PATNA: A 43-meter-high sandstone arch built on the banks of the Ganga in the Bihar capital and christened ‘Civilisation Gate’ was officially let open for the public on Monday, evoking the glory of the ancient capital of Pataliputra (today’s Patna).
Topped with a four-sided lion capital of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, the northern and southern faces of the arch bear inscriptions attributed to Megasthenes, the ancient Greek envoy to Pataliputra; Ashoka, whose reign stretched from Afghanistan to Bangladesh; Lord Buddha, who attained nirvana in Bodh Gaya; and Lord Mahavira, who was born in Bihar’s Vaishali.
“This Sabhyata Dwar (Civilisation Gate) will keep telling the world the greatness of the land that is Bihar. It will remind visitors of the ancient glory of Pataliputra and Bihar’s contributions to world civilisation,” said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after inaugurating the arch. He was accompanied by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Designed as a ceremonial gateway to the city of Patna, the Civilisation Gate is about six metres taller than the Gateway of India in Mumbai and three metres taller than Patna’s very own iconic Gol Ghar that stands nearby.
The arch, built at a cost of Rs 5 crore on a one-acre campus, was originally envisioned by late ex-Vice Army Chief Lt Gen (retd) SK Sinha. CM Nitish Kumar liked the idea and gave approval to the project a few years ago. The state government’s building and construction department erected the structure as per the plan drawn up by a Delhi-based consultancy firm.
Megasthenes has praised Pataliputra highly in his book in the following words: “I have seen the great cities of the east. I have seen the Persian palaces of Susa and Ecbatana, but this is the greatest city in the world.”
The Civilisation Gate is a part of a larger project including the state-of-the-art auditoriums Bapu Sabhagar and Gyan Bhawan, and a large statue of Emperor Ashoka nearby, all adjacent to the historic Gandhi Maidan.