From Lord Buddha teaching the Lotus Sutra from the majestic Mt Gridhakuta to Lord Mahavira preaching his first and last Desna and attaining Nirvana, Nalanda has witnessed the great awakenings of the world. Sacred to the Hindus for the holy hot springs at Rajgir, to the Sikhs for the trail of Guru Nanak, and to the Sufis for uninterrupted silsilas of their saints such as Hazards Mukhdoom Yahya Maneri, Nalanda’s soul is its spiritual heritage. It is also home to the sprawling archaeological remains of the spectacular ancient monastic –university representing the age-old insatiable human hunger for knowledge and wisdom. History and natural beauty come together in the rich landscapes of Rajgir with the picturesque Ghora Katora Lake and Venu Vana, the royal gardens of king Bimbissara, leaving the visitor mesmerized.
With exquisite colour photographs melding into one another to create a rare visual continuity, this volume celebrates the history, culture, and spirituality –the rich cultural heritage of Nalanda.
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Nishant Tiwary has served as Superintendent of Police in Bettiah and Bagaha districts in the historical Champaran region. He has also served in the same capacity in Nalanda, Nawada, and Aurangabad districts, and as a Senior Superintendent of Police in Gaya district-all part of the ancient Magadha region. Recognized as the best probationer of the 2005 Batch of IPS officers, Nishant has been conferred various prestigious awards- Election Commission of India’s Zonal Award for Best Electoral Practices awarded by the President of India, Home Ministry’s Pistol, Prime Minister’s Baton, and President of Indian Cup. He is also a Recipient of the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Trophy, Compaq Cup, and various others national and international awards throughout his career, including, most recently, he BSRDC award from the Chief Minister of Bihar.
Nishant, who has earlier worked as a software engineer in India and abroad, is an avid photographer. It was this love for photography and for his natural surroundings that culminated in his first book, Celebrating Bihar: the Charm of Champaram published by Oxford University Press in 2012. Weaving together narrative with his photographs of the breathtaking natural beauty and the ancient heritage monuments, Nishant documented the art and culture of the Champaran region in the book.
Nishant interests other than photography include travelling and reading and he also enjoys a good conversation. He credits his well-knit family-his father Sriram Chandra Tiwary, mother Asha Tiwary, wife Ashwini, and sisters Kiriti, Meenakshi, Niharika, and Jigisha-for encouraging and supporting him to pursue his creative urges as an auther- photographer.
Nalanda, the land of historical significance, has contributed in the making of Bihar and its people in more ways than one. A unique confluence of all religions, its soil has been walked upon and blessed by greats, whose collective conscience continues to be our guiding light even today. Adorned with abundance of archaeological and historical heritage, Nalanda is a celebrated land. It is here that the archaeological remains of ancient Nalanda University, majestic stupas, viharas, cyclopean walls and ancient Telhara Monastery make history come alive.
The seat of powerful Magadha Empire has witnessed the great awakenings. It‘s here that the Lord Buddha taught the world, the pious Lotus Sutra from the majestic Mt.Gridhakuta spreading the message of peace. Mahakashyapa organized first ever Buddhist council during the times of king Ajatashatru at Saptaparni Caves. It’s here that the Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana on the sacred soil of Pawapuri. The presence of hot springs and the cool Guru Nanak Kund at Rajgir makes it a revered pilgrimage for both the Hindus and the Sikhs. It’s here that the uninterrupted silsilas of Sufi saints such as that of Hazrat Makhdum Yahya Maneri have kept the flame alive for centuries together making the land diving and blessed. It is here that Rajgir, endowed with natural bounty such as Lake Ghora Katora, serene green valleys and hot springs, makes for a perfect eco-tourism destination.
The book brings to the world through the medium of vivid and exquisite stills, the great heritage of Nalanda. The author Nishant Tiwary, through his text and photographs has highlighted the rate gems of our heritage the rich and diverse past of the land. I appreciate the effort which has gone behind in making of the book, which will surely help the academicians and general readers alike in knowing more about Nalanda .
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