Patna: The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to propose an ancient trade route of the Mauryan and the Gupta periods along the north Gangetic region of Bihar for inclusion in the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, an official said on Thursday. The Patna circle of ASI is preparing a dossier to place the proposal to authorities concerned, she said. The ancient trade route includes several archaeological sites across four districts of the state – the Buddha Relic Stupa in Vaishali, Ashokan Pillar at Kolhua in Muzaffarpur, Kesaria Buddha Stupa and four Ashokan Pillars at Areraz in East Champaran, Rampurva and Nandangarh in West Champaran.
”The trade route connected the ancient city of Patliputra (modern Patna), the capital of the Mauryan and the Gupta empires, with the southern region of Nepal. We have decided to send a detailed proposal for the inclusion of the trade corridor in the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” ASI (Patna circle) Superintending Archaeologist Goutami Bhattacharya told PTI.
Cities located along the ancient trade route in Bihar can be developed as tourist destinations once the corridor is included in the tentative list, she said.
”We have already started preparing a dossier for its inclusion in the list. The proposal will be sent to the ASI headquarters in New Delhi and then it will be forwarded to UNESCO,” she said. Under the Mauryan dynasty, international trade was given much importance, while many Buddhist temples, stupas and pillars were built in Vaishali, Muzaffarpur and Champaran districts during the Ashoka’s reign, Bhattacharya said.
Commenting on the ASI’s initiative, state’s Art, Culture and Youth Department Additional Secretary cum Director Deepak Anand said the government will provide all possible support to the surveyor. ”It’s a great initiative by the ASI and we will provide all possible support for developing the ancient trade route as a tourist destination in the state. We are quite hopeful that this proposal will be accepted by UNESCO and the corridor will get the tag of a world heritage site,” the official told PTI. A historical site has to be first included in the tentative list to be a part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, Bhattacharya said.