Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Kapilvastu Relics of Buddha


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kapilvastu Relics

Mains level: Places associated with Buddha

Kapilvastu Relics


  • India will showcase some relics of Lord Buddha, currently in its possession, in Thailand from February 22 to March 18.

Kapilvastu Relics: Details

  • Designation: The relics of Lord Buddha and his disciples Arahata Sariputra and Arahata Maudgalayana are known as the ‘Kapilvastu Relics.’
  • Origin: These relics, comprising 20 bone fragments, have been preserved at India’s National Museum.
  • Discovery: They were recovered in 1898 from a site in Bihar believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu. It was an inscribed casket found at the stupa site in Piprahwa (near Siddharthnagar in UP) that helped identify Kapilavastu.
  • Age: Dating back to the 4th or 5th Century BC, these relics were discovered in Bihar’s Piprahwa, believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu.
  • Excavation Details: The ASI unearthed these relics during excavations conducted from 1971 to 1977, discovering two inscribed steatite stone caskets containing 12 and 10 sacred relics, respectively.

Public Display in Thailand

  • Previous Exhibitions: Portions of these relics were earlier exhibited in Sri Lanka (1976, 2012), Mongolia (1993, 2022), Singapore (1994, 2007), South Korea (1995), and Thailand (1995).
  • Construction of Pagoda: The Thai government has built a special pagoda in Bangkok to enshrine the relics during the exhibition.

Significance of Display: Promotion of Indian Diplomacy

  • Diplomatic Achievement: This event signifies a diplomatic achievement for India, strengthening ties with Thailand and promoting cultural exchange.
  • Buddhist Circuit Development: The initiative aligns with India’s ‘Look East’ policy and emphasizes the promotion of soft power through cultural exchanges.
  • Past Engagements: India previously sent the relics to Mongolia in 2022 and Sri Lanka in 2012, showcasing its commitment to fostering cultural and spiritual ties.

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