Gaya temple opens unique library with 1,000 rare books

In a unique initiative, the Vishnupad Temple Management Committee (VTMC) in Gaya is setting up a Dharmagranthalay (library of spiritual/religious books) on the temple premises. The library will give pilgrims and devotees access to rare books of Sanatan dharma.

This Dharmagranthalay has been started with a collection of 1,000 rare books, and the number is expected to increase with contributions from devotees. Apart from the books presenting the history and culture of the centuries-old heritage shrine, the devotees can find ancient manuscripts and rare religious books that are now out of print.

The shrine’s 221-year-old temple bell has been declared a heritage item and is preserved in a glass box on the premises, near the Dharmagranthalay. The bell, made of ashtadhatu (octo-alloy) and weighing 150kg, was donated by a British national, Francis Gillanders, during his visit to Gaya on January 1, 1798. The temple itself has got a new brass bell while this old one is showcased as a witness to history.

Describing the significance of the bell, VTMC member Mahesh Gupt said, “The bell would be an added attraction for devotees — it has been in the service of Lord Vishnu for more than 221 years.”

VTMC secretary Gajadhar Lal Pathak, talking about the Dharmagranthalay, said, “During Pitripaksh Mela, lakhs of devotees visit the shrine and offer pinda for their ancestors’ souls. Since the rituals continue for a fortnight, they often ask us to tell them about the history of the shrine. They also look for religious books. Keeping in mind these needs of the pilgrims, we decided to set up a study centre, which has now become the Dharmagranthalay.” He said that the library would remain open 10am to noon and 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

First Published:
May 22, 2019 15:42 IST

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