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A Trip to Ancient India

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November 2010
A Trip to Ancient India Shirdi is a well-known town in Maharashtra, drawing from all over India the devotees of a 19th century and early 20th century mystic saint. Kaneri, also in Maharashtra, is not so widely known, though the Siddhagiri ashram there is over 1000 years old.

It could change, now that an “ancient” village has sprung up on eight acres of land in Kaneri, taking visitors on a trip to India’s pastoral past. The village is actually an outdoor museum showcasing the lifestyle of rural Indians from a bygone—and current, some would say—India. Over 100 sculptors from Karnataka worked on about 700 statues, highlighting the work of farmers, craftsmen and traders. There are close to 80 scenes of villagers as they celebrate festivals, worship in their shrines, socialize at home, and perform daily chores like fetching water from the well and milking cows.

The other statues in this museum, whose focus is on pre-Mughal India, depict the astronomers Aryabhata and Varahamihira, musicologist Bharata Muni, king Bhagiratha, philosopher Kanad, sages Kapil and Kashyap, author Vishnu Sharma, metallurgist Nagarjuna, healer Charaka, strategist Chanakya, yogi Patanjali, and mathematician Bhaskaracharya. There is a nominal entry charge, and the proceeds are used for operating a local hospital.

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