The journey route of Prince Siddhartha, a subject matter of research since 1812 when the East India Company took very serious efforts to create a record of Bihar’s history with Buddha being its pivot, is claimed to have been discovered by a team of historians comprising Indian, Japanese and German scholars.
“Mahabhinishkramana”, the most important chapter of Jataka says after leaving his royal palace of Kapilavastu (now in Nepal), Siddhartha crossed the Anoma River to wander through the thick jungles, villages and different towns to reach Bodh Gaya where he attained the enlightenment beneath the Banyan Tree.
According to the ex-Director of K. P. Jaisawal Research Institute Dr. Jagdishwar Pandey, the Buddhist scriptures mentioned the names of those places trodden by Siddhartha to reach to Uruvilla or Bodhgaya, the historians could not draft the ancient itinerary followed by him as their names changed totally over the last 2550 years.
Dr. Phil Gustav Roth (German Indologist, Buddhist scholar and retired professor of Gottingen University), Prof. Zuiryu Nakamura (Japanese historian) and Dr. Pandey spent nearly 26 years to finally discover Siddhartha’s journey route with the exact names of cities, villages and jungles.
Their names existing in the 6th century B.C. when Siddhartha started his Odyssey changed in such a way that they do not at all match with the present ones. The Mughal era — 1526 to 1857— saw their total transformation with Arabic and Persian names replacing the ancient ones pronounced in the dialects like Maithili, Magahi, Angika, Bajjika and Bhojpuri.
Mahabhinishkramana, says Siddhartha left Kapilavastu on a full moon night of Asada month in a chariot driven by horse Kanthaka and guided by charioteer Chandak to reach Anoma River. On crossing that river, he ordered Chandak to return to Kapilavastu and he exchanged his robe for saffron ones of a hunter.
After shaving the hair with his sword, Siddhartha begin his jungle wandering to traverse through a large number of places to finally reach Bodhgaya. Nearly 25 places among them, including Vaishali, Kesaria, Bettiah, Lauria Areraj and Pataliputra, them are very important
The team of Dr. Pandey, Dr. Roth and Prof. Nakamura created the map of Siddhartha’s journey route in 1996 and named it as “Itinerary of The Buddha”. It is going to be published in Japan and Germany also very shortly. Both Dr. Roth and Prof. Nakamura have crossed 90.
Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang, the two famous Chinese travelers, also had traced the journey route from Kapilavastu to Bodh Gaya via flood ravaged northern and drought prone central parts of Bihar.
While Dr. Roth lived in Bihar for a very long stretch of time, Prof. Nakamura visited Nepal for 17 times to carry out researches on Buddha. This Japanese scholar also had lived in Bihar for a long time. These three historians made extensive archaeological excavations in Nepal and Bihar to discover the journey route of Siddhartha.