Explained: The four Buddha relics travelling to Mongolia as ‘state guest’, their importance

Four sacred relics of Lord Buddha are being taken to Mongolia for an 11-day exhibition on the occasion of Mongolian Buddha Purnima celebrations. A 25-member delegation, led by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, will be on display at the Batsagan temple in Ulaanbaatar’s Gandan monastery complex along with the relics on their onward visit on Monday.

The four relics come from 22 Buddha relics, which are currently housed in the National Museum in Delhi. Together, they are known as ‘Kapilvastu Relics’ because they are from a site in Bihar that is believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu.

The site was discovered in 1898.

holy relics

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According to Buddhist beliefs, at the age of 80, Buddha attained salvation in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The Mallas of Kushinagar performed the last rites of his body with ceremonies as a universal king. His remains were collected from the funeral pyre and divided into eight parts, which were to be distributed among the Lichchhavis of Magadha. VaishaliThe Shakyas of Kapilavastu, the Mallas of Kushinagar, the Bulli of Allakappa, the Mallas of Pava, the Kolias of Ramgram and the Brahmins of Vethdeep. The purpose was to erect a stupa over the sacred relics. Two more stupas were built – one over the Kalash in which the relics were collected and the other over the coals.

The stupas (Saririka Stupa) built on the bodily remains of Buddha are the earliest surviving Buddhist temples. It is said that Ashoka (272–232 BCE), being an ardent follower of Buddhism, uncovered seven of these eight stupas, and the relics within the 84,000 stupas built by him in an attempt to popularize Buddhism. collected a large part of as a cult of stupas.

Kapilvastu Remains

The discovery of an inscribed coffin at the stupa site at Piprahwa (near Siddharthnagar, UP) in 1898 helped to identify the place with ancient Kapilvastu. The inscription on the cover of the coffin, which refers to the relics of the Buddha and his community, the Shakyas, reads: ‘Sukiti bhatinam sa-bhaginikanam sa-puta-dalanam iyam salila nidhare bhadasha bhagavate sakiyanam.’

Top view of sacred Buddha relics dated to 4th – 5th century BC, Piprahwa (Ancient Kapilvastu) District, Siddhartha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. (Photo: National Museum, New Delhi)

It is roughly translated as: “This temple to the relics of the Buddha, an Augusta, belongs to the Sakya. The brothers of Pratishtha, with their sisters, and with their children and their wives.”

According to the records of the Ministry of Culture, this discovery was followed by several explorations. A further excavation of the stupa by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1971–77 – apart from revealing three phases of construction – brought to light two more steatite relic coffins, containing a total of 22 sacred bone relics, which are now under the care of the National of the museum.

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This was followed by the discovery of more than 40 terracotta ceilings from various levels and locations in the Eastern Monastery at Piprahwa, which said, ‘Om Devaputra Vihara Kapilavastus Bhikshu Sangha’, which means “the community of Buddhist monks of Kapilvastu living in the Devaputra Vihara”. “, and “Maha Kapilavastu Bhikshu Sangha” in the Brahmi script of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, which establish that Piprahwa was the ancient Kapilavastu.

safety for travel

During the 11-day visit, the remains will be accorded ‘state guest’ status in Mongolia and transported to the same climate control case in which they are currently housed in the National Museum.

For travel, the Indian Air Force has provided a special airplane, the C-17 Globemaster, which is one of the largest aircraft available in India. Two bullet-proof casings as well as two ceremonial coffins are being carried by the Indian delegation for both the remains.

In 2015, the sacred relics were placed under the ‘AA’ category of antiquities and art treasures, which should not be taken out of the country for exhibition in view of their fragile nature. But at the request of the Mongolian government, the government made a special exception and allowed the display of sacred relics in Mongolia.


‘या लेखात समाविष्ट असलेल्या कोणत्याही माहिती/सामग्री/गणनाची अचूकता किंवा विश्वसनीयता हमी नाही. ही माहिती विविध माध्यमे / ज्योतिषी / पंचांग / प्रवचन / विश्वास / धर्मग्रंथांमधून गोळा करून तुमच्यासाठी आणली गेली आहे. आमचा हेतू फक्त माहिती पोहोचवणे आहे, त्याच्या वापरकर्त्यांनी ती फक्त माहिती म्हणून घ्यावी. याव्यतिरिक्त, त्याचा कोणताही वापर वापरकर्त्याची स्वतःची जबाबदारी असेल. ‘

‘The accuracy or reliability of any information/material/calculation contained in this article is not guaranteed. This information has been brought to you by collecting from various mediums / astrologers / almanacs / discourses / beliefs / scriptures. Our purpose is only to deliver information, its users should take it as mere information. In addition, any use thereof shall be the responsibility of the user himself.’


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