In the footsteps of Buddha: Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut remains

Pyone digging for AungMyay earth of the Kapilavastu palace to take back home

the shadow of the photographer at the Kapilavastu palace remains

We reached Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut palace remains on 17-December, the 7th day of our pilgrimage after the night’s stay in Lumbini Burmese Vihar / monastery.

Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut palace is the place where prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta lived till the age of 29 when he saw old man, sick man, dead man and monk and left the palace and family in search of the escape from suffering. The palace remains still stand in modern Piprahawa; Lumbini lies 5-6 km away to the southeast.

The remains of ancient Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut, the Shakya capital have been found with a 22 feet wide moat and a 10 feet wide defence wall

Kapilavastu, where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29. Kapilvastu is the name of the place in question as well as of the neighbouring district.

In the Account of Chinese monk Fa-Hien’s travels in India and Ceylon A.D. 399-414 in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline, Fa-Hien wrote about Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut:

Chapter XXII

KAPALIVASTU, ITS DESOLATION. LEGENDS OF BUDDHA’S BIRTH AND OTHER INCIDENTS IN CONNEXION WITH IT

There was neither king nor people. All was mound and desolation. Of inhabitants, there were only some monks and a score or two of families of the common people. At the spot where stood the old palcace of Suddhodana there have been images of the prince (his eldest son) and his mother; and at the places where that son appeared mounted on a white elephant when he entered his mother’s womb, and where he turned his carriage round on seeing the sick man after he had gone out of the city by the eastern gate, topes have been erected. The places where (the rishi) A-e inspected the marks (if Buddhaship on the body) of the heir-apparent (when an infant); where, when he was in company with Nanda and others, on the elephant being struck down and drawn to one side, he tossed it away; where he shot his arrow to the south-east, and it went a distance of 30 li, then entering the ground and making a spring to come forth, which men subsequently fashioned into a well from which  travelers might drink; where, after he had attained Wisdom, Buddha returned and saw the king, his father; where 500 Sakyas quitted their families and did reverence to Upali while the earth shook and moved in 6 different ways; where Buddha preached His Law to the devas, and 4 deva kings and others kept the 4 doors of the hall, so that even the king, his father, could not enter; where Buddha sat under a nyagroda tree; which is still standing, with his face to the east, and His aunt Maja-prajapati presented Him with a Sangali; and where king Vaiduya slew the seed of Sakya, and they all in dying became Srotapannas. A tope was erected at this last place, which is still existing. (Chinese monk Fa-Hien_5th Centuary A.D.)

The Eastern gateway, also known as “Mahabhinishkramana Dwara” is the gate from which Lord Buddha left his worldly life.

The Western gateway is the main gate of entrance and departure.

While there, I was told by a co-pilgrim U Htun Win, who was on his 3rd BodhaGaya pilgrimage, to take some earth from the palace grounds as he had done so_the place is the Aung Myay from which prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta began his quest for escape from sufferings. Pyone and I dug some earth and took it back (as we had done in BodhaGaya earlier, at the request of my childhood friend Moe Win; I gave some of each to him).

The palace is not very big and reminds me of the movie Little Buddha.

It is here that prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta took the last look at the sleeping YaThawDaYar and newborn son Rahula / YarHuLar, and left by the eastern gate at midnight with the minister HsanNa on KanDaKa horseback. At the eastern gate, Mah Nat tried to stop Siddhartha / TheikDatHta but failed. He continued his journey and reached the Anawmar river in the morning.

the Eastern gate through which Prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta left worldly life

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