Ancient World

The Teachings and Travels of Buddha

The Four Holy Places

The four holy places where Buddha had set foot draw thousands of followers each year – Lumbini, Bodh Gaya,Sarnath and Kusinagar.Buddhism as a religion started about 2,500 years ago and is followed by
millions of people around the world today. There is no God as such but Buddhists follow the teachings of Buddha with regard to Dharma. It is more spiritual than religious and Buddha preached enlightenment.

Birth – Lumbini
Buddha was not always the spiritual person that we know today. He was born in Lumbini to King Sudhodana and Queen Maya Devi into the warrior clan of kshatriyas. It is believed that he started
walking and talking as soon as he was born. Back then, Gautama Buddha was known as Siddhartha Gautama.

Lumbini continues to hold the Shakya Tank, the remains within the Maya Devi Temple and the Ashoka pillar. Remains of many viharas and stupas can be seen too.

As the story goes, the king decided to call a council of Brahmins to bless the child and tell his future. To his dismay,the Brahmins predicted that the boy would either become a great monarch or an ascetic. In order to protect his son from a life of spirituality and asceticism, Sudhodana went to great lengths to train him in warfare and not expose him to any kind of suffering.

Youth – Kapilavastu
However, at the age of 29, Siddhartha wished to go out and see the city of Kapilavastu, the capital of the Shakya Kingdom. There was much enthusiasm and the whole city was decorated.

kapilvaastu

Anything upsetting or anyone suffering was kept out of his way. But, on his ride, Siddhartha came across an old man, a diseased man and a decaying corpse.

This saddened him and he started thinking about life and death and suffering. He then came across a hermit who was sitting peacefully on the sidewalk.

Despite his unkempt look, he appeared satisfied with life. Siddhartha then felt the need to leave his family and his present life behind and to seek answers.To this day, remains of the eastern gate of the palace through which Siddhartha Gautama left the palace on his horse,Kanthak are visible in addition to many stupas.

LumbiniMayadevi

Enlightenment–Bodh Gaya

Buddha discovered the importance of moderation and how it is necessary to balance things in life. He realised that suffering and death are part of life and wished to find a solution for the same. He meditated under a Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya for 49 days and attained enlightenment at the age of 35. That is when Siddhartha became Buddha. He gained insight into the cause of suffering and how to eliminate it. The Bodhi Tree stands to this day in present-day Bihar.

Buddha’s Relics

Relics of Buddha are located in many different places. He had once given some of his hair to two merchant brothers – Taphussa and Bhallika. It is believed that his hair has been preserved in Shwe Dagon, a temple in Rangoon,Burma. Moreover, relics of his right tooth have been retained at Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka.

AshokaPillar
Bodhgaya

Buddha Teaches – Sarnath

He spent the next few years travelling and preaching what he had realised. He gave his first sermon in the current-day deer park of Sarnath, which is 13 km to the north-east of Varanasi. People started
following him and he formed a Sangha with his disciples. He roamed on foot mostly in the Gangetic plains around Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and southern Nepal.The deer park, the Dhameka Stupa and relics of Buddhist monasteries and stupas make it worth the visit.

Through all of these phases, his father tried to make contact with him and to call him home. When he finally did come, he gave a sermon on Dharma which made many members of the royal family join him. Two of his cousins and his seven-year old son Rahula also followed suit. His foster mom wished to
join him then but it was only much later that Buddha permitted women to join the Sangha with the understanding that men and women have the same capacity for attaining Nirvana. It was at Vaishali that he first ordained female nuns.

Angulimala

Not only was he known for his principles and teachings but also for his miracles. His story with the murderer, Angulimala who was known for killing people and chopping off their little fingers and hanging them around his neck is quite well known and is also narrated to children as a fable. When he
wanted to kill Buddha, Buddha with only his words convinced him to leave his life of murder and greed.Angulimala eventually became a monk and joined Buddha.

Dhamek_Stupa

Parinirvana – Kusinagar

Gautama Buddha passed away in Kusinagar at the age of 80 with the words– All composite things are perishable.Strive for your own liberation with diligence. Buddha’s parinirvana stupa and the parinirvana temple are the holy sites to visit in Kusinagar in addition to the remains of many other stupas.

Ancient Greece – Birthplace of Western civilisation

From architecture to philosophy and medicine, mathematics
and science to biology and psychology, ancient Greece has had a lasting impact on the modern world.

By Priya Narayan

GREEK civilisation led to the birth and more importantly, the development of
subsequent civilisations.

Acropolis--Attica_06-13_Athens_50_View_from_Philopappos_-_Acropolis_Hill

If you don’t remember studying Euclid and Pythagoras, Hippocrates and Alexander in school, you will at least be familiar with Zeus and other mythological characters. The civilisation was known for its rich culture and its contribution to the fields of art, literature, philosophy, mathematics and geometry to name a few.

Theatre_of_Dionysos

ARCHITECTURE
The architecture of ancient Greece became the foundation for architectural styles that developed later. The Doric, Ionic and Corinthian are the three orders or templates that lay down the rules regarding the design and construction of temples. They dealt with aspects of shape, proportions and details.

The numerous temples built by the Greeks were meant not only for housing the figure of the deity but were also precise in their structure and design. The architects used sophisticated geometry while constructing the columns around the temple so that they looked perfectly harmonious. They were often built with soft rocks, soil, charcoal or marble chips that enabled construction of large structures despite uneven terrains or rigorous weather.

Temples had bronze or painted sculptures, depicting stories of Greek mythology or the city’s history. Sometimes, an Acropolis or ‘high city’ with multiple temples was built in a single area such as the one found on the hilltop overlooking Athens. The Parthenon and Propylaea are famous temples from some acropolises.

The stoa, a structure common to both temple complexes and marketplaces (agora) refers to a long, narrow row of columns that created a kind of enclosure to the main structure. Such structures were also used for storage or as meeting places. Stoas are a common feature of ancient Greek architecture and the frequency with which one can find them shows the need to maintain uniformity in structures within the cities.

THEATRE
Theatre contributed greatly to ancient Greek culture. The Greeks often built semi-circular theatres on hillsides where the slopes enabled a better seating design for people to view the stage at the centre. The entrances on either side of the stage had grand arches with a screen behind the main stage. Some theatres could seat as many as 20,000 people and had remarkable acoustics. Theatres were meant not only for plays but also for poetry recitals and music competitions. Dionysus Eleutherius is one such famous theatre from Athens.

Houses in ancient Greece were either constructed with mud, brick or stone and were generally single or double-storeyed. Greek towns, however, lacked planning and the structures and paths were quite chaotic. There were other large fountain houses for collecting water; assembly halls for important town meetings; stadiums for foot-races and other competitions; gymnasiums which had wrestling grounds and running tracks.

Houses in ancient Greece were either constructed with mud, brick or stone and were generally single or double-storeyed. Greek towns, however, lacked planning and the structures and paths were quite chaotic. There were other large fountain houses for collecting water; assembly halls for important town meetings; stadiums for foot-races and other competitions; gymnasiums which had wrestling grounds and running tracks.

Apart from architecture, philosophy became an important field with Plato, Socrates and Aristotle’s theories that majorly dealt with the ideas of reason, life and existence. Greek literature similarly consisted of numerous canons. Homer’s epics like Iliad and Odyssey are examples of the same. Pythagoras, Euclid and Archimedes’ discoveries are known application-based theories in the fields of mathematics and science. Astronomy also developed during this period. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is studied even today in the fields of biology and psychology.

As Plato once said: “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Much of Greek architecture was adopted by the Romans who succeeded them. With their depth in mythology, their strong culture and sense of religion, their ideas of education and mathematics, their magnificent structures, their popularity in theatre, art and music, ancient Greece was nothing short of a mini-perfect world.

Alexander
Parthenon

Greek mythology
Greek mythology is a large set of stories that attempt to explain the beginning of existence and the life events of Gods and Goddesses. These myths talk of how chaos existed before life originated, they talk of Zeus as the leader of all other Gods and Goddesses and how he created humans and many such stories. Greek mythology now finds itself in book series like Percy Jackson, in video games like Wrath of the Gods and in films like Battlestar Galactica.

Propylaea,_Acropolis_of_Athens,_Greece_(3472419467)

Alexander the Great
Aristotle’s disciple, Alexander was an ambitious ruler who wanted to take over the world. He never lost a battle and his armies brought him right up to India where he defeated King Porus. However, his army realised the strength of Indian rulers and were tired from all the fighting. Alexander finally decided to go back home.

The Mayan Civilisation

With temple-pyramids that were perfectly aligned with the sun and the stars, observatories, astronomy, mathematics and a calendar system, thrived the ancient Mayan civilization for over 3000 years.

By Priya Narayan

In Central America’s southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras and El Salvador rest the remains of an ancient civilization which had raised moments of doomsday anxiety in the modern world with a calendar that ended on 21st December 2012.

THE MAYAN CIVILIZATION
It emerged in 2600 BC, evolving into many independent states before declining around 900 AD. The perfect geometrical temples, palaces and observatories that the Mayans left behind are all the more impressive for having been built without metal tools and implements.

Known for their art, mathematics, astronomy and complex religious beliefs, the Mayans were one of the ancient civilizations with a deciphered hieroglyphic script, giving us a glimpse into their life and beliefs. They were skilled farmers who had cleared vast tracts of the tropical forest, built underground reservoirs to store rainwater, and were skilled weavers and potters with extensive trade networks.

CITIES AND ARCHITECTURE
The Mayan cities were densely populated and were generally the administrative and religious capitals. Unlike the neat perpendicular grids

of other ancient civilizations, these cities were unplanned with temples and palaces being torn down and rebuilt over time. This left the Mayans with city boundaries that were not well-defined, although a few had moats or defensive earthworks around them. City walls were rare, and the few that were found, dated to the collapse of the civilization, pointing towards cities under siege at this stage.

Tikal in Guatemala is home to many of the magnificent structures, including the Temple of the Giant Jaguar, Temple of the Masks, the North Acropolis, among others.

Tikal
Temple-of-Inscriptions,-Palenque

The towering temple pyramids were built from hand cut limestone blocks, often with paintings on them and images carved. Some housed tombs of high priests with personal items buried with them.

While temples were the imposing structures, palaces made up the bulk of Mayan construction. Single-storeyed in general and built on platforms lower than those of temples, palaces had multiple rooms and one or more courtyards. Yet, the narrow and spartan rooms raise doubts which do not have answers – did the rulers and the elite actually live in them? Or as a few other archeologists conjecture, did priests, nuns or religious figures occupy them?

Reservoirs, steam baths and ball courts were common too. The cities often had pillars or stelae, built sometimes on platforms, and facing important

Mayan-Civilization
Wooden-Artifact

temples and palaces, usually with an altar in front. Religion was central to the Mayans who worshipped hundreds of Gods and compounds were built for citizens to view the frequent religious ceremonies performed on platforms above the cities.

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Astronomy

People continue to gather each year at the temple pyramid, El Castillo in Chichen Itza, the principle Mayan city in the Yucatan peninsula during the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes. The Sun gradually illuminates the stairs of the pyramid and the serpent head at the base, creating the image of a snake slithering down the sacred mountain.

This is just one example of the Mayans aligning their ceremonial buildings with precision with the Sun and the stars and they did this to venerate the Gods. Visit the Tomb of Pacal, the Mayan Emperor, in the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque and you’ll find that it’s aligned with the Sun. At winter solstice, the Sun enters a temple doorway as it crosses the sky, falls on the back wall, and when the Sun sets, it is in line with the centre of the temple roof, seeming to descend the temple stairway into the tomb, thus equating Pacal’s death and entry into the underworld with that of the Sun.

Art

Mayan art is known for its intricate designs and paintings, decorations on ceramics, flint, bone and shell, in addition to decorated cotton textiles. What little metal they used was for ceremonial purposes and in necklaces, bracelets and headdresses. Carvings in wood, stone and clay were found in Mayan sites, so were terracotta figurines.

Much of the art, inscriptions and architecture were commissioned by kings to be remembered over the centuries. Copan’s hieroglyphic stairway with statues, figures, ramps and the central stairway depicts the history of the royal descent.

The Fall

Out of the many theories that try to solve the mystery of the Mayan decline, the more popular ones refer to drought and climate change. Sediment samples from Belize’s Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole, showed fewer tropical cyclones and longer droughts during the period of the Mayan decline. This in turn could have led to famine and war and the eventual disintegration of a once great civilization.

Doomsday Prophecy

21st December 2012 has come and gone, and the earth lives on. When the date was still some months away, doomsday theories ran rife based on the fact that the ancient Mayan calendar ended on that day. The Mayans with their advanced astronomy, mathematics and calendar, it was argued, had foreseen the world’s end.

Saner voices said that it simply was the end of the 13th Bak’tun, an approximately 400-year period in the Mayan long count calendar and with the end of the day, the new cycle begins.

Indus Valley Civilisation

Indus Valley’s relics tell us the story of this ancient civilisation, its yet-to-be deciphered script leaving us with only theories about why this well-planned, peaceful civilisation disappeared.

By Priya Narayan

Indus Valley or the Harappan Civilisation was one of the first civilisations and continues to be one of the most intriguing ones. Not only was it spread across a vast area covering many present day countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, India – it was also ahead of its time in its technology. One’s interest is piqued when one sees the undeciphered script; the craftsmanship of jewellery, pottery, sculptures, figurines, seals; their practical knowledge of mathematics and early dentistry.

AGRICULTURE & TRADE
Flourishing almost 5,000 years ago along the Indus river, the civilisation’s most famous sites are Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Archaeological evidence of terracotta toys, pots, vessels and urns show that the civilisation thrived on trade and agriculture. The presence of Indus seals in Mesopotamia goes to prove the trading history of the civilisation. The granaries – massive structures constructed with air ducts and platforms, allowing safe storage of large quantities of grains – point towards its reliance on agriculture.

Lothal-(Priya)

TECHNOLOGY
Part of the Bronze Age, the inhabitants knew metallurgy – they had used copper, bronze, lead and tin. Mud bricks or baked bricks, uniform in dimension were used in construction. It is believed that wood was used in structures like the warehouse, although there is no concrete evidence, since wood does not last as stone does across millennia.

Sites in Gujarat

Dholavira, Lothal and Surkatada stand as the civilisation’s reminders in Gujarat. Evidence suggests that Harappans probably moved here when the civilisation was on decline.

Dholavira, one of the largest Indus Valley sites in India, lies in the Rann of Kutch. It is known for its large stadium and its unique underground reservoir which may have been used for rainwater harvesting.

Lothal, translating to ‘Place of the Dead’, is a couple of hours drive from Ahmedabad. It is famous for its shipping dock for trade and the warehouse for storage of trading goods.

Surkatada, known for its painted pottery, is located near Bhuj. It is characterised by the burial of utensils with the dead which was common during the mummification of pharaohs in Egypt.

Lothal-(Priya)-1
A_drain_at_Lothal
Why did the Indus Valley Civilisation disappear?

Lack of evidence of weaponry of any kind indicates a peaceful lifestyle with little conflict. Many theories exist for the decline and disappearance of the Indus Valley civilisation. Some point towards disease, others towards shifting of the river Indus, yet others point towards a natural decline. Perhaps, the most interesting theory is that of Aryan invasions aided by natural decline, leading to the end of the civilisation.

City Planning

THE CITADEL
The Citadel, prominent in Mohenjodaro is one of the largest and most important structures in the Indus Valley civilisation. Rising above other structures of the city, often as high as 12 metres, they were constructed on mounds of bricks. The Citadel is believed to have been used for administrative or religious purposes. It is also possible that the ruling class lived in this area. While the Citadel was considered the higher and the upper portion of the city, walled outside this structure was the lower portion which consisted of houses, larger buildings and public baths.

DRAINAGE SYSTEM
The town was so well-planned that broad streets intersected at right angles along which houses were built. These lanes were lined with drains which led sewage out of the city. It is believed that the lanes and drainage system were constructed ahead of the houses. Water and drainage from the houses, kitchens, roofs and latrines was collected in separate pits which were regularly cleaned.

HOUSES
Houses differed by social class. The rich had baked brick houses with large courtyards that led to multiple rooms. These houses were constructed on plinths and must have stood slightly above street level as stairs were used at the entrance, opening into lanes rather than onto the main street. The entrance generally led to the courtyard of the house which often had a private well that could be accessed by outsiders though a separate opening. Toilets within the building were directly connected to the drains outside. Often, these structures were two-storeyed with open roofs and spaces for windows.

THE GREAT BATH
One of the first of its kind, The Great Bath was a large 12m x 7m brick water tank made water-tight using gypsum and bitumen (natural tar) with a ledge around it. Stairs descended into the pool from the north and south ends. Two large doors served as the main entrance in the south and rooms were lined parallel to each other on the eastern side. A drain pipe collected water from the main bath with smaller pipes connected to the rooms on the east. These pipes led to the main drainage lines on the streets. The baths may have been used not just as public baths but also for religious rituals or by the clergy.

Mohenjo-daro_Priest-King
Dancing_girl

ASSEMBLY HALL
The Assembly Hall was another large building made of kiln-baked bricks with multiple pillars within the structure. It was probably used as the ruler’s court and as the municipal office in charge of town planning and sanitation.
The Indus Valley sites also had interesting structures like public toilets, water tanks, step wells and dockyards. Despite the presence of these well-planned structures, no major architectural work was found that could represent power and wealth. Cities were organised for comfort and convenience, not something one can find easily even today.

As much of this civilisation remains a mystery, the sites continue to fascinate archaeologists, tourists and students from around the world.

When in Rome…

From amphitheatres to basilicas, from aqueducts to baths, Roman architecture survives to this day, if not in the structures themselves, then in modern construction, through its principles of firmness, function and beauty.

By Priya Narayan

ROMAN architecture surpasses most architectural styles in terms of utility and beauty, and even today the monuments attract over 10 million tourists annually. The principles for this were laid down thousands of years ago by Vitruvius who is also known as the father of architectural acoustics.

He brought about 3 major concepts:

1. Firmitas (firmness) – well-constructed buildings having structure
2. Utilitas (commodity) – creating designs which serve a function
3. Venustas (beauty) – order and arrangement of the structure and its components

Rome has now become a travel destination for most people and is the third most visited city in the European Union. These structures have not only stood the test of time but have also greatly influenced Western architecture. Ask anyone about Rome and they could talk about the Colosseum, the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountains without having even visited the place.

In addition to these monuments, there are thousands of aqueducts, theatres, amphitheatres, basilicas, and baths in and around Rome that not only add to the grandeur of the city but have also come to define it over the years.

TheColosseum

Concrete played an important role in building these structures as opposed to fired clay bricks and marble that was previously used in construction. This was because concrete was a strong material that could hold a lot of weight, enabling larger structures and more flexible architectural designs. Moreover, this material was cheap and durable.

AQUEDUCTS

An aqueduct is a kind of bridge that enables passage of water over ravines or valleys. They are characterised by huge arches that go up to three tiers at times and add to the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of Rome. Their main purpose was to provide water to the urban centres in ancient Rome. Pont du Gard near Nimes is one of the famous aqueducts to have survived. These highly impressive structures serve as a perfect example of Vitruvius’ principles that combine utility and beauty.

Basilique_Saint-Pierre

TEMPLES OF ROME

There are also numerous Roman temples that held significant religious value in Ancient Rome. Enormous columns structured around a single rectangular structure in the centre forms a Roman temple. The interior consists of a large hall that holds the image of the deity. There were religious ceremonies that were held outside the main building and were open to public. The image of the deity would then be brought from inside and an animal would be sacrificed at an open air altar. Maison Carree in Nimes is a famous temple that has survived over the centuries.

ThePantheon

THE BATHS

Roman baths were scenic with their elegant arches and brilliantly crafted domes and vaults. Public baths were huge complexes that included pools, fountains, libraries and heating facilities. In addition to this, impressive columns and statues made of marble and intricate mosaic designs gave this structure a palatial feel. Such a bath would surely be welcome after a stressful day at work. The Caracalla is one of the best examples of such a bath.

BASILICAS

The basilicas were originally public court buildings located adjacent to the Roman market place. They were used for transactions of building or legal matters. Over time, they became associated with Christian buildings and came to be regarded as important churches with ceremonial rights given by the pope. These buildings were usually named after the person who funded the construction of the basilica.

A vast circular dome on top of a square formed out of four arches was the basic architectural formation of a basilica. They are known for their magnificent dome-shaped roofs that are supported by long pillars and comprise large halls and high arches in addition to their elegant structures and intricate details.

The clerestories denoted an upper level of a Roman basilica or of the nave of a Romanesque or Gothic church, the walls of which rise above the roof lines of the lower aisles and are pierced with windows, which allowed light from above to illuminate the nave.

One of the most visited basilicas in Rome is St Peter’s Basilica, which serves as the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Two of Constantine’s churches in Rome, the basilicas of St Peter’s and that of St Paul’s have new architectural features.

THEATRES AND AMPHITHEATERS

The Romans were known for their grandeur and this is best depicted in their theatres – a semi-circular structure with a roofed stage in the centre, which often had columns for support and multiple stories, decorated with exquisite sculptures of gods, deities or heroes. The stage faced a massive seating arrangement which was in the form of a slope with steps for sitting. Very few Roman theatres have survived owing to the fact that most theatres were built out of wood initially and were destroyed once the festival for which they were erected ended.

The amphitheatre, however, is a spectacle with its oval or circular-shaped open roof structure with a seating structure similar to that of the Roman theatre. Amphitheatres were famously used for gladiatorial combats that were held during the death of an eminent personality or during state-sponsored festivals. Amphitheaters and the combats represented the power and authority of the rulers and emperors.

The most famous amphitheatre that has been depicted hundreds of times in present day media and art forms is the Colosseum. One can picture the Colosseum with hundreds of thousands of Romans sitting there cheering the gladiators while the emperor sits in an exclusive section of the theatre with his family.

ROMAN HOUSES

Lastly, the residential houses had well-decorated interiors. Private residences often had an atrium, gardens and fountains, which displayed their wealth and power while the less well-off citizens lived in large apartment blocks, called Insula, often with shops lined on the ground floor of such buildings.

The magnificence and grandeur of Ancient Roman architecture lay not only in the major structures or the materials or the intricate designs, but also in the culmination of all these aspects. Symmetry was of utmost importance in these structures and is evident if one takes a stroll around Rome.

Each building is not only beautiful and elegant but also serves a distinct function. Vitruvius’ principles echo in Roman architecture and the constructions stand as a symbol of power, beauty and a rich historical culture.

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Jesus Christ in India

Did Jesus spend 16 years of his youth in India? Did he survive crucifixion to live the rest of his life here?

Main stream scholars do not agree that Jesus spent time in india – neither during his early years, nor after crucifixion. Yet, many believe that he did. nicolas notovitch, a Russian war correspondent, claimed in The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ that he found records in a Tibetan monastery that issa, as Jesus was called, had been in india.

“The name issa is very much respected among the Buddhists,” he quotes the chief lama of the Himis monastery.

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The Lost Years

Jesus’ familiarity with india goes back to the time when he was a baby. When King Herod ordered every child under the age of two years to be killed, Joseph escaped to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. it was here, says Holger Kersten in Jesus Lived in India, that Jesus could have come in touch with the Buddhists who had their viharas in alexandria.

aras in alexandria. When Jesus was 13 years old, he was to be married off as was the custom. This wasn’t part of Jesus’ plans. Travelling with a caravan of merchants, he left Jerusalem towards Sindh. He travelled through Rajputana to the holy cities of Jagannath and Benaras where he learnt the vedic scriptures from the priests.

Living with people of all castes, he taught them the holy scriptures and said, “God has made no difference between his children, who are all alike dear to him.”

This wasn’t acceptable to the upper castes. When they planned to kill him, issa is warned and he left during the night, going north to the Himalayas and settled in Gautamides, where Gautama came to the world, according to notovitch. Here, he learnt Pali and studied the sacred scrolls of the Buddhist Sutras for six years. Leaving india when he was 26, he reached israel when he was 29.

Swoon Hypothesis

Many hold the theory that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross, but that he simply swooned, feigning death and escaped later. according to a second theory, his disciples, hearing him groan in the tomb, rescued him. Yet another theory says that Jesus fell into a temporary coma and revived without help in the tomb, which his disciples believed was the resurrection.

Whichever theory we choose to believe, the question arises, where did Jesus Christ go after his revival?

it is believed that Christ travelled to Turkey, Persia, Western Europe and possibly to England too, before he arrived near Kashmir with his mother Mary, according to Kersten. Here, he was known alternately as Yuz asaf and as issa.

Locations like the meadow, Yuz Marg (Meadow of Yuz asaf), 40 kilometres south of Srinagar, between the villages of naugam and nilmge indicate his presence.

The sacred building aish Mugam lies 60 kilometres south-east of Srinagar and 12 kms from Brij Bahara. aish is derived from issa and Mugam is a place of rest. Within the aish Mugam is the sacred relic – the Moses Rod or the Jesus Rod. according to legend, it belongs to Moses himself. Christ is said to have held it.

near the small town of Mari (Murree), now in Pakistan, is an old tomb called Mai Mari da Asthan (Final resting place of Mary) and is venerated as that of issa’s mother.

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Throne of Solomon

The Takhat-i-Suleiman or, the Throne of Solomon is a temple atop what is now, the Shankaracharya Hill near Dal Lake in Srinagar. King Gopadatta had it restored about the same time of Christ’s arrival.

The Persian architect who restored the temple left behind four inscriptions on the monument which read, “The mason of this pillar is the suppliant Bahishti Zargar, year fifty and four. Khwahaja, son of Murjan, erected this pillar. At this time, Yuz Asaf proclaimed his prophet hood, year fifty and four. He is Jesus, Prophet of the Children of Israel.”

The year fifty and four is believed to correspond to 78 AD.

Source: Jesus Lived in India, by Holger Kersten

King Shalivahana and Issa

King Shalivahana of the Sakyas was in the Himalayas when he saw a man of fair skin, dressed in white, sitting on a rock. The King asked him who he was.

“I am called a Son of God, born of a virgin,” the man replied. “I am the promoter of the religion of Mlecchas* and hold fast to the principles of absolute truth. When the principles of virtue were downgraded and the Mlecchas were becoming barbarians, I took upon myself the responsibility of turning to be a masiha and assumed prophet hood.”

“What are the principles?” asked the king

“O king, Beings are subject to good and bad feelings. Hence, the body and the heart must be purified; then the deity whom you have in mind be meditated upon. Truth has to be uttered and practised, justice needs to be observed, the mind needs to be trained to concentrate and targeted on the Eternal Soul. And the blissful image of Isa, the giver of happiness, will remain forever in the heart. And I was called Isa Masih.”

This was a reference to Isa and King Shalivahana (ruled between 78-102 CE) in the Bhavishya Purana which is said to be written by Rishi Vyasa.

* Mleccha means non-vedic or non-aryan.

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Rozabal – Tomb of Christ

in Srinagar’s old town is a building called Rozabal, an abbreviation of Rauza Bal (Tomb of a Prophet). The inscription at the entrance explains that Yuz asaf is buried here along with another Muslim saint. although the gravestones are oriented in the north-south direction followed by Muslims, a small opening in the burial chamber reveals that the sarcophagus of Yuz asaf rests in the Jewish East-West direction.

Yuz asaf’s carved footprints show what look like scars, their position consistent with the left foot being nailed over the right as was done during Christ’s crucifixion. ancient records acknowledge the tomb is as old as 112 aD.

according to Kersten, Christ may have travelled to the South of india too, returning to Kashmir to die at around 80 years of age.