Construction work of the 34-m-high 'Sabhyata Dwar', an iconic sandstone arch on the bank of river Ganga here, serving as the ceremonial gateway to the city of Patna is almost complete and is likely to be inaugurated soon.
"The 34-m-high gateway is almost ready. Civil work is over and paving and greening is being done. Electrical fixture work on illumination of the arch is being carried out which would also be completed soon," a senior official told PTI.
The ceremonial arch was originally envisioned by late ex-Vice Army Chief Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha as the 'civilisation gate' that would beckon travellers and passersby to the city of Patna and draw them to its rich and multi-layered history, as it did in the reign of the Mauryan Empire over 2,500 years ago.
The structure was erected by the Building and Construction Department of the Bihar government. A Delhi-based consultancy firm had drawn up its plan. Two giant Mauryan-styled arches, one each on the northern and southern sides have been built, both of which are flanked by two small arches.
"We have used red and beige-coloured sandstones in the gateway that has been topped with a four-sided lion capital of King Ashoka. The northern (facing Ganga) and southern faces of the gateway, each will bear two ancient inscriptions," the official said, adding, "it will be opened soon".
The inscriptions will be attributed to Megasthenes, the ancient Greek envoy to Pataliputra -- the capital of the Mauryan Empire; King Ashoka, who ruled ancient India from his capital in Pataliputra (today's Patna); Lord Buddha, who achieved nirvana in Bodh Gaya and Lord Mahavira, who was born in Vaishali in northern Bihar.
Megasthenes on his arrival in Pataliputra described the city as: "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."
Gen Sinha till his last days extolled the greatness of Pataliputra and also wrote a book on it, among other subjects.
"His original vision was to have a channel made from the deviated course of river Ganga, which would bring the water close to the river bank, so that the gateway could open right into the river," said another official, who did not wish to be identified.
The gateway stands in the sprawling premises of the Samrat Ashoka International Convention Centre (SAICC) which neighbours the Gandhi Maidan in the heart of the city, and overlooks the river, on the banks of which construction is in full swing for the Ganga Drive.
"We have set up 24 lamp posts of 150 W each, including those on the boundary wall of the SAICC on the river side, to light up the pathway around the gateway.
"Six post-top lantern garden lights of 70 W each would illuminate the structure. Twenty-eight white sodium vapour lamps and four golden sodium vapour lamps would highlight the beauty of the structure. And dynamic LED illumination will add extra sheen to the facade," an official from the technical team said.
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