Sacred Kapilavastu Buddhist relics arrive in SL

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was on hand today to receive the sacred Kapilavastu Buddhist relics which travelled to Sri Lanka from India after more than 30 years.

Rajapaksa received the relics of Buddha (bone fragments excavated in Kapilavastu and considered sacred by Buddhists) at a stately ceremony at the Bandaranaike airport here.

The Kapilavastu relics were requested by Rajapaksa from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, enabling the Buddhist majority country to pay homage. The relics exposition here will be the second since 1978.

A special Indian Airforce flight carrying the relics was accompanied by the Indian Minister of Culture Kumari Selja and the Director General of the national museum of India.

Discovered 113 years ago by the first director of the Archaeological Survey of India, Alexander Cunningham, the Kapilavastu relics are believed to contain Gautam Buddha`s remains. The relics were found during excavations at Piprahwa in present day Bihar.

Piprahwa is believed to be the ancient Kapilavastu where Buddha renounced worldly pleasures.