Chatra, June 4: A big ancient temple or civilisation buried under the soil of the temple town Itkhori which is a confluence of three religions namely Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Professor of the Applied Geophysics Department of IIT ISM Dhanbad, Dr Sanjit Kumar Pal who is part of an expert team which has started a geophysical survey of this archaeological site confirmed it. Pal said they are using the ground penetrating radar and electro-magnetic waves to know the structures present under the soil here.
Talking to Lagatar24.com over phone from Dhanbad, Pal said to bring the archaeological importance of this place on the map of the country and the world, the Department of Science and Technology department of the Government of India has prepared a big geophysical survey of this archaeological site under the project. The responsibility of the survey has been entrusted to IIT ISM Dhanbad. After the survey, archaeological excavations will also be done in the surrounding areas of the temple complex as per the requirement.
Sources said keeping in view the archaeological importance of the historical Maa Bhadrakali temple complex of Itkhori, which dates back to the 9th century of the Pala dynasty, a proposal of a Geophysics Survey by IIT ISM Dhanbad has been submitted to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India last year. The Department of Science and Technology department gave its approval for the geophysical survey of the temple premises later.
Sources said even the Archaeological Survey of India has also done archaeological excavations in the historical Maa Bhadrakali temple complex in the years 2011-12 and 2012-13 in the temple premises. At that time, a large number of archaeological remains, ancient statues and artefacts were found on the temple premises which are currently kept safe in the Ranchi office of the Archaeological Department.
Pal said Lord Gautam Buddha has a deep connection with Itkhori. The relationship between the historical Mahane River with him has been even deeper. When Siddhartha reached Itkhori while wandering in search of peace, leaving the royalty, it was the Mahane River that showed Siddhartha the way to Bodh Gaya. We are researching the civilisation along this river, he added. Pal said they have visited Itkhori thrice so far after getting approval for this project last year. So far geophysical surveys revealed ancient and vast structures under the soil. It could be a big temple as people used to tell here or the remains of any ancient civilisation. But we can only give our report about it and final work will be done by the ASI through excavation to find whether it is a temple or remains of a civilisation underneath, he added. Our team comprises of Dr Anil Kumar, head of the department of ancient history culture and archaeology in Visva Bharti Santiniketan in Bengal, Dr Sahendra Singh, department of applied geology in IIT ISM Dhanbad and Anshu Mali, head of the department of environmental science IIT ISM Dhanbad. Pal said they will visit Itkhori again in June and July to move ahead with the survey work. Other than temple premises, we will do the survey in its surrounding areas as well, he said.
The record says that the name Itkhori was derived from the words Iti Khoi, which means “we lost him here” in Pali, an ancient language of the Indian subcontinent. The aunt (Mausi) of Gautama Buddha had come to Itkhori in search of him. But when she called Buddha by his name, who was sitting under a tree, he didn’t respond. She left the place by saying Iti Khoi. The place later became popular as Itkhori, which houses one of the most beautiful Buddha temples with several remains of the other two religions. It is said that even after staying in Bhaduli of Itkhori when Siddhartha could not find peace, he started wandering here and there. Then suddenly Siddhartha started walking in the north direction along the banks of the Mahane river. While walking, Siddhartha reached Bodh Gaya directly where he attained enlightenment and attained Buddhahood. He came here again later. Itkhori is also the birthplace of Jain Tirthankara Sheetlanath whose charan paduka was found here in 1983. Now a grand lotus temple of Sheetlanath is also under construction at this place.