March 10, 2017
Students from the School of Historical Studies and the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions (SBS) enrolled in the elective Buddhism, Gender and Archaeology offered by Dr. Garima Kaushik, Assistant Professor, SBS went on a four day field trip to various Buddhist Sites including Nalanda Ruins, Kesariya, Lauriya-Areraj, Lauriya-Nandangarh, Vishal ka Garh, Vaishali Museum and Kolhua.
The aim of the visit was to provide students a visual experience of different types of Buddhist sites that evolved over different periods along with the awareness of different landscapes that together contribute to the making of a Buddhist site and to make them understand the different types of structures that together constitute a Buddhist site.
While the trip was led by Dr. Garima Kaushik, faculty members from SBS-Ms. Patricia Sauthoff, Dr. Noemi Verdon, and Mr. Sean Kerr were also part of the group.
The first trip was undertaken on February 27, 2017 to Nalanda Ruins and associated site Goshravan which is also in Nalanda District. The architecture and the various phases of construction at the site as well as issues of structural conservation and their impact on the understanding and interpretation of excavated structures were discussed during the trip. Ancient Nalanda's interactions with its hinterland were also explored at Goshravan. The trip also included a visit to Black Buddha and the Xuan Zang memorial.
The second part of the trip commenced on March 2, 2017 and ended on March 4, 2017. The group visited various monuments and sites including Kesariya, Lauriya Nandangarh, Ashokan Pillar Site of Lauriya Areraj before arriving in Vaishali.
In Vaishali, they visited the Museum, Relic Stupa, Shanti Stupa, Koluha and Raja Vishal ka Garh.
During this trip the students were introduced to several kinds of Buddhist sites and the relations between them. For the students it was a first-hand interaction with different types of Buddhist archaeological sites. Discussion also centered around the significance of the distribution of Ashokan Pillars and their possible significance and import as part of the Buddhist landscapes. The evolution of stupa architecture and the basic difference between the Northern and Southern Buddhist sites were also discussed.
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