Kapilvastu (Piprahwa)

Kapilvastu (Piprahwa)

Kapilvastu (Piprahwa)

Location Near Indo-Nepal border (Nepal border at Aligarhwa is 1 km from here), in Siddharth Nagar District of U.P., India
Distances About 94 km north of Gorakhpur, Kushinagar 148 km, Naugarh (Siddharth Nagar District) 20 km, Varanasi 327 km, Lucknow 308 km, Lumbini (Nepal) 86 km, Sravasti 147 km
Ideal time to visit Oct.-April, Specially during Kapilvastu festival (Mahotsava) from 29th Dec.-31st Dec. every year
Timings/opening Sunrise- Sunset, opens on all days
Attractions Historical & Religious
How to reach Airport- Gorakhpur Airport 109 km, Amausi Airport-Lucknow 310 km, Babatpur-Varanasi 327 km
Rail- Siddharth Nagar (Naugarh) railway station 20 km, which is located on NER loop line
Road- Well connected by good motorable road, SH-1A & then NH-29 Extension to reach Gorakhpur. Private buses and taxies are available from all the major cities of the region

Kapilvastu is the important Buddhist place and is located between two important Buddhist places Lumbini (In Nepal; Birth place of Buddha) & Sravasti (where Buddha spent 27 monsoons of his life). Kapilvastu was the capital city of Shakya Republic during the 6th Century BC. The Shakya domain was one of the 16 Mahajanpadas (republics) of 6th century BC (the earliest republics of the world). The city was the seat of King Sudhodhana, father of Lord Buddha. Prince Siddhartha (childhood name of Lord Buddha), spent most of his early years here. He grew up amidst luxury and was kept away from miseries of life. But one day, having seen the pain of life,he broke out of the luxurious entrapment of his father and renounced all the worldly riches & pleasure, at the age of 29 in search for truth and salvation for which he proceeded to Bodhgaya (Bihar) and

revisited it 12 years later,long after he attained Enlightenment. It is believed that Lord Buddha preached "Madhupindika Sutta" in kapilvastu.
The site has been excavated during 1971-77, when two mounds were excavated in the vicinity of this area. Today Kapilvastu comprises of several villages. Chief among them are Piprahwa, Ganvaria & Salargarh.
Accommodation is available in hotel Shakya (Rahi) Motel developed by U.P. Tourism but the building is not in good condition & not worth staying. Good accommodation is also available in Royal Retreat (Heritage hotel) located in Shivpattinagar Mohana crossing, at distance of 14.5 km from Kapilvastu (Phone-+91-5544-261219, Fax-+91-5544-261049,email-dependra@theroyalretreat.com,web-www.theroyalretreat.com,www.trrshivpatinagar.com ).

Places to see:

Ganvaria Archaeological Site (Royal Palace)-Situated in Ganvaria Village, the site is ½km from the main stupa (Piprahwa). Excavations at Ganvaria exposed two massive baked brick structural complexes (having impressive projected entrance in the east), which were the residential premises of the chief of the capital town of Kapilvastu, i.e., Shakya King Suddhodhana & his predecessors. Lord Buddha spent initial 27 years of his life here. Of the two structures, the larger structure on the west has 25 rooms with gallery, covering an area of about 39 sq. mts., while the eastern one has only 21 rooms spreading over about 26 sq. mts. area. Both these structures have central courtyard. The structure & large antiquities found here, confirm it to be the residential complex of the chief of the capital town of Kapilvastu.

Salargarh Archaeological Site- The site is located 200 mts. east of Piprahwha, where a monastery of Kushan Period is excavated. The monastery is approached from the north through a flight of steps. A small stupa has also been found to the north of the monastery. The layout of the monastery is different from monastery found in Piprahwa.

Main Stupa - After the death of Lord Buddha, Shakays also received 1/8 part of Buddha relics over which they constructed a stupa. This is the main archaeological site discovered during the excavations of 1971-76.The stupa constructed by the Shakyas has been identified with the stupa at Piprahwa which was first indicated by an inscription found over a soft stone casket recovered by W.C. Peppe in 1898. Archaeological excavations at the site (1771-76) have revealed large number of terracotta seals. Location of ancient Kapilvastu, the capital of Shakya was established, through 31 terracotta seals, excavated from this site. These seals are inscribed in Brahmi characters of the 1st-2nd Century AD. One of the seal reads "Om Devaputra Vihare Kapilvastu Bhikshu Sangh" (This is the

Devputra Vihar of Kapilvastu Bhikshu sangh). It could be inferred from these seals that ancient city of Kapilvastu must have been in the immediate neighbourhood of the Stupa & Monastery.
Kanishka, a great patron of Buddhism & who also had the title of Devputra, built the biggest Vihar at Kapilvastu and also renovated the main stupa. Sri Lankan temple, monastery & the Mahendra Mahavihar also lies in the vicinity of the ruins of this site. Excavations of the Stupa also yielded relic casket containing charred bones. It is believed to be of Gautam Buddha, Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang has also mentioned this in his travel-memo. A stone box containing relic casket of different shapes & sizes was also discovered during the closing year of last century. Also a number of structures including a public hall were constructed subsequently around the stupa, of which the most impressive was the monastery lying to the east of the stupa, which yielded the sealings with legend of Kapilvastu.