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Buddha's last resting place discovered

The ninth Drona Stupa, which is said to be the site where the last rites of Lord Buddha were performed, has been located at Bhagwanganj village under Masaurih sub-division in Patna district.

Former director of archaeology P C Prasad, Lt Colonel Umesh Prasad of Danapur cantonment and an official of the archaeological department Jameel Akhtar discovered the Drona Stupa which is said to be built over a vessel with which a brahmin named Duna had distributed Buddha's relics to eight claimants.

Dr. Prasad said the Drona Stupa had been mentioned by Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang in his accounts and by various historians.

The team came across the Stupa at Bhagwanganj village where the remains of two large stupas still exist. However, atop one Stupa villagers erected a structure about 30 years ago.

Dr Prasad said the Stupa built around six or seven B C was likely to be where the last rites of the Buddha were performed and the relics distributed to eight other places. However, a detailed research would bear testimony to the fact, the archaeologist added.

Lt Colonel Prasad said the team had clearly found antiquity of the mounds of pre-Mauryan times on the site of the original Drona Stupa.

Renowned historian J D Beglar, who visited the village in 1872-73, mentioned the Stupa in his Archaeological Survey of India report. The Drona Stupa, the colonel said, had a diameter of 35 to 40 feet and a height of 20 feet. The Stupa, built of large bricks laid horizontally and set in mud and bricks, was identified as the Drona Stupa by Beglar.

Lt Colonel Prasad said the team had been able to identify most of the villages and towns whose names appear in various historical accounts on the Buddha.

The eight other Stupas identified were at Vaishali, Kapilvastu, Lumbini, Sranath, Rajgir, Nandangarh (Rampurwa), Patiliputra and Piprawha where the relics of the Buddha were said to be stored.

Beglar followed the path of Hiuen Tsang who proceeded about 17 miles south east of the Asylam Stupa at Arrah to another Stupa which was said to have been built by the Brahmnadrona.

The nineteen century historian wrote that if Hieun Tsang's bearings were correct, there ought to be traces of Buddhist remains thereabouts. He added while he was examining this, he discovered a small Stupa at Bhagwanganj and the remains of temples at other villages in the vicinity.

Belgar wrote, 'I would have excavated the mounds at Bhagwanganj but for the circumstances, that people would not hear of the samadhi of some saint being dug into...'

Dr Prasad said Beglar had obtained the literal translation of Hieun Tsang's passage in question where he had mentioned his journey from Mararaha (near Arrah town) to Bhagwanganj village and hence to Vaishali.

The team has also been able to trace out the ancient routes of Gaya-Patna, Rajgir-Arrah, Rajgir-Varanasi, Gaya-Varanasi and Rajgir-Munger. The team also discovered that the Buddha, having attained enlightenment during his journey to Sarnath, had passed through villages of Islampur, Dharwat, Mira Biha, Ghejon, Bishunpur and Sonbhadra where he crossed the river.



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