Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A FORGOTTEN ADVENTURER AND RELIC OF HIS INSTITUTE


BHOTBAGAN, GHUSHURI,  HOWRAH, WEST BENGAL

If anybody gets down at Auto Rickshaw Stand in Ghushuri Bazar (Market Place), Howrah, enquire the local about Gosain Ghat Math, people will guide him like this. - go through the road at the back of the Auto Stand a litte futher, take a right turn in a narrow alley “Bhotbagan Lane”, another left turn and almost immediately one sharp right turn in a narrow pathway up to the bank of Ganga–the destination what you are asking.


The aura of the area is the old industrial labour colony of yester-years. Now, it transformed in to lower middle class dwelling, surrounded by walls of small manufacturing units or mammoth defunct factory shades. The prevailing language is a mixture of Bengali & Hindi. Amidst this, the usual real- estate construction drive of modern West Bengal has spared a chunk of land near the river –bank which is the make-shift playground for the  local boys. The land has one boundary wall and a big iron gate. On this wall you have the following bengali inscription in a marble plaque.


  MARBLE PLAQUE ON THE OUTER BOUNDARY OF BHOTBAGAN MATH

The English translation of this Inscription is-
BHOT BAGAN MOTH
5, GosainGhat Road, Ghushuri
Howrah-711107
Math Construction Period Bengali 1189 San
Consecratedthe metallic
PrajnaParamitaLakhsmi brought
By Bholagiri from Lhasa, Tibet
English- 15th November 1825
Opening Time of Temple
Morning 8 AM TO 12 Noon
Afternoon 4 PM to Evening 7.30 PM
Telephone- 2655-5795

One peep from this gated entrance reveals a remarkable relic of two storied mansion, on its one side two old impressive Bengali Atchala Temples, on the other-sidefour temples[one of which is not Bengali Atchala], beyond this cluster, there  are two more inaccessible Bengali Atchala temples. In an angle to this main entrance another locked premises is the current temple enclave which also has one illegible marble plaque.


  THE RELIC OF AN IMPRESSIVE TWO STORIED MANSION OF BHOTBAGAN MATH

The local Tiwari Family keeps the key to this main temple enclave, inside it, is a rectangular court yard, surrounded by the old double story building on one side, a newly constructed room on the other side, a small well preserved Temple in the front long with a garden in the middle of the courtyard.

In this garden a board of the West Bengal Heritage Commission educates the visitor about the importance of the structures. Within the enclave another plaque suggesting a trustee board under Court Supervision is active for the administration of this Math.

Regular Puja is offered by the Hindu priest appointed by the trustee board. The temple used to get open daily during puja hours. The main temple having three separate doors side by side, the left hand corner chamber has a metallic Shiva Linga, one old oil painting & a marble plaque in Bengali inscription (Snap-11); numerous Deities placed in the middle chambers are inside a locked cage for further protection.

The marble plaque in the left hand chamber of Main Temple showing some date of 1953 (30 Se Chaitra, 1360 San), on which, a proclamation was made that religious activity of Bhotbagan Math was now revived & the previous misdeeds of Mohanto became a part of History.


TWO OLD BENGALI ATCHALA SHIVA TEMPLES IN BHOTBAGAN ENCLAVE

The oldness of the entire surroundings sums up- once upon a time this place might have eminence& certain linkage with Tibet, almost sixty five years back the institute was subjected to some controversy. To some devoted persons of Kolkata the place was having emotional linkage, for which they have taken up restoration work of Main Temple as late as 17th December 2005 in loving memory of their departed parents. 

This relic of the institute was established as a Tibetan Temple & Garden (Bhot -Tibet, Bagan –a garden) in the seventies of eighteenth century as a token to emerging Tibet and British Bengal’s economic relationship & Buddhist Hindu religious synergy.

Our study pictured the following social condition of Bengal & Tibet in the second half of eighteenth century.

The British East India Company, after the Battle of Palashi (1757) became the king-pin of Bengal Sultanate. Entire military administration of Bengal was under British hand. Steadily this military supremacy became unparalleled in South & North of India. Company now staged the selection of Nawab of Bengal. Moghul Emperor was forced to appoint Company as revenue collector of Sube Bangla (Bengal, Bihar & Orrisa combined) after defeat in Battle of Buxar in 1763. The survival of Bengal Nawab now depended on Company provided allowances.



This made every employee of the Company a private businessman, ready to make huge fortune by any means within least possible time. This unethical approach systematically annihilated the world-famous Bengal cottage industry. In line with the demand of European industrial revolution Company continued collecting Raw Material from Bengal without any investment. Monopolistic marketing of inferior quality European goods in Bengal became the set agenda of East India Company. This Overall chaotic environment, far from the traditional business pursuit of a mercantile agency, resulted in to the negative surge in Company’s balance sheet. To counterbalance, the residential Company management involved in numerous paid military campaigns across India. On the other-hand drive for collection of maximum revenue through selected Indians & dual Government-ship of Bengal abolished the old Mughal land-holding patterns. The in-built social security provided for the common people also went in to trash with abolition of that old system. As a result, in 1770, almost one third of the Bengal inhabitants failed victim to one of the worst famines of modern history. During this century, as a new culture, a few Dashnami Shaiva Hindu Maths got establish in Bengal  by the patronage of elite class of non-Bengalis (immigrants from Northern &Western parts of India, fortune-seekers during disorder of Bengal politics). In the last three decades of eighteenth century, the sporadic Sanyasi Revolutions in certain parts of Bengal (Central & North) posed an uphill law & order challenge for British Bengal administration. In British capital, London, this mismanagement of Indian affairs & accumulation of immense personal wealth of Company professional became the talk of the town. British Parliament introduced partial control over its Indian territory by declaring Regulating act of 1773, a baby step towards governance & judiciary control of India under British Crown. By this charter -Warren Hastings became the First Governor General of British India, -our first character for the saga of Bhotbagan Math.


 A CLUSTER OF FOUR OLD TEMPLES IN BHOTBAGAN MATH OUT OF THESE THREE- BENGALI ATCHALA, THE FURTHER RIGHT ONE A CONICAL STRUCTURE

Tibet (capital- Lhasa), on the other side of the Himalayan range, with an average elevation of 16,000 feet from mean sea level was the highest region on Earth,. In eighteenth century, its access through land was always an utmost challenge to the bravest adventurist. To Europeans this was a land of mystery, black magic & immense reserve of gold. It was the land of Tibetan Buddhism, which was an evaluation of North Indian Mahayan Buddhism through the stages of Dhyan, Mantra, Tantra, Bajra, Mahakal-chakra, Idolatry worship & ultimately Avatar-bad of Lamaism. In this Avatar-bad, the belief was, for the well-being of society & its people, God was incarnated again & again through the mortal institutional chief of certain Buddhist monastery. From 1642 until the 1950s (except for 1705 to 1750), the Dalai Lamas(City– Lhasa, Seat-Potala Palace)  or their regent headed the Tibetan government in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan plateau with varying degrees of autonomy, up to complete sovereignty, remarkably without any Tibetan army! This government also enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol Kings (1642–1720) and then of the Chinese Emperors (1720–1912). In this system Panchen Lama(City- Shigatse / Seat-TashiL hunpo) was authorized to find the incarnation linage of Dalai Lama & acted as spiritual guide to young Dalai Lama. For this, like Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama was also one sacred authority of Tibetan Monastic government, well accepted in the entire Buddhist circuit of Kashmir, Ladakh, Mongolia, China, Nepal, Sikkim, & Bhutan. From ancient past, Tibet was in trade relationship with Northern India through the mountain passes of Nepal. The Tibetan exports were gold dust, borax, musk, wool, salt and sheep (meat); imports were textile, tobacco & grains.  In 1769, Gurkhas invaded Nepal, the age old passes were blocked, the commerce between Tibet & India almost seized. For Tibetan livelihood, alternative trade route with Bengal through Bhutan was the only lifeline. Sixth Panchen Lama of Tibet had rightly accessed this situation in 1773- another character in the fascinating tale of Bhotbagan Math.



 TWO INACCESSIBLE BENGALI ATCHALA TEMPLES IN BHOTBAGAN COMPLEX

Hindu Shaiva Dashnami sanyasis had a rich heritage of studying Vedanta &highest degree of Shaiva philosophy. They were ten main disciple linages offour central Shaiva Hindu Math of India - Rameshwaram, Puri, Badrinath & Dwarka. These maths were established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya (greatest thinker & writer of Hindu philosophy) in ninth century. After centuries, these Maths& their affiliated bodies became very influential, rich & highly connected within Indian society. Manas Sarovar in Tibet was one of their most sacred pilgrimages. The Shaiva Tantricism was not an unknown doctrine to many of the Dashnamis. Many aspects of this philosophy were close to the Tantric Buddhism practiced in Tibet. For this, Tibetan Monastic government allowed Dashnami pilgrimages inside Tibet from ages. During eighteenth century, some of these Dashnamis became globetrotter of their era. Among these, a few selected, were gifted with tremendous sense of business acumen ship & maintained communication channel with Tibetan Monastery & traders. One of this Dasnami Sanyassis of second half of eighteenth century, PuranGiri, would be referred time & again in the story of Bhotbagan Math.



 AN ILLEGIBLE MARBLE PLAQUE ON THE ENTRANCE OF MAIN TEMPLE YARD AT BHOTBAGAN DATED 17/12/2005

East India Company’s business with China during the same period (1757 onwards) was performed under severe restrictions. Europeans sea-traders were only allowed to deal at Chinese port of Canton on exchange of silver bullion. The dealing was permitted with single Chinese trading window. No direct inland trade was allowed. Residential passport for European traders beyond Canton port in Chinese mainland was an unthinkable affair.

The age old Buddhist religion of Tibet was skeptical to open its door to strangers other than Hindu sages & always remained protective about its rich gold mines from outside world. With this established tradition & continued Chinese influence & presence at Lhasa,eighteenth century Tibet remained as a “Forbidden Land” to European trade circuit.



In 1772-73, the dispute between Bhutan & Cooch Behar (where British were the paid troops of Cooch Behar state) almost stalled the available mountain passes from Tibet through Bhutan to British Bengal. For a resolution, Sixth Panchen Lama approached Warren Hastings. One young Hindu Dashnami Sanyasi Puran Giri Gosain, met Hastings at Calcutta on 29th March 1774 as an emissary on behalf Tibetan team. Hastings responded quickly. A treaty with Bhutan entered on 25th April, 1774. Bhutanese were allowed to visit a tax free annual trade-fare at Rangpur.

Hastings was eager to establish an Indo Tibetan direct trade relationship for reaching the back-door of China. For this, he immediately sent a British envoy of George Bogle, Dr. Hamilton &Puran Giri to Shigatse, Tibet. This envoy came back from Tibet in June 1775. Though this envoy was unable to reach Tibetan capital, Lhasa, their commission revealed two aspects.




  THE TWO STORIED MANSION FROM MAIN TEMPLE ENCLAVE OF BHOTBAGAN

First, Sixth Panchen Lama assured Bogle that during his forthcoming tour to Peking, Lama would be instrumental for arranging a passport for overland journey of Bogle from Canton port to Chinese capital through the intervention of Emperor. It might enable Bogle to represent British commercial concern in front of Chinese Monarch.

Secondly, Lama put up a request for a piece of land, near Calcutta, at the bank of sacred Ganges, for establishing a Tibetan Temple & Guest House.  This would be treated as temporal accommodation for Tibetan monks & traders who would visit Bengal in Indian winters. Monks would be sent for pilgrimage for Indian Buddhist circuit & traders for business ventures within British Bengal. The fund for this construction would be remitted through Bogle by the Lama& management of the Institute would be bestowed upon Puran Giri. Panchen Lama even showed Bogle the Tibetan deities which he wished to send for this proposed Temple in Bengal capital.



Hastings readily obliged, 100 Bighas of tax free land at Ghushuri awarded to Panchen Lama & subsequently to Puran Giri on 12th June 1778. This was the inception of Bhot Bagan Moth. Puran Giri became its first Mohanto / Gosain (Chief).

 THETOMB OF GEORGE BOGLE AT SOUTH PARK STREET CEMETRY

Hastings planned for the second British expedition of Bogle to Tibet in 1779.As scheduled,Puran Giri went to Tibet in 1778 for accompanying Panchen Lama to Peking. The detail of this trip was well documented in British archive from the verbatim of this Hindu sanyasi. Unfortunately this expedition ended without a result. The reasons- Panchen Lama died in Peking on 12th November 1780owing to small pox, Bogle had his most untimely death on 3rd April 1781 at Calcutta due to fever. Puran Giri was back to Hastings on 12th February 1782.



                THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED ROOM OF BHOTBAGAN MAIN TEMPLE ENCLAVE

The demise of two principal characters for the proposed Indo-Tibet trade relationship did not hinder the initial success of the first mission. The Bhot Bagan math became a destination for visiting monks, traders & Dashnami sanyasis from Tibet. The garden was scattered with temporal cottages for visitors. Further 50 Bighas of tax free land was awarded to Panchen Lama & Puran Giri by British Bengal on 11th February 1783.



Hastings continued his communication through the net-work of Puran Giri with the-then monastic regent & cup-bearers of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery at Shigatse, Tibet.

Ultimately, the second expedition of Tibet from British Bengal made on 9th January 1783 under Captain Samuel Turner. Robert Saunders &Puran Giri were the other members of this commission. This time, once again, the envoy was failed to visit Lhasa, came back to Calcutta in March 1784 with assurance that the friendship initiated by late Panchen Lama will be continued by his faithful administration. Any Indian merchant, endorsed by Hastings would be cordially accepted by Tashi Lhunpo monastery at Shigatse.



 MAIN TEMPLE OF BHOTBAGAN MATH

During fag end of his Indian service, Hastings, decided to send Puran Giri to Tibet as his representative to young Dalai Lama in early 1785. Under, the temporal Governorship of Macpherson, Puran Giri commenced his journey to Tibet, the translated report of this visit submitted in Calcutta on 6th February 1786.


It was now the regime of Lord Cornwallis in India. Under this able colonial administrator, a war veteran of recent American war of independence, trade with Tibet was no more a British priority.

Based on the treasure-myth of TashiLhunpo Monastery, reigning Gurkhas of Nepal attacked the institute in 1792. Distressed Tibetan lamas appealed to the Chinese dynasty for rescue. Chinese military rushed to Tibet, repulsed the Gurkhas from Tibetan plateau. Cornered Gurkhas were contacting English for assistance- this intelligence, almost sealed all Tibetan passes to Bhutan by the Chinese army. Chinese strictly banned the pilgrimage of Hindu sanyasis to Tibet in fear of British spying. The direct Tibetan connection of Bhotbagan severed.




 THE NOTICE OF WEST BENGAL HERITAGE COMMISSION IN THE GARDEN OF MAIN TEMPLE ENCLAVE

The first five Tibetan Deities of Bhotbagan remained as the features of its Tibetan linkage. These deities were elaborated by Indo-Tibetan scholar Sarat Chandra Das in the article of Gour Das Basyac (1890).  This important description was:-

No. I. TARA.
The principal deity is Arya Tara. She is identified by the Nepalese Buddhists with PrajnaaPaaramitaa or transcendental wisdom and is universally believed to be the mother of all the past Tathaagataor  Buddhas, in  Tibet.  According  to  the doctrine  of  the  Tantric  school  of  the  Northern Buddhists, she is the  wife  of all the present, past and future  Buddhas, in which case she resembles  the female energy or 'Sakti of the Indian Tantrics’.The Tibetan name of Tara is Grolma. Her image is made of copper, gilt with Chinese gold.  It was evidently brought   from China (Peking)   by PuranGiri who accompanied the Tashi Lama (Sixth Panchen Lama) to Peking.



During my(Sarat Chandra Das) stay at Peking  I paid a visit to the image  manufactories  near  Hwangs-se  or the  yellow temple, which is situated  at a distance  of three lee to the north of the Antaman  gate, where I saw images resembling  this (image) in construction  The goddess  Tara holds a mendicant's bowl filled with gems in her left hand. With her right hand she holds a lotus. She wears a crown with five spires all of which are studded with rubies and turquoises.  Her locks are coiled, in the Indian Buddhist fashion, at the crown of her head, at the top of which there is a beautiful gem, called Norbu-mimbar. Her dress is different from that of the Tibetan image of Tara.  She wears a Chinese petticoat with broad and loose sleeves, and a pair of Chinese embroidered shoes like a, Manchu lady. The image is about two feet. The daughter of the Emperor Tai-tsung of the great Tang dynasty was married to the first Tibetan king in 630 A. D. She was an acknowledged incarnation of Tara.  The image probably represents her figure.

No. II. MahakalBhairava
The most ingeniously constructed image is that of MahaakaalaBhairava. It represents him in a hideous mood, with his Sakti in his embrace.  His nine heads on all four sides, with a central one on the top, his thirty six  arms  and eighteen  legs, his weapons, and the string  of skulls  hanging  down  his neck to the extremity  of his belly, give  him  a truly  horrible appearance. He is the principal guardian of the Tibetan Lamas, particularly of the Tashi Lama (Panchen Lama).

No. III. Sambhara  Chakra
Sambhara Chakra is the chief of the Tantric deities of Tibet.  He has ten arms, but one head.  He also has the 'Sakti in his clasp.  He stands on the breast of a vanquished demon, probably the devil Mara.  He is painted with yellow.  The image is of copper gilt, about nine inches high.



No.IV. SamajaGuhya
SamajaGuhyais another Tantric deity, with three faces and six arms.  He clasps his consort Sakti who also has three faces and six arms.



No.V.VajraBhrukuti
Another form of Tara is called Vajra Bhrukuti. The figure of it, evidently cast in Nepal, represents the second wife of king Srongtsangampa.  She was the daughter of king Prabhavarma of Nepal, who reigned between 630 and 640 A. D.  There is a saint's glory round her head.

THE METALLIC SHIVA LINGA, AN OLD OIL PAINTING & LOOSE MARBLE PLAQUE IN MAIN TEMPLE DATED BENGALI 30 Se Chaitra, 1360 San (1953)

It was evident the earliest collection of Bhotbagan Math was quite unique & very valuable. As indicated in British reports, Dashnami Sanayshis were entrusted by Tibetan with commodities of “lesser in bulk but higher in value”- Tibetan gold dust for mercantile exchanges in Bengal. This myth of rich reserve of Bhotbagan Math brought one cold-blooded attack of robbers in early 1795.  PuranGiri lost his life to safe-guard his Math during this attack. Robbers ransacked the institute. Afterwards, four robbers who were caught by British police were hanged in the institute itself. The Tibetan Mahakal Bhairava was lost forever.

Surprisingly, till date the priest of Bhotbagan referred it as a seat of Mahakal!  It is a typical religious synergy of Shaiva doctrine with Tantric Buddhism of Tibet.

The absence of Mahakal made the idol of Prajna Paramita one of the leading deities of this temple [Snap 13]. As per internet information, this original Idol was stolen once again in early years of twenty first century, retrieved within a short period by police. Tony Huber opined the original Tibetan idols were well-preserved in a vault of local police station. The correctness of this information is not cross-checked from our side. But the caged enclave in the main temple & daily night picket of police suggest the archeological importance of these Idols is on priority list of local administration [Snap-14]. 



  MAIN DEITIES OF BHOTBAGAN TEMPLE WITHIN A LOCKED CAGE FOR PROTECTION

As per the Dashnami tradition, PuranGiri was buried in this temple enclave & on his Samadhi a Shiva Linga was placed & the First Shaiva Temple of the current enclave was built. The date of consecration of this tomb & his homage towards his demised Guru inscribed in Bengali by the second Mohanto Daljit Giri on the wall of this particular temple tomb.  The date corresponded 3rd May 1795.

Slowly, the British Officers directly involved with Bhotbagan Math went back to England, the agenda for setting of this establishment faded away from Government records & public memory. The diplomatic agenda of British India omitted Tibet for almost further hundred years. Forgetting its Indo- Tibetan cultural synergy, the institute became one Hindu Shaiva Math under Tarakeswar Mandali. No more Tibetan inflow of wealth, for subsistence, within a century, the Math started to rent its land for commercial purpose. Clock ticked. Successive Mahanto’s (Daljit Giri, Kalit Giri, Bilas Giri, Umrao Giri, Trilok Nath Giri) natural deaths increased the number of Shaiva Temples around the enclave. From 1935 onwards, the selection of Mohanto-ship became a subject under judiciary verdicts. Shortly after independence, the relic of the institute became a property of court. Though subsequently it came under the protective umbrella of West Bengal Heritage commission; prevailing ambience of Bhotbagan could not attract visitors with any uniqueness.



THE CHINESE GOD GILT PRAJNAPARAMITA IN BHOTBAGAN MAIN TEMPLE

We came to Bhotbagan after reading certain details about Puran Giri Gosain, unfortunately, could not detect his tomb temple. All of the structuresare on the way to oblivion hence the earmarked Bengali inscription of 1795 is now untraceable.

The British documents covered almost last twenty five years (Age- 25 years to 50 years) of Puran Giri’s life.  It mainly centered about his diplomatic endeavors.  The package Puran Giri was – a Hindu sage with simplest attire (koupin in loin, one tiger skin on shoulder)& a stick (danda) in hand, being fluent with several languages (Hindustani, Bhutanese, Tibetan, Mongolian), accustomed with Tibetan cultures, customs, rituals & commerce. He had been expressed as one impeccable guide in a most difficult terrain, commendable horse-rider (comparable with skilled Europeans). He was amicable but firm negotiator, well regarded within Tibetan monastic hierarchy & readily accepted within Tibetan trading community. By this reports, Puran Giri used to have his humble self-cooked vegetarian meal only once in twenty four hours. His observance power& oratory skill was amply reflected in those reports.



NUMEROUS TIBETAN DEITIES OF BHOTBAGAN TEMPLE

Surprisingly, in that era,the administration of British Bengal was under tremendous threat from rebellion militant sanyasi groups (the truce with Bhutan clarified the Sanyasis detrimental to Company were banned to enter Bengal boundary). But in his Tibetan policy, Hastings put immense reliance on this sanyasi time & again.  Though the diplomacy of Puran Giri was initiated by Tibetans, ultimately he became the British India’s representative!

Was the mercantile instinct of Hastings detected the business acumen of this Hindu sage at their first meeting? Was he being the means to accumulate Tibetan gold?  Was he being the proposed conduit to retrieve personal British wealth involved with Chinese business connection at Canton through Tibetan Monastery? (Puran Giri’s 1778 Tibetan passport for Manas Sarovar pilgrimage amply displayed the high esteem of this Hindu Achraya to the issuing authority, the Sixth Panchen Lama).
 THE PRESENT CONDITION OF ONE OF THE DASHNAMI SHIVA TEMPLE TOMB OF BHOTBAGAN

All these unanswered questions firmly vouched that this person was far from an ordinary sanyasi; a modern day mediator, whose influence was spread within the highest political lobbies, various religious institutes & mercantile adventures.

It took almost eighty years to fill the gap of first twenty five years of PuranGiri’s life. Jonathan Duncan published in the Asiatic Journal the life history of one Hindu sanyasi PuranPuri in 1799. Its Bengali version first appeared in print by Akhay Kumar Dutta in 1882. In 1978, Binay Ghosh logically established Puran Puri & Puran Giri are representing same person.

From this, we came know Puran Giri had a North Indian origin. Being a Sanaysi, he became a globe-trotter from tender age of nine years. His remarkable endurance & devotion took him extensively through modern India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bharin, Muscat, Iran, Russia, Samarkand, Nepal & Tibet. This traveling sage, in due course followed the merchant-monk tradition of Dashnamis for his own philanthropic pursuit. By virtue of his cool human qualities he became the most trusted lieutenant of Tibetan monastery & visited the office of British authority at Calcutta for Tibetan cause.



 THIS COLORED BELGIAN GLASS - SIGNATURE OF COLONIAL BENGAL

It was a feat of a tremendous adventurist, sailing the sea to visit Sri Lanka, Malaya & Oman, walking through the hot deserts in Hinglaj, Iran & Middle East, moving around Caspian coast, travelling through the ice cold Moscow, crossing the Kashmir valley, passing the rustic Ladakh, experiencing Himalayan passes, meeting different religions & cultures, facing unique situations, knowing the Asian trade routes & learning about the different international commerce. Indeed a very rich bio-data for a remarkably intelligent & secular person.

Our search for the last resting place of this exceptional Indian became a fruitless quest at Bhotbagan. But internet gave us a glimpse of this unique person. First it was through a sketch enclosed in the article of Duncan (1799) & then through a portrait of Tilly Kettle (1775).

Interestingly, independent Tibet is no more indicated in the Google World map, Tony Huber expressed, none in Delhi or Dharamshala (Central Tibetan Government in exile) had any attention to Bhot Bagan.



 A PORTRAIT OF PURAN PURI -1799

Today we are equipped with GPS, internet and several fast & safe mode of transportation, till how many of us had visited the countries & places where Puran Giri had reached in his life-time? We feel only a few. Who had gone to those countries on their foot? The answer is none. Don’t we feel ashamed that such a brilliant Indian explorer (geographical as well as spiritual) buried in our city gone to dust due to social amnesia?



 KETTLE’S PORTRAIT (1775) – BOGLE (EXTREME LEFT), YOUNG PURAN GIRI (CENTER)& SIXTH PANCHEN LAMA (SECOND FROM RIGHT) ALL IN SINGLE FRAME

Our earnest request to West Bengal Government is kindly preserve Bhotbagan, restore the Temple Tomb of Puran Giri. Otherwise, this unique Indian adventurist would only be remembered under the shadow of an unimportant road - “Gosain Ghat Road”.  The young generation of Indians will be unware of this Travelling Hindu for whom the entire world was his play ground, much before the invention of What’s App, Twitter or Instagram.

Sources :

To know details of this remarkable Traveling Tapashyi & his unique institute following books /articles / documents may be helpful for the interesting readers:-

Sl No
Heading
Writer’s Name
Year
Type of Document
1
An account of Two Fakeers with their Protraits – Jonathan Duncan
Jonathan Duncan
(Journal of Asiatic Society)
1799
English PDF Soft Copy
2
An account of an embassy to the court of the teshoo lama, in Tibet; containing a narrative of a journey through Bootan, and part of Tibet
Captain Samuel Turner
1800
English Text Soft Copy
3
Oriental Repetory Vol-II
Alexander Dalrymple
1808
English PDF Soft Copy
4
Narrative of George Bogle to Tibet & Journey of Thomas Manning at Lhasa
Clements R Markham
1876
English PDF Soft Copy
5
BharatiyaUpasakSampraday- Akhay Kumar Dutta- 2 nd  Part
Akhay Kumar Dutta
1882
Bengali Book
6
The Lives of the Panchhen-Rinpochees or Tashi Lamas
Sarat Chandra Das
(Journal of Asiatic Society)
1882
English PDF Soft Copy
7
Notes on a Buddhist Monastery at Bhot Bagan in Howrah
Gour Das Basyac
(Journal of Asiatic Society)
1890
English Text–Soft Copy
8
Bengal District Gazetteers: Howrah.
L S S O'Malley,  MonmohanChakravarti,
1909
English Text–Soft Copy
9
India & Tibet
Sir Francis Younghusband
1910
English PDF Soft Copy
10
PaschimBangaSanskriti Part-3
Binay Ghosh
1978
Bengali Book
11
Surendra Nath And Anr. vs DandiswamiJagannathAsram And ... on 4 September, 1952
Dasgupta
(Indian Kanoon - http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1619140/)
1952
English PDF Soft Copy
12
The Holy Land Reborn: Pilgrimage and the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India
Toni Huber
2008
English Text- Limited View
13
Routing the Commodities of the Empire through Sikkim (1817-1906)
Vibha Arora
2008
English PDF Soft Copy
To understand the Hindu Buddhist regional synergy followings may be useful tool:
Sl No
Heading
Writer’s Name
Year
Type of Document
1
Rachanabali -3 rd Part
HaraprasadShastri
Articles are written in between 1877 to 1932
Bengali Book
2
BouddhaDharmerItihas
ManikuntalaHaldar
1996
Bengali Book


Photograph Reference-
Barring last two-  By the author.
PuranPuri-                           Courtesy Google Book.
Kettle’s Portrait (1775)-      CourtesyWikipedia. 

Research - Abhijnan Basu.
Picture Courtesy - Abhijnan Basu & Santanu Roy.