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Tag Archives | Places and Monuments

The Inspiration behind the Indian Parliament Building

Apparently the design for the Indian Parliament was “inspired”. The inspiration comes from an eighth century Shiva temple in Madhya Pradesh.

Located in the non-descript Mitawali village of Morena district, the magnificent circular structure lies in a radius of 170 feet. The temple, dedicated to Hindu God, Lord Shiva, has figurines of 64 demigoddesses engraved on the circular inner wall. It also has 64 rooms, each with a ‘Shivlingam’- Shiva’s phallic symbol.

Archaeologists claim that the temple was a seat of Vedic and astrological studies in the olden days.

The Parliament building, designed by renowned architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, was constructed in 1927, 20 years before India’s independence in 1947. The building has been highly appreciated for its design across the world .It is touted to be among one of the world’s best architectural wonders.

But the temple, which the archaeologists and locals in Mitawali believe might have inspired the magnificent building, is in a state of dilapidation.

The Archaeological Survey of India, the autonomous body in-charge of India’s historical sites has only deputed a caretaker at the temple premises. Absence of any concerted renovation work is affecting the entire structure, especially the sculptures on the temple wall. [Central Indian temple that inspired Parliament lies in neglect]

Picture: Mitawli Shiva Temple

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Vikramashila University

From the end of the Gupta period in India, religion in India was more into magic and sexual mysticism. This affected even Buddhism and a new branch called Vajrayana appeared in Eastern India in the 8th century and grew in Bihar and Bengal. A version of this branch, modified by local cults and practices was established in Tibet as a result of missions sent from India. The monastery responsible for this was the Vikramasila, in Bihar[13].

The ruins of this monastery is located a few miles away from Bargaon village, where Nalanda University was located.

The Tibetan Taranatha’s description in his work, History of Indian Buddhism, in the early 18th century and other minor historiographical works and from references in the colophons of a number manuscripts recovered from Tibet elaborate Vikramasila was the greatest and most famous educational establishment of the time. This university was located on the right bank of the Ganges where the holy river flows northwards.

It was in the Augustan period of Buddhist Pala kings of Bengal Vikramasila emerged the pre-eminent position in the contemporary educational structure of the then India.

This stately educational establishment had six noble gates, each of which was guarded by a scholar Buddhist monk officer of the university designated ‘Gate-keeper Scholar’ (Dvarapalaka Pandit) who examined applicants to the university. It is said that these entry examinations were so tough that of ten applicants only three gained admission. The university granted the degree of Pandit, equivalent now to Master of Arts.

The fame and prestige of Vikramasila are recorded in Tibetan records. This institution had a large measure of association with the great scholar Dipankara Srijnana (980-1053 AD), who having completed his education at Odantapuri University, became the head of the Vikramasila (1034-38 AD). [The historic Vikramasila Buddhist university]

The Palas, the last major dynasty to champion Buddhism were responsible for the revival of Nalanda University and the massive building programme at Somapura, which is now in Paharpur in Bangladesh.

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