The Telegraph
Saturday , February 8 , 2014
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Armed with camera, cop hunts for heritage clues
- Passion for photography leads IPS officer to collect data on state’s rich culture and compile books

Nishant Tiwary wears many hats — from a software engineer to an IPS officer and now to being an author, he has straddled the different professions with elan.

He has however found his true calling in heritage and nature photography, utilising it to honour his state.

Tiwary, posted as senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Gaya, has recently authored a book, Celebrating Bihar: The Heritage of Nalanda, which was released by chief minister Nitish Kumar at the inaugural session of three-day Bodh Mahotsava at Kalchakra ground in Bodhgaya on February 4. Published by Oxford University Press, the book is being released in more than 100 countries. This is his second after Celebrating Bihar: Charms of Champaran in 2012.

“During my stay abroad, I saw people were interested about our heritage. This inspired me to collect information and pictures about sites of archaeological and religious importance besides traditional festivals. For example, when Malamas Mela was organised, I visited the fair, took snaps and collected information about the history of the mela and its significance. chief minister Nitish Kumar, too, has encouraged me to write the book,” he said.

An IPS officer of the 2005 batch, Tiwary’s love for natural photography has culminated in the form of two books. He has not only penned articles highlighting the heritage of Nalanda but clicked photographs to include in the book. Weaving narratives with pictures of ancient heritage monuments, Tiwary has documented the art and culture of the Nalanda region. The book consists of seven chapters – archaeological, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Sufi, Sikh and Natural circuits.

Apart from pictures of the main temple of the ancient Nalanda University, the cyclopean wall running atop Udayagiri hill and Maniyar Math, the first chapter includes articles about Odantapuri Mahavihara, Swarna Bhandar and Jarasandh ka Akhada.

In the second chapter, Tiwary has written about Gridhakuta, the blessed holy peak, Saptaparni cave, the seat of the world’s first Buddhist council, Silao, the site of Buddha’s robe exchange, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, the symbol of universal love and has used photographs.

In the Hindu circuit chapter, the book includes information about the Rajgir tirth, Malmas Mela, Ongari and Burgaon. The Jain circuit chapter includes information about Kundalpur, the birthplace of Lord Mahavihara, Pawapuri: the place where Lord Mahavihara attained nirvana, Vaibhargiri, Vipulagiri, Swarnagiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri hill.

He has won several national and international awards, including the Bihar State Road Development Corporation award from the chief minister last year.

A bachelor in engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi University, he has earlier worked as a software engineer in India and US. He also served as superintendent of police in Bettiah, Bagaha, Nalanda, Nawada and Aurangabad — all parts of the ancient Magadh region.

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