Barabar Caves Or Marabar Caves of A Passage to India
The place Barabar Caves is not a popular tourist spot, but its lesser known popularity is the thing which makes it mystical and more attractive.
The Indian province of Bihar itself is a mystical place. Despite being the birthplace of Buddhism and Jainism, Bihar remains one of the most deprived places on the earth.
Some say, it is the curse of Buddha; some say Bihar has been suffering since its foundation.
Bihar has got some big names in the list world tourism, such as Bodhgaya, Bodh Vihara, Pavapuri, Shershah Suri Tomb, Patna Sahib (the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Maner Sharif, etc. But only a few will mention of Barabar Caves.
Barabar Caves is situated in Jahanabad district of Bihar. Jahanabad is also known for its Naxalite violence for decades.
The same violence is also one of the believed reasons behind the preservation of the ancient Caves of Barabar.
English film director David Lean could not direct his beautiful masterpiece A Passage to India (1984) at the original spots of ‘Marabar Caves’ due to the same Naxal related violence.
Barabar Caves or Marabar Caves are also said to have dacoits and robbers back then.
E.M. Foster got his inspiration to write his novel A Passage to India after making a visit to Barabar Caves. He, for some unidentified reasons, changed its name to Marabar Caves.
Maybe, Marabar Caves sounded him more romantic.
How to Visit Barabar Caves/ Marabar Caves
Fortunately, Barabar Caves is well connected with roads and railways. It’s also not very far from the capital district of Bihar, Patna.
Though the trains are not frequent and generally are in the evening hours, it is suggested to catch buses or private vehicle.
Anyway, 80km is not a big distance from Patna.
If you choose roadways, you would be lucky to have a pleasant journey relishing countryside views and scenery.
Moreover, Trains will not drop you to the exact location, you will need to catch local vehicles to reach Barabar Caves.
Barabar Caves is situated far from the hustle and bustle of cities and inhabitants. It was probably the government’s plan to keep this area peaceful and serene.
The road to Barabar Caves is clean and decorated with street lamps. And, it passes through the green fields on both the sides.
When the green fields end, a rocky terrain begins. I was surprised and mesmerized to see the huge rocks all round.
It is not very usual for those who live in the plains of Bihar. Then begins the curvy journey on the sandy road in the midst of trees.
One should always be careful while riding on these trails.
I also witnessed some great views of peaceful and calm Ashrams, and a sleepy Mazaar on a distance.
I was awfully excited, and talking to my friend nonsensically out of it. I was just happy and satisfied to be at my kind of place.
I told my friend many a time that I would love to settle here down someday.
Barabar Caves is bare, deserted, silent, remote and pious.
You will find a mini temple at the peak of a hill.
The locals have arranged a small parking lot for the tourists. Also, you would find a shop for snacks, specially Samosas with Tomato sauce.
And, of course, a hut for tobacco’s stuffs.
One should have no hurry for the viewing of the Caves. Barabar Caves is not only about the empty caves.
It is more about its surroundings, its rocks, its olden times and the emptiness.
When I reached Barabar Caves, I asked for the directions for the Caves.
Even some locals were not sure of the exact location. I didn’t mind. I was more excited about touching and climbing the rocks.
After half an hour of climbing, me and my friend discovered the magnificent Caves. They looked as old as ancient as the pyramids, and still they were standing up with the same magnificence.
I was shaking of emotions to find the ancient Caves of Barabar. My friend and I looked so tiny in front of the doors of the caves.
To my surprise, I didn’t see any other tourists around. But was okay with it. I never had great experiences with the tourists.
Especially with those who are always in search of picnic spots. They dirty everything.
Well, after taking enough photos and selfies, we hanged around the rocks till we felt pain in our legs.
The doors of Barabar Caves are always locked by heavy modified iron gates. We wanted to go inside, but we had no idea about the person in charge of the gates.
Fortunately, when we were leaving the spot, a man who runs a tea shop nearby approached us.
He was the person in charge of the doors. He was a very humble and happy person. He seemed equally excited about the Barabar Caves and its past.
He informed us that Barabar Caves are ‘man made’ caves, and were decorated by emperor Ashoka.
He unlocked those heavy iron gates modified for the cave’s entrance. And we were inside: awestruck. Our voices echoed to a maddening level. Wow! That experience was something.
In case, you don’t find the person in charge of the doors of Barabar Caves, don’t worry as you can still feel the same experience.
All you’d need to do is to ride for another one kilometre towards Nagarjuni Cave. This cave is almost deserted, and is always open.
There you can enjoy the same experience of echoing voices.
It was about 4 o’clock in the evening, when we decided to leave Barabar Caves. I was leaving Barabar Caves with a mild and satisfying memory.
I never knew that Barabar Caves, a mysterious place, is situated so near to my home in Patna.
I left Barabar Caves, but I promised to myself to revisit again. The other promise I made was about settling here down, of course, it’s a philosophical promise of mine.
A Passage to India (1984)
I never knew that Barabar Caves has got an important depiction in a classical Hollywood movie – A Passage to India, released in 1984.
The well-known actor Victor Banerjee is the protagonist of the story told in the movie.
It is also worth mentioning that the film is based on a critically acclaimed novel by E.M. Foster, A Passage to India (1924).
Coincidentally, I found this beautiful movie while searching about Barabar Caves, or maybe, I found Barabar Caves in the movie- A Passage to India.
Film A Passage to India tells a story of a doctor, Dr. Aziz, and his romantic encounter with a young British lady who came to India to fix her troubled relationship with her fiancé.
This is the all I should tell you about the movie A Passage to India, or else I would be spoiling the plot and the experience of watching this movie.
Watching the movie, A Passage to India was a pleasure and a sweet experience. The experience was as sweet as visiting Barabar Caves.
I indeed revisit Barabar Caves while I was watching A Passage to India.
In this movie Barabar Caves has got a fictional name Marabar Caves.
The Marabar Caves is the place, a mysterious place, where the ‘black magic’ of love happened between the main characters of A Passage to India.
I’m a tiny film critic, and with that authority, I say that A Passage to India is one of the best romantic movies one can ever watch with one’s love.
~With Love, and promise to revisit Barabar/Marabar Caves!