The district of Jehanabad has a certain place in the history of India. The description is found in the famous book “aine-e-akbari”. The book says that the place was badly affected by famine in the 17th century and people were dying of hunger. The Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb, in whose time the book was re-written, established a Mandi for relief of the people and named the “Mandi” as “JAHANARA”. The Mandi was under the direct control and supervision of Jahanara. It is believed that she spent a great deal of time here. In the course of time, the place came to be known as “JAHANARABAD” and later as “JEHANABAD”.
Today Jehanabad is known more for its minuses than for its pluses but that wasn’t always the case. Tradition and legends. Hindu as well as Buddhist, take down the history of Jehanabad to a period of hoary antiquity. The district abounds in ancient and medieval sites, mounds and ruins, some of which contain archaeological remains of considerable importance.
Of the various places in the district which have yielded archaeological remains, Barabar, Dharawat and Dabthu occupy notable positions. The earliest of the archaeological remains in the district are to be found in the Barabar and Nagarjuni hills. The credit for unraveling the charm and appeal of the Barabar hills goes to the celebrated British writer E.M. Forster. His A Passage to India is replete with references to the Barabar hills by simply changing the name of the hills and caves to Marabar.
The Barabar hills situated about 14 Kms. East of Makhdumpur railway station in Jehanabad district is famous for its rock cut caves which are supposed to be the earliest examples of cave Architecture in north India. During the reign of Ashoka, for caves were excavated in the Barabar hills for the ascetics of Ajivika sect. These are known as Sudama, Vishwajhopri, Karnchaupar and Lomas rishi and are excavated in the hardest granite with infinite care and the interior surface of all of them contains high polish and are burnished like glass. In the Nagarjuni range about 1 Km to the north east of Barabar hills there are three excavated caves containing the inscriptions of Ashoka’s grandson Dusratha. These are known as Gopi, Vahiyaka and Vedathika.
For sheer panoramic grandeur and rugged natural beuty very few places in the district can be compared to the northern portion of the Barabar hills. From a distance, the twin hills of Barabar and Nagarjuni look like a dragoon slithering slowly towards the horizon. The Archaeological survey of India (ASI) has also sent a proposal to the UNESCO for inclusion of Barabar hills in the world heritage list of monuments.
Dharaut about 10 Kms north west of Barabar hills, has been identified as the site of the Buddhist monantery of Gunamati. Not only does the position of Dharaut correspond with the account of itinerary given by the Chinese pilgrim Huen Tsang but the site of the ruins also agrees with his description. At the foot of the Kunwa hill which shut in Dharaut on the south stretches a large tank known as Chandrapokhar. The name of the tank perpetuates the legend that it was excavated by Raja Chandra Sen. Two modern temples at its north eastern corner once contained a large collection of ancient statues. The most remarkable was a colossal image of twelve armed Avalokiteswara Boddhisatva which has now been shifted to the Patna musiam.
Six Kms east of Hulasganj in Jehanabad, Dabthu is chiefly known for its finally carved images and ruins of temples.
A noted scholar and historian FH Hamilton visited Dabthu and adjoing villages in 1811-12. His travelogue contained descriptions of dilapidated structures of magnificent temples including a jain temple, a mausoleum of a sufi saint and numerous images of Hindu gods and goddesses around the temples. Buchanan also talks of a sprawing earthen mound which is still extant. Now little remains of those shrines and idols as described by hamilton and Buchanan. However, in the remains of ancient shrines one can still see images of deities mutilated and decayed by ravages of time.
About 25 Kms south-west of Jehanabad Ghejan is known for a number of ancient Budhist and Brahminical statues. The most interesting of them being a large seated diadem. There was also a large statue of Avalokiteswara with an inscription on the pedestal stating that it was the gift of Sthavira Ratn, who came from Nalanda and dedicated it for the benefit of his two disciples. This piece of Bodhist sculpture has since being shifted to the Patna Musiam.
According to legend, Budha is said to have stayed in the village for a few days while on way to Gaya to attain enlightenment. He had also delivered sermons to a select group of disciples in the village. Later Bimbisar, emperor of Magadh setup a monastery in the village to commemorate Budha’s visit. The ruins of an ancient brick temple also exist in the village and there is also a temple containing a large standing figure of Tara, now worshiped as Bhagwati.
At a time when vested interest are working over time to spread frenzy in the country, a small, unobtrusive Dargah at Kako in Jehanabad stands as a beacon of social harmony and peace for thousands of devotees belonging to both communities, Muslium and Hindus. Bibi Kamal preached religious tolerance and love in opposition to orthodoxy. For her, there was but one God and the world the reflection of God who permeates every thing.
People irrespective of their faith visit the Dargah of Bibi Kamal. Bibi Kamal’s Urs takes place in November every year when cooked rice is distributed amoung devotees seeking her blessings.
Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)
See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217