I am very happy today. Saw a beautiful dream last night, that Gaya has been declared as the “UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape”. This is fantastic and more so, because of the reasons of selection. If I can remember my dream correctly, here are some of the reasons stated.
01. Gaya, an ancient town in Bihar, is a city “frozen” in time. There is an age old ritual at Gaya, of offering “Pind Daan” has been practiced since thousands of years. This ritual in its core connects the current generation with its old generation or its ancestors.
02. The “Andar Gaya” (the old city core) was a medieval town, made in 1663. It was fortified, with moats around and had four entrance gates. As the folklore goes, all the pandas (the Gayawal priest community) came together to stay in this fortified area. Unlike to the contemporary medieval towns like Shahjhanabad, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Jaipur etc, Gaya is a Hindu and non- trade based town.
03. Most importantly, all the houses in Andar Gaya have a unique housing typology. They all have three floors. The ground floor for ‘Jajman’, the first floor for ‘Mehman’, the second floor for ‘Pakwan’ and the top floor had a toilet (it could have been a later addition). Interestingly, more than 70% percent of the Built fabric and the structures still remain. Every courtyard, every pillar is the same, in this ancient town.
04. Moreover, it may be it is the earliest example of neighborhood planning (in 1663). Entire Andar Gaya has 14 mohallas (neighbourhoods) and 14 baithaks. These baitaks have a rich legacy of Art & Culture. This is a great example of the sociological heritage of the Gayawal panda Community.
05. The ritual is performed on the Vedies, which could be river, trees, streams, rocks etc. Ancient documentation shows there were more than 300 vedies where pind daan was performed. Today only about 15 are known.
Possibly, some day Gaya is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape. Till then, Lets keep dreaming.
May the dream come true, Amen!