Bihar govt to develop ‘footprints of Buddha’ sites to promote tourism

The Times of India
Pranav Chaudhary,TNN | Oct 12, 2014, 10.58 PM IST

PATNA: Bihar government has decided to develop the ‘footprints of Buddha circuit’ sites located in four districts of the state. Most of these sites are ASI-protected monuments which need immediate care and upkeep. To popularize and generate awareness about these places, the department of tourism, Bihar, has decided to organize ‘walking tourism’ from Bodh Gaya in December.

“The available evidence suggests that Lord Buddha had visited Rampurva, Lauriya Nandangarh, Areraj, Kesariya, Vaishali and Hajipur during his journey to Bodh Gaya,” says an expert.

Bihar tourism minister Dr Jawaid Iqbal Ansari said all the sites associated with Lord Buddha pilgrimage tour would be developed to attract Buddhist pilgrims. It would be major attraction for all the Buddhists across the world. Recently, he made an appeal to various tour and travel operators from across the world to prepare an itinerary package covering all such places for the tourists as well as Buddhist pilgrims.

According to official sources, the Centre is already working on Buddha heritage project in which Buddhist sites located in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would be covered. Additional secretary (tourism) GOI, Girish Shankar, said the Centre is ready to assist the state government in developing the Buddhist circuit. To popularize the Buddha’s footprints, state tourism department has decided to organize a ‘walking tourism’ from Bodh Gaya in the first week of December. Several Buddhist monks and pilgrims are expected to participate in it, he said. Continue reading

Peace & Enlightenment Through Watches: American Kobold’s Nepalese Thangka Art Timepiece With Romio Shrestha

At Buddhist Art News we are fairly open-minded about content. The objects described in this article push at the edges of acceptability: $8,000 wrist watches featuring images of White Tara. The watchmaker might at least have resisted using the skin of a sentient being (a stingray) to create the strap. – Buddhist Art News

10/13/2014 @ 9:30AM 88 views

The trajectory of Michael Kobold’s watch business has taken a series of unexpected turns and twists over the years. Those fresh to the Pennsylvania-based timepiece company would find it strange to read a list of all the things that can be said about Kobold’s achievements. In 1998, Kobold was probably the first watch company to sell watches directly to consumers, and in 2008, they produced a watch known as the Spirit of America with a case produced, perhaps for the first time in 40 years, in the USA. Kobold has worked with watch-loving celebrities, and recently, in 2012, set up a facility in Kathmandu, Nepal to produce some watches. Taken together, one could easily come to the conclusion that either Michael Kobold has an incredibly interesting, or totally random life.

Kobold’s involvement with Nepal is deeply personal, and comes from a positive experience Michael Kobold and his now wife had with Sherpas who guided him during a climb up Mount Everest. In 2012, his company released the Kobold Himalaya Collection of watches produced in Kathmandu that I covered here. With mechanical movements actually produced in Kathmandu by newly trained Nepalese watchmakers, it added a unique twist to the brand’s otherwise USA-focused appeal. Even then, many of the components of Kobold watches are produced in Switzerland, or by other fine watch component suppliers. In the United States Kobold produces the watch cases, automatic rotors, and some movement bridges. They also produce many dials in-house as well as their leather straps. Continue reading

CALL FOR PAPERS: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe

Were any Buddhist nuns making art in Europe in the Medieval Period? We are curious to see if this conference answers that question in the positive. – Buddhist Art News

CALL FOR PAPERS: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe (London, 13-14 Mar 15) will be held at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN.
Deadline: Dec 10, 2014

Sister Act: Female Monasticism and the Arts across Europe ca. 1250 – 1550 Keynote speaker: Professor Dr. Carola Jäggi, University of Zürich (CH)

This conference seeks to compare, contrast and juxtapose scholarly approaches to the art of Medieval and Renaissance religious women that have emerged in recent decades. Seeking to initiate a broader conversation, which is long overdue, we invite papers that examine female monastic art in terms of patronage, space, devotional practice, spiritual identity or material history, spanning all of Europe and bridging the gap between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


Bagan renews efforts to win World Heritage

Sri Kshetra, one of Pyu ancient cities/Unesco Bangkok

Sri Kshetra, one of Pyu ancient cities/Unesco Bangkok

The Nation

Myanmar Eleven October 7, 2014 7:28 pm

After the listing of Pyu ancient cities, Myanmar launches process for World Heritage nomination of Bagan

Myanmar is kicking off another campaign to reengage with the world and also draw more hard-earned foreign currency, this time involving the ancient city of Bagan.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the process to nominate Bagan to its World Heritage List will begin with an international consultation meeting in Bagan from October 10-12.

“The ancient archaeological site is at the top of the country’s priority list for future World Heritage nominations. The meeting will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the future safeguarding of Bagan under the World Heritage framework with national and local stakeholders. These inputs will be particularly timely in the face of accelerated development at the site caused by a boom in visitor arrivals and tourism-related investment,” Unesco said in a statement.

Almost every traveller has heard of Bagan, or Pagan, the spectacular 11th to 13th-century ruins of more than 3,000 Buddhist temples and monuments spread over an 80-square-kilometre plain in central Myanmar. Myanmar nominated Bagan to the World Heritage Committee in 1996, but the submission process, which usually takes years, ran into problems with Myanmar’s ruling junta. Continue reading

Rubin Museum of Art: Witness at a Crossroads Photographer Marc Riboud in Asia

1 Marc RiboudRubin Museum of Art
October 16, 2014 – March 23, 2015

Witness at a Crossroads chronicles French photographer Marc Riboud’s journeys across Asia during the mid-1950s and 60s, a period of great cultural and political transition in the region. More than one hundred arresting black-and-white photographs offer glimpses into everyday life in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, and Japan, illuminating tensions between tradition and post-war modernity.

From a camel market in Rajasthan to music hall dancers in Tokyo to an extraordinary meeting between the Dalai Lama, Zhou Enlai, Indira Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru, Riboud’s photographs capture moments of humanity, humor, and intimacy.

Also on display will be correspondence between Riboud and his mentor Henri Cartier-Bresson, press cards, contact sheets, maps, and personal items such as the photographer’s passport and camera.


Global debut of “See Mount Wutai Again,” a Buddhist Drama Directed by Wang Chaoge, Unlocks an All-new Era of Multistage Integrated Performance

OCTOBER 9, 2014 08:17 AM EDT

MOUNT WUTAI, China, Oct. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Jointly created by Mount Wutai Scenic Spot and Guanyinxiang Art Development Co., Ltd., and directed by renowned director Wang Chaoge, the large-scale drama See Mount Wutai Again made its global debut on Mount Wutai in Shanxi on September 19, 2014. An audience of more than 1,600 specially invited people including representatives from the Mount Wutai Buddhism Association, guests from all walks of life, and media watched the debut, and spoke highly of the performance. Meanwhile, masters from various temples on Mount Wutai held a grand blessing ceremony blessing with 1,000 participants.
In March 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about the history and significance of Chinese Buddhism development for the first time during his visit to the UNESCO headquarters. Xi connected Buddhist culture and construction of a socialist spiritual civilization, speaking highly of Buddhism. He said, “After a long period of evolution, Buddhism has seen integrated development with Chinese Confucian culture and Taoism culture, and finally formed Buddhist culture with Chinese characteristics, exerting profound influence on Chinese religious belief, philosophy, literature and art, etiquette and custom, among others.”

Mount Wutai is the most well-known Buddhist sanctuary among the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, and See Mount Wutai Again gives an in-depth interpretation of spiritual connotation of Buddhist culture in an innovative manner. The nearly 200 meters long stage with a strong Buddhist atmosphere, extraordinary thematic interpretation, and beautiful revolving space constitutes the visual highlight of the drama. In the drama, audience saw how Buddhism is connected with modern life and life stories of common people on Mount Wutai. The audience, along with the roles in the drama, experienced passage of time and Zen meditation of life, while experiencing the wisdom implicated from Mount Wutai from a special perspective. “In China, Buddhism is not just a faith; it is part of our culture, running in the blood of the Chinese people,” said director Wang. Whether you believe in Buddhism, there exist Buddhism-related behaviors in our life.” Continue reading

The Dreamcatchers: Archaeologists strike the spade to unravel Bhamala’s secrets

1) The site at Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex, a Buddhist stupa 25 kilometres from Taxila Museum in Khanpur. (2) An archaeologist at work. (3) Brushing the head of a statue clean. PHOTOS: HIDAYAT KHAN/EXPRESS

1) The site at Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex, a Buddhist stupa 25 kilometres from Taxila Museum in Khanpur. (2) An archaeologist at work. (3) Brushing the head of a statue clean. PHOTOS: HIDAYAT KHAN/EXPRESS

The Express Tribune
By Hidayat Khan / Photo: Hidayat Khan
Published: October 11, 2014

Archaeologists find it difficult to conduct fieldwork in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The stakes are high as law and order in the province remains volatile. However, archaeologists have proven these refrains to be more the static stereotypes than an actual obstacle. Recent fieldwork provides welcome proof of this fact.

The Archaeological Research and Conservation Program India and Pakistan (ARCPIP) has completed a two-year field study of the Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex, a Buddhist stupa 25 kilometres from Taxila Museum in Khanpur.

1) The site at Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex, a Buddhist stupa 25 kilometres from Taxila Museum in Khanpur. (2) An archaeologist at work. (3) Brushing the head of a statue clean. PHOTOS: HIDAYAT KHAN/EXPRESS

1) The site at Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex, a Buddhist stupa 25 kilometres from Taxila Museum in Khanpur. (2) An archaeologist at work. (3) Brushing the head of a statue clean. PHOTOS: HIDAYAT KHAN/EXPRESS

In these two years, the ARCPIP team excavated 5% of the site, altogether leaving 60% of it uncovered. Even though only 40% of the Bhamala site is exposed, as stated in a report by Dr Abdul Samad who participated in this study and is the director of archaeology in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, ARCPIP project’s findings will help with current limitations in the understanding of both archaeological and historical aspects of the site.

One of the ARCPIP study’s main aims, stated the report, was to find evidence for a range of periods to start to construct a chronology for the settlement and identify the “broad character of the Buddhist settlement in this remote valley.” And according to both the report and the director who spoke to The Express Tribune, the fieldwork has yielded in evidence to start constructing the said chronology. Continue reading