Frontline Volume 22 - Issue 04, Feb. 12 - 25, 2005
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HERITAGE

Was the Buddha born in Orissa?

PRAFULLA DAS



A large image of the Buddha at the Udayagiri monastery.

WAS the Buddha born in Orissa? If a section of Buddhist scholars are to be believed, yes. A debate over the claim that Kapileswar, a place near Bhubaneswar, was the real birthplace of the Buddha is gaining momentum with researchers and scholars. The State government, too, has supported the claim.

Damodar Rout, the State Culture Minister, said that the missing inscriptions pertaining to the Buddha's birthplace should be traced at the Ashutosh Museum in Kolkata, the National Museum in New Delhi, the National Museum in Colombo and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, as the inscriptions found from Kapileswar had been taken for verification to these museums.

The claim was first made at a press conference in Bhubaneswar by Rout, who also addressed presspersons in New Delhi to highlight Orissa's claim.

The claim was recently backed by Hermann Kulke, a German scholar. There was an urgent need for excavation in and around the Kaplileswar area to find out the truth, Kulke said.

The claim that the Buddha was born in Orissa was originally made in a book written by the historian Chakradhar Mohapatra during the 1930s, according to Rout.

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