Journey to Barabar caves and Its most interesting part first:
Inside the caves:
Let me ask you something. What is the smoothest surface have you ever touched? If its a Chinese clay pot or some Belgium glass that you are going to say then, you should reconsider your thought.
Before entering the cave, I had an impression that caves are rough-cut inside with some pictures sculptured over their walls dating back to pre-historic times but, I was wrong.
Wrapped under a black sheet of her shadow when I stepped inside, chill of cold cave were getting bundled inside my spine and was running down to legs and hopping back to lumps of nerves inside my brain.
Trying to watch steps like a blind woman, when I touched the walls, I was amazed for first few moments, It was tough to believe I was propelled to touch it again and again.
To add more excitement to it, these caves are known to retain the voice and echo them. There was a halo of fading light at cave entrance. My eyes were open wide still, I could only see dark. One of the hands touching the smoothest walls with each steps echoing loud. Echoes began traveling beneath my feet and gradually galloping ahead and getting lost somewhere inside the darker side of the cave.
Giving me an idea of how long the cave could have been. With more sensitive feet, I walked again. Ears were high on alert since eyes could not be relied upon. I was trying to listen to echo of my own foot-steps and measure the probable length the cave.
I was struck in resound of the sound coming from a pool of echos.
It happens for a first few times. And, I, belonging to the race of the most adaptable organisms- The Homo-Sapiens, adapted to this situation quickly and the ephemeral era of terror ended. And, I started enjoying it like a kid. Senses were making more sense now.
-The caves are cool. Some are long. Some are short. A few of them even have subsequent entrances too.
– They are polished (I wonder How much it took mechanical workers to give it better than glass finish).
-They are echoing and dark. And, these all in confluence add more excitement for the first-timers.
After the short temptation and excitement period inside caves, when I stepped outside, the world was again so beautiful, colorful with a lot of light. My Black and white life turned colorful very shortly.
Distance chart: 24 kms from Gaya. Gaya->Belaganj-> Cross Belagnaj town-> move on for 1-2 kms after you cross the town->turn right towards Belagunj railway station. Ask someone there and keep on following the road.
So, How I reached there?
Like some cowboy’s old country with Santa Monica palm trees all around, we were heading towards Barabar caves and hills. Crossing dry Niranjana river and whirling along its bank, we were on a dusty village road and a ramp of dust was running behind us. Barren lands, trees standing distant, foggy morning, thorny shrubs and dry twigs fallen on the ground, people sitting around fire and innocent buffaloes looked at us as we passed by.
Crossing the river
The country side India took us years ago and we were then going to Barabar hills almost thousand of years ago.
The Barabar hills and caves are situated about 50 Kilometers north-west from Gaya and have four rock-cut caves. Since those four caves have seven chambers in total, they are also called as “Satgharva”(Seven Homes) by local people.
History of Barabar caves (A PRESENT FROM ASOKA TO ALL THE RELIGIONS):
Emperor Asoka- the great was although a firm believer of the Buddhism nonetheless, he also gave a lot of respect to other religions existing at that time and Barabar caves are live examples of it.
The caves were most probably made by Asoka. A place where hermit and solitary could meditate and attain divine knowledge beyond life while in the vicinity of forests and Niranjana aka Falgu river near by. It was likely intended to establish a communication channel among monks representing different religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Ajivikas etc to reach to a common philosophy of Humanism and thereby find a common path which leads to divinity.
It was surprising to see Egyptian architecture at entrance of the caves. Since not much of the palaces or monasteries built by Asoka exist hence there is no way to confirm the architecture that were used by Asoka then.
Although there has not been any kind of extensive survey at Barabar caves and it is believed that still many of the encryptions written there are beyond archeologists knowledge.
Other attractions around:
Banganga: A cold and sweet water stream which flows through out the year.
It makes a good picnic spot on new year
Baba siddheshwar Nath temple: Situated at the top of the hill (almost 300 steps), this temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. People often go on Monday for worship.
So, if you are a great admirer of history, prehistoric and era of our Gods then, you should visit this place. Reason being, at each step, you will find stories having analogy with historic, prehistoric and mythology related to the God. Three stories from three different times about a single place is a nice idea.