Deeksha Bhoomi Nagpur is Buddhist center in India located in the State of Maharashtra. This is the place where Dr. B. R. Ambedkar along with five million people embraced Buddhism on 14 October, 1956. The day 14 October is celebrated as ‘Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din’ (Mass Conversion Ceremony Day). Millions of people throughout India visit this place on this celebration day. The biggest Stupa in Asia is erected in the memory of the conversion ceremony at this place.
Buddhism is more than 2500 years old world religion, it was nearly vanished from India due to various reasons except minor existence in North and North-East parts of India. The revival of Buddhism in India started by Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala in 1891. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar continued the revival process by deeply studying and converting mass downtrodden people from India in to Buddhism.
Why Dr B. R. Ambedkar choose Nagpur for conversion ceremony!!
Nagpur and surrounding area has been a historical center of Buddhism in India, the fact is supported by archaeological findings in this region. The Naga people lived predominantly in this area, the Nag Nadi(river) flows through the center of Nagpur city believed to be named from the Naga people.
The Naga people spread the teachings of Buddha all over India from this region. Considering historical importance, Dr B. R. Ambedkar thought that there is no place like Nagpur which is suitable to begin revival of Buddhism in India.
Dr B. R. Ambedkar was accompanied by wife Savita Ambedkar during the conversion ceremony. The Buddhist monks who participated in various accomplishments when Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in Nagpur were Bhadant Chandramani Mahathero, Bhante Pragya Tiss, M Sangh Ratan Mahathera, Bhikshi Dhamm Rakshit, H Saddha Tiss, H Thamma Nand Mahathera and Bhikshu Galgedar Pragyanand.
Deeksha Bhoomi Stupa Physical Features
Deeksha Bhoomi is spread over almost 1,74,240 sqft area. The central place is called a Stupa, it is a spectacular 120 feet height, the dome too has 120 feet in diameter made of marble, granite and the pink Dholpur stone. The dome is hollow covering a large circular hall of over 4,000 sqft. A beautiful blue clad image of the Buddha statue is established at the centre of circular hall .
The magnificent monument is built as a replica of main Sanchi Stupa which has height of 71 ft and was built by a emperor Ashoka the great. The place ‘Sanchi’ is the stupa village which is situated at 45 km away from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, a central state of India.
Other Buddhist places around Nagpur….
DEEKSHA BHOOMI CHANDRAPUR
On 16th October 1956 a similar mass conversion ceremony was held in a place Chandrapur, a district place in Maharashtra state 150km away from Nagpur. Dr B. R. Ambedkar was present at this function. The conversion ceremony was arranged by Barrister Rajabhau Khobragade.
The conversion place at Chandrapur is known as para-Dikshabhumi, every year a large number of people gather in this place to celebrate the anniversary.
Thousands of people, who come to Nagpur to visit Deeksha Bhoomi don’t avoid visiting the Museum Shantivan situated at Chicholi village 15km from Nagpur.
The Shantivan Museum preserves personal belongings of Dr B. R. Ambedkar clothes, hats, shoes, pen, typewriter, walking stick, glasses, chairs, stoves, shaving and sewing kit and stationary.
These personal belongings were used by Dr B. R. Ambedkar while he was living at 26, Alipur Road in New Delhi. This place was demolished in 1962, Mr Nanak Chand Rattu(Dr Ambedkar PA) collected all the belongings and preserved them for more than 30years. In 1993 Mr Rattu handed over these precious belongings for further preservation to Mr Wamanrao Godbole who was the founder of Shantivan Chicholi.
How Shantivan come in to existence!!
On January 12 1955 in an interview with PTI Dr B. R. Ambedkar had expressed a desire to set up a training centre for youth where they would learn about Buddhist philosophy. Inspired by Dr Ambedkar idea Wamanrao Godbole decided to set up a training centre for youth to spread Buddhist philosophy. On a donated 11.5acre land Wamanrao Godbole paved the foundation for Shanti Kuti now it is recognised as Shantivan, the complex includes a museum, a Buddha Vihar and residence place of Wamanrao Godbole.
DRAGON PALACE KAMPTEE
After visiting Deeksha Bhoomi people visit Dragon Palace at Kamptee. This Japanese style architecture Buddhist temple is known as Lotus Temple of Nagpur, it is built on 4,30,000sqft green landscape. Buddha statue is installed on the first floor of the meditation hall. The calm and quite ambience of meditation hall provides peace to the mind to visitors. During evening the temple is beautifully lit up with decoration lights hanging from its roof.
How Dragon Palace was built!!
The palace was established in 1999 by Mother Noriko Ogawa Society of Japan, in association with local social worker and politician Ms.Sulekha Kumbhare. This temple is the outcome of friendship between Ms. Noriko Ogawa, a Japanese entrepreneur and Ms. Sulekha Kumbhare who helped each other in their entrepreneurship.
MAHASAMADHI BHOOMI SINDPURI PAUNI
The Mahasamadhi Bhoomi is Grand Stupa (Mahastup in Hindi) situated on the bank of river Vainganga, the Grand Stupa is located near village Ruyad in Sindpuri and 3km from taluka place Pauni which is 50km from Bhandara a district place in Maharashtra, India.
Mahasamadhi Bhoomi Grand Stupa is a symbol of Buddhist Cultural friendship between India & Japan. The architectural design of Grand Stupa is based upon Japan’s Pagoda type traditional Stupa. The Mahasamadhi Bhoomi Grand Stupa is designed by renowned architects Nakamura and Okajima from Japan.
The historical taluka place Pauni and surround region believed to be one of the major Buddhist centre during Ashoka regime. Already a huge stupa has been found in Sindpuri place, still today the remains of Buddhist period are frequently found during excavation in this region.