In an 11-day exposition which falls on the same day as Budhha Purnima in India, four holy relics of Lord Buddha reach Mongolia. These relics accompany 22 Buddha relics, known as the Kapilavastu relics. The relics are currently at Delhi’s National Museum. They will be displayed at the Batsagaan Temple in Gandan Tegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.
These relics were recovered from a site in 1898 in Bihar - the ancient city of Kapilavastu. Located at the stupa site in Piprahwa (near Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh), an inscribed casket was found. This helped in identifying the ancient city of Kapilavastu. The inscribed casket contained relics of Buddha and Sakya, his community.
According to the records of the Union Ministry of Culture, several explorations were done to find this discovery. As per a report, the Archaeological Survey of India, excavation of the stupa in 1971-77 brought to light two more steatite relic caskets containing 22 sacred bone relics. This is now under the National Museum. Along with this, over 40 terracotta sealings were also discovered.
In a landmark step for India-Mongolia relations,a 25-member Indian delegation led by Union Minister @KirenRijiju reached Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with the holy relics of Lord Buddha. pic.twitter.com/hH9ubFM76m— PIB Culture (@PIBCulture) June 13, 2022
As per the Buddhist belief, at the age of 80, lord Buddha obtained salvation in Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh). Lord Buddha was cremated as a universal king by the Mallas of Kushinagar. The relics were divided into eight shares among the Licchavis of Vaishali, Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Ajathsatrus of Magadha, Mallas of Kushinagar, Mallas of Pava, Bullies of Allakappa, Koliyas of Ramagrama and a Brahmana of Vethadipa. These were done to construct stupas over the relics. Apart from this, two stupas – one over the embers and one over the urn, were also gathered.
Saririka stupas, erected over Buddha’s body, are the earliest shrines of Buddhism. In order to increase the reach of Buddhism, Ashoka (272-232 BC), erected seven out of these eight stupas and relics for enshrinement within 84,000 stupas.