Maha Kassapa, the Buddha's successor, realised that his
life was drawing to a close he set out for Kukkutapadagiri,
his favourite mountain resort. When his progress to the
peak was hindered by rocks he struck them with his staff
and they opened to let him through. On arriving at the summit
a cavity opened in the rocks, he entered, fell into a deep
meditative trance and the rocks closed around him.
says that in the distance future when Maitreya appears in
the world he will come to Kukkitapadagiri, awaken Maha Kassapa,
receive the Buddha's robe from him and then begin to announce
the new dispensation. This sacred mountain is now called
Gurpa. When you arrive at the village of Gurpa, cross the
railway line and take one of the paths that lead to the
mountain. From its foot a rough and rather steep path leads
up. This path will eventually stop at the base of a sheer
cliff which has a huge narrow crack in it. Enter this crack
and proceed upwards. Don't forget to bring a torch, you'll
need it. After emerging from the dark into the open again
keep climbing and soon you will come to another cave.
may be the place where Asanga spent many years meditating.
Leaving this cave and continuing to climb you will soon
arrive at the summit where their there are several Hindu
shrines and a few Buddhist antiquities. The view from the
top is breathtaking and the whole place is very conducive
to meditation. This is a wonderful place to read and reflect
on Maha Kassapa's beautiful and evocative 'Ode to the Mountains'
from the Theragatha. A translation can be found in K R Norman's
Elder's Verses published by the Pali Text Society. For more
details about Gurpa and its history you can also read my
'Where Maha Kassapa Waits' in The Middle Way, London, February
1998. To get to Gurpa take the Fatipur road from Gaya via
Fatipur to Gurpa, a distance of about 33 kilometres over
fairly good roads. It will be a long days journey from Bodh
Gaya so leave early.