This first FDC bears the India-China joint issue issued on 6 June 08 in China and 11 July in India. The design features the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya in India and the White Horse Temple near Luoyang, Henan Province, in China.
The Mahabodhi Temple (Literally: "Great Awakening Temple") is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is located about 96 km (60 miles) from Patna, Bihar state, India. Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree. In the Pali Canon, the site is called Bodhimanda, and the monastery there the Bodhimanda Vihara.
The site of the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya is, according to the Buddhist commentarial scriptures, the same for all Buddhas. According to the Jatakas, it forms the navel of the earth, and no other place can support the weight of the Buddha's attainment.
According to the Book of Later Han history, Emperor Ming was said to have dreamed one night in the year 64 of a golden person standing 20 metres tall and with a radiating white aureola flying from the West. The next day he told his ministers, and the minister Zhong Hu explained to him that he had probably dreamed of the Buddha from India. The emperor then sent a delegation of 18 headed by Cai Yin, Qin Jing and Wang Zun to seek out Buddhism. They returned from Afghanistan with an image of Gautama Buddha, the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters and two eminent monks.
The monks names have been variously romanized as Kasyapamatanga and Dharmavanya, Moton and Chufarlan.
The next year, the emperor ordered the construction of the White Horse Temple three li ( 1 li = 415.8 meters; a li is a Chinese unit of measurement that has changed definitional values over time. The figure above is the standardized measurement at the time of the Han) east of the capital Luoyang, to remember the horse that carried back the sutras. It was China's first Buddhist temple.
This FDC showcases the four types of renewable energy currently being developed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy of India, which is responsible mainly for research and development, intellectual property protection, and international cooperation, promotion, and coordination in renewable energy sources such as wind power, small hydro, biogas, and solar power.
As regular visitors would know, the topic of environmental issues is among my favorite stamp themes so I highly value this cover. Thanks, Mahendra!
The Commonwealth Youth Games are a small-scale version of the Commonwealth Games, designed for children and young people.
The inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2000, and the second in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, in 2004.
The third Games (commemmorated in this FDC issued 12 Oct 08) took place in Pune, India, in 2008, and were viewed in part as a test event for the 2010 main Commonwealth Games. The fourth Games are scheduled to take place in Douglas, Isle of Man, in 2011. From 2011 onwards the Games will revert to a four-yearly cycle. The hosting of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games has been awarded to Apia, Samoa. Wrexham in Wales has so far expressed an interest in hosting the 2019 Commonwealth Youth Games.
In the latest edition of the Games, in Pune, hosts India topped the gold medal tally with 33 gold, followed by Australia and England with 24 and 18 respectively. The third Commonwealth Youth Games is unique for its green theme, which permeates all aspects of the Games. A special drive is being conducted by the game organisers to create a "save the tigers" campaign to promote awareness of the critical state of the Indian tiger.
In this last cover we have another reference to the Commonwealth Games, this time not the one organized for the youth. The two identical stamps on the upper right of the obverse are in anitipation of the nineteenth Commonwealth Games will also be held in India and are scheduled to be held in Delhi between 3 October and 14 October 2010. The design of the stamps shows the mascot for the event, a white Bengal tiger named Shera. The White Bengal is the national animal of India.
The stamp on the upper left obverse issued 13 Oct 08 obviously pays homage to post offices. As to which post office is depicted or why post offices are being celebrated is beyond me. But, to compensate, a little trivia about India Post:
The Indian Postal Service, with 155,333 post offices, is the most widely distributed post office system in the world (China is next, with 57,000). The large numbers are a result of a long tradition of many disparate postal systems which were unified in the Indian Union post-Independence. Owing to this far-flung reach and its presence in remote areas, the Indian postal service is also involved in other services such as small savings banking and financial services.
Talk about mobilization, eh?
Well, actually, considering that thereare over a billion Indians living in the country, perhaps 153,333 postal outlets are necessary to serve one sixth of the world population.