Open Learning Buddhist Studies
Bodhgaya News
Founded: March 15 2002
Last updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2002
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September 2002 Stories

6000 "Hits" on Bodhgayanews in September Melbourne, 30 September (Peter Friedlander). This website has been running now for about six months or so and the number of page requests has gone up from 365 in March when it began to over 6000 in September. Or to look at it another way, so far there have been visits from 2,986 host computers, including 872 different hosts in September. Quite what that really means is impossible to say, but it certainly seems to reflect a considerable growth in visitors. Thanks for visiting, hope that the site helps you get a picture of what is happening in Bodhgaya.

Bodhgaya MLA says it is essential to be open about the "Buffer Zone" Bodhgaya, 29 September (Dainik Jagran). The inhabitants of Bodhgaya are even now concerned about the proposed Buffer Zone after the inclusion of the Mahabodhi Temple in the World Heritage List. more

Temple attack hits Bihar priests' earnings
IANS [ MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2002 11:57:07 AM ]
PATNA: The terror attack on the Swaminarayan temple in distant Gujarat has cast a shadow on an annual Hindu festival in Bihar, seriously affecting the earnings of the powerful priests known as 'pandas'.
The pandas are saying that the September 24 terrorist storming of the Swaminarayan shrine in Gandhinagar that killed 32 people was mainly to blame for the poor turnout at the 'Pitrapaksha Mela' in Gaya town. It is an annual gathering where Hindus make offerings in memory of their ancestors' souls.
Full story at Times of India

Bihar: Female pickpocket gang busted
Gaya, Sept. 29. (PTI): A gang of inter-state female pickpockets was busted today with the arrest of 44 from Gaya railway station by the police. Gaya District Superintendent of Police Ravindra Shankaran said the female pickpockets had arrived in the city by the Ganga Damodar Express. Full story at The Hindu

Meeting in Delhi over Bodhgaya Development
Bodhgaya, 26 September (Dainik Jagran). The tourism ministry has announced a meeting on the integrated development of the Mahabodhi temple and a conference following the inclusion of the Mahabodhi temple in the world heritage listing. The chairmanship of the meeting will be performed by the central tourism minister Jagmohan. more

High Security at Gaya Temples, Metal Detectors at Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples Gaya, 25 September (Dainik Jagran). After yesterday's terrorist attack on the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar security measures have been made extremely tough at all Monasteries and Temples in Gaya. Gurkha BSF [Border Security Force] B-19 has been deployed at several locations in the city whilst the security of the Vishnupad temple has been entrusted to the CRPF. [Central Reserve Police Force]. Worshippers are only being allowed into the Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples after checking with metal detectors. more

Places of worship put on alert nationwide , 25 September ( Places of worship were put on alert nationwide following Tuesday's terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. link to story at

Security enhanced for Pitri Paksha fair in Bihar GAYA, SEP 25 (PTI) ( Security measures have been tightened in and around the famous Vishnupad temple and other religious sites during the ongoing ' Pitri Paksha' fair here in the wake of terrorists attack on Swaminarain temple in Gujarat, official sources said today. link to story at

Seventy Thousand Pilgrims Arrive
Gaya, 24 September (Dainik Jagran). The arrival of pilgrims to the sacred site of Gaya is now almost continuous. Today, the third day of the pilgrimage, reliable sources say that so far seventy thousand pilgrims have arrived. full story

Offerings to Ancestors aimed at establishing Social Status Gaya 23 September (Dainik Jagran). Pilgrims are arriving by their thousands now to make offerings to their ancestors. From amongst them there are those who are coming because they are concerned with what people might say about them [if they didn't] and in view of maintaining their social status. The pilgrims who have come for the Fair are not looking pleased with the arrangements for cleanliness in the town and Fair area. full story

Bajrang Dal activists attack foreign nationals BEGUSARAI (BIHAR), SEPT 23 (PTI) ( Activists of Bajrang Dal attacked a group of South Koreans staying at the house of a co-religionist here and snatched their valuables including passport and injured one of them for their alleged bid to convert Hindus to Christianity, police said today. full story [Note Begusarai is in Northern Bihar not near Bodhgaya.]

Pilgrims Start Arriving In Gaya, Rituals Begins Today Gaya 21 September (Dainik Jagran). The Pitripaksa Fair has begun in Gaya the Sacred Site of the Eternal Dharma. Pilgrims have started arriving via the roads and railways. Tomorrow is Ashwin Pratipada and from the morning the rituals of Pindadana will begin at both the Phalgu river and at Vishnupada temple. full story

Gaya Gears Up to Hold Pitripaksha Mela, Security Tight Gaya: September 21, 2002 ( Hundreds and thousands of Hindu devotees have gathered in Gaya for a two-week Pitripaksha Mela that, according to the Hindu customs, seeks to liberate the wandering souls to a more heavenly state of nirvana. [full story at]

World Famous Pitripaksa Mela Begins Tomorrow Gaya, 18 September (Dainik Jagran). The world famous Pitripaksa ("Ancestors Fortnight") Mela ("fair") begins this year on the day of Anant Chaturdashi ("Infinite Fourteen") on Friday 20 September and runs to the 6th of October. The Mela will be inaugurated at seven pm in the compound of the Vishnupada temple by Ashok Kumar Singh the Bihar minister for Art, Culture, Youth Work and Tourism. full story

Bodh Gaya Airport For Sale
Melbourne, 17 September. The Government of India is intending to privatise the four major Indian Airports and ten regional airports, including Bodh Gaya airport. "Civil aviation minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain has cleared privatisation of 10 regional airports Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Calicut, Goa and Jaipur, Lucknow, Trichy, Trivandrum and Udaipur. I have signed the file and we will set the ball rolling soon to open up these airports to private sector, Mr Hussain told FE. " full story on website. [story dated September 4th]

Three Mobile Vehicles of Medical College Rusting in Garage Gaya, 16 September (Dainik Jagran). Three mobile vehicles worth 60 lakh rupees are rusting in the garage of the Anugraha Narayana Medical college. Up to today not even the slightest advantage has come to villagers from these vehicles. full story

British-Government-Built-Phalgu-River-Road-Bridge Witness to Several Deaths
Gaya, 15 September (Dainik Jagran). The steel bridge built over the Phalgu river during the time of the British Government is in a run down condition. Due to administrative carelessness the bridge has witnessed several dozen deaths. full story

Claim of Firm Arrangements for Health in Pitripaksa Mela Gaya, 15 September (Dainik Jagran). The Civil Surgeon has claimed that firm arrangements for health during the Pitripaksa Mela have been put into place. But the Pilgrim Hospital itself looks unhealthy nowadays. full story

Two FIRs issued over railway inquiry
Melbourne, 15 September. Two FIRs have been issued in regard to the Rajdhani crash according to a report in
"In the light of conflicting statements on the mishap, two firs were lodged against each other by the railways and the Bihar government with the Rafiganj police station. Railway Minister Nitish Kumar and Railway Board Chairman I I M S Rana had advocated sabotage theory while the Bihar government pinpointed faulty maintenance of Dhave bridge by the railways as the cause. " full report on
(Note an FIR or "First Information Report", is the way a case is registered in India).

Railway Line Re-opens
Melbourne, 14 September. The line over the railway bridge which was the scene of the accident has re-opened. The question of what caused the accident is also an open question. There is a good special article about the present state of Indian railways on which paints a picture of a railway system which faces considerable challenges in terms of safety in the coming years.

Terrorist Incident Cannot Be Ruled Out: Dattatreya Gaya, 11 September (Dainik Jagran). The State Rail Minister Dattatreya Bagarampa has said that a terrorist hand in the Rajdhani Express Train crash cannot be ruled out. This afternoon at four o'clock Mr Dattatreya arrived at the crash scene for an inspection of it. He was accompanied by Sushil Kumar Modi the leader of the State Legislature Opposition Party. full story (Latest reports now suggest over a hundred casualties see Indian Express report and also another view on the possible cause, the old bridge, see

Fifty Die in Rajdhani Express Crash Near Gaya
Melbourne, 10 September. There are reports that at least fifty people have died in a train crash at Rafiganj near in Aurangabad District near Gaya. The Calcutta-Delhi Rajdhani Express was derailed and some reports say eight of its eighteen bogies fell 50 to 60 feet into the river which was in flood. There are some reports, subsequently denied (see report in Hindustan Times), that it might have been due to sabotage. For more details see Reuters Report. and report. The Dainik Jagran report is largely the same as English language reports although it starts out saying that it is feared that more than 120 have died and the figure of 50 refers to recovered bodies and stresses the details of where medical teams are coming from to give aid to the passengers.

Bodhgaya Sanskrit College Head Declared Unqualified Bodhgaya, 7 September (Dainik Jagran). Due to being declared as not having the qualification of Principal the Head of Bodhgaya Sanskrit College has been declared to be unqualified by Choti Sahayak the secretary of the ad hoc committee of the Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University. full story

Possibility of Expense of Fifty Lakhs for Pitripaksa Mela Gaya, 5 September (Dainik Jagran). The administration has said that it may spend about 50 Lakhs on expenses for the convenience of pilgrims to the 2002 Pitripaksa Mela. full story

Truck Burnt in Bodhgaya
Melbourne, 4 September. Its now over a month since a transport strike began in Bihar in protest against a hike in road taxes. In one incident related to this ongoing strike "agitated transporters burnt a sugar-laden truck in Bodh Gaya as part of their bid to force their hostile colleagues not to run their vehicles." Full story at Express India

Plane Does Not Take Off from Gaya Airport
Gaya, 1 September (Dainik Jagran). After a long awaited delay even today a plane could not take off from Gaya airport. Due to technical problems and lack of information for the moment the work was halted again. Meanwhile the parks minister has appointed two new committees for Gaya airport. full story

Government Regulations Broken Near Temple
Bodhgaya, 1 September (Dainik Jagran). Despite the prohibition on parking outside the Mahabodhi Temple Committee Office it has become a normal matter. After looking at the "No Parking" sign lesser and greater drivers alike break the law and park. full story

August 2002 Stories
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Related Links

Hindi Dailies
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English Dailies
The Times of India
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Monastery Sites
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Shechen Monastery
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Other Sites
Ambedkar Website
Sasai Shurai Website
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions: B.M. Barua
Battling for the Buddha: William Dalrymple
Antioch Education Abroad
Mahabodhi Temple Page [at]
at Buddhanet
of Bodhgaya by Ven. S. Dhammika
of Gaya District

Other Sites:
Early Indian Census Reports

Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation

Listen to an interview with me on VOA about Kashmir

Some of my sketches of India from the 70s and 80s

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.