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Kurkihar: The site of an ancient Buddhist monastery

The large mound that this village sits on the top of is the remains of what was a Buddhist monastery in ancient times. The village hit the headlines in 1930 when one hundred and forty eight bronze artefacts were dug out of this mound. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of all sizes, bells, stupas and ritual objects of the finest workmanship were recovered. Most of these are now on display in a special room in the Patna Museum.

The second of Kurkihar's two Hindu temples still has a large collection of Buddhist sculptures in it that have been found in the area over the years. One of the best of these is a fine statue of Akshobhya Buddha just outside the entrance of the temple. Note the fourteen calved pillars in the temple also, they date from about the 9th century.

Numerous other stone sculptures from Kurkihar can be seen in the Indian Museum in Calcutta. If the pujari opens the doors to let you in it would be quite appropriate to make a small donation. Kurkihar is about 3 kilometres off the main Gaya-Rajgir road about 22 kilometres from Gaya and just past the village of Wazirganj.

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