The Sacred Kapilavastu Relics (fragments of Buddha’s bones) will travel from India to in Sri Lanka in August. These will be on display across Sri Lanka from August 20 to September 5. The relics will have the status of a Head of State in Sri Lanka.

An agreement to make this happen was signed in Colombo today by H.P. Cashian Herath, Secretary, Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka, and Pravin Srivastava, Director General, National Museum, India.

The Exposition is being organised in Sri Lanka at the request made by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide an opportunity to the followers of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to pay homage to the Kapilavastu Relics. The Agreement lays down the necessary arrangements to be made by the Government of Sri Lanka for the exposition of Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka as per the following schedule

It would be for the second time since their discovery 113 years ago, the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics will travel to Sri Lanka from India’s National Museum situated in New Delhi. The first Exposition of Sacred Relics in Sri Lanka was in 1978.

The Relics were excavated by Alexander Cunningham, the first director of the Archaeological Survey of India, in the late 19th century from ruins in Piprahwa, in present day Bihar; Piprahwa was known as Kapilavastu in ancient Indian history. Historical chronicles record that, after the Buddha’s “Parinibbana” (passing away), the holy Relics taken from the cremation site were divided into eight portions, and handed over to separate groups for preservation. According to “Mahaparinibbana Sutta”, penned in the fifth century BC, one portion of the Buddha’s bodily Relics was handed to the Sakyas of Kapilavastu. These came to be known as the Kapilavastu Relics.

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