Kapilvastu is the ancient Shakya kingdom, belonging to the royal family of Prince Siddhartha. Here, the prince before the realization and search of answers to his questions spent his early years of life in princely leisure and royal comforts. This intrinsic Buddhist connection makes the small town indeed a holy place of reverence among Buddhists all over the world.
Presently, a small village of Piprahwa is a continuing legacy of Kapilvastu’s Buddhist heritage. Located near Indo-Nepal borders in Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh between Lumbini and Sravasti, Kapilvastu is prominently known as Piprahwa in contemporary world. But this new name to the town hasn’t faded away the rich illustrious Buddhist past of the site. This Sakya territory, presently in ruins is known to host one of the earliest relic caskets with Brahmi inscription that are believed to be of Lord Buddha. The enshrinement of Buddha’s mortal relics here depicts the importance of the site in the life of the lord, identified as Kapilvastu.
Kapilvastu tour trails through the excavated ruins of stupas and mounds belonging to the Kushan period. An excavated stupa bears the inscription illustrating the existence of an ancient monastery, Devaputra. Two small mounds around 1.5 km Piprahwa are considered to be the ruins of King Suddhodhana's palace.
The place also depicts the transition of Buddha from the luxuriant prince to an ascetic on a mission to find the ultimate truth of life and enlightenment. The thought to rise up and end the miserable conditions of life gave up the way to Lord’s enlightenment. This enlightening development also led the way to the birth of one of the world's greatest religions, Buddhism.
Tourist Attractions at Kapilvastu -
The ruined remains of the village have an earthy spiritualism roots that depict the waning of even a glorious kingdom. Kapilvastu tour also reveals that whatever shines will fade eventually. Even though the location doesn’t have any temple or shrine, still it has stupa mounds scattered around the place, built by Ashoka and the Gupta Kings. There site also hosts the enshrined relics of Lord Buddha himself that were distributed in eight parts after Lord’s mortal cremation.
Excursions from Kapilvastu -
Lumbini: Lumbini, the revered birthplace of Prince Siddhartha or Gautama Buddha is known as a Buddhist pilgrimage site hosting Maya Devi Temple, Pushkarini Pond and an inscribed Asokan Pillar. Due to the inscription, the site is recognized as a world heritage site.
Sarnath: Sarnath, the site of Lord Buddha’s first sermon is also the location where he turned the wheel of law in the presence of the first five followers. Dhamekh Stupa here marks the presence of Mulagandhakuti vihara or Deer park where Lord gave his first sermon. Chaukhandi, the another stupa marks the spot where Lord met his first five disciples in Sarnath.
Amongst the contributions of Emperor Ashoka is the Lion Capital Pillar which is the four lion statue. This splendid contribution of the Mauryan Emperor is the modern day National Emblem of India. Also, the famous Ashoka Chakra is a part of India’s Flag.
Kushinagar: The fourth important Buddhist pilgrimage site, Kushinagar is the place of Lord’s final parinirvana or refuge. Mahaparinirvana Temple enshrining the reclining Buddha statue, Nirvana Stupa and Matha Kuar shrine are the most and must visited Buddhist heritage attractions of the city.
How to Reach in Kapilvastu -
Air: The best way to reach Kushinagar by air is through Bhairahwa and/or Kathmandu airport. Regular buses ply to Kapilvastu from Kathmandu. However Kapilvastu Tour can also be reached through Varanasi (India) connected through many flights with all major cities of India.
Rail: Siddhartha Nagar, at a distance of 20 km, is the nearest railhead, connected to major destinations in India. However, Gorakhpur could be the choice of most, being a well-known railway junction.
Road: Good motorable road exist in the region which connect Kapilvastu to major destinations in India and Nepal. Private buses and Taxis are available from all major cities like Varanasi and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.