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
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
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