking out to land that may well be hiding more of Nalanda. From UNESCO's website: 
There are references that the city was spread over an area of sixteen square kilometers of which only an area of around square kilometer is excavated.

Can't say what this went to, but you see stuff like this just laying around.

Closer view of the stupas.

A katag left with what looks like a bodhisattva in repose.

Closer up to Sariputra's stupa. The stupa itself is roped off to avoid damage to it; also, I understand work is still going on on the stupa.

A good zoom is a wonderful thing.

Leading away from the stupa.
More views of the stupa from the copse. Truth to tell, I would love to take a closer look at the buildings that comprise the stupa complex.

Prayer flags on a hill abutting the stupa area.

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