Aug 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by the Maha Sangha ceremonially received the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics arrived in a special Indian aircraft today at the Colombo International Airport in Katunayake.
A special Indian delegation led by the Minister of Culture, Kumari Selja brought the sacred relics to Sri Lanka in a special Indian Air Force aircraft.
The President received the relics from the Indian Minister and carried to the VIP lounge where about 100 Maha Sangha chanted Pirith to receive the blessings from the relics.
Following the ceremony, the sacred relics were transported in a special motorcade to the Manelwatte Viharaya in Kelaniya where it will be displayed for public viewing from today until August 21.
After the motorcade left, the President held a bilateral discussion with the Indian delegation and thanked the Indian Minister for bringing the relics to Sri Lanka. India's High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha also was present at the meeting.
The exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics will run from August 19 to September 4 at several locations.
The sacred relics will be displayed at Pelmadulla Raja Maha Viharaya on August 22-23, at Jayanthi Viharaya Anuradhapura from August 24-26, at Aggrabodhi Viharaya Kantale on August 27 & 28, at Naranwita Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Viharaya Gampola on August 29 & 30, at Sri Sumangala Pirivena in Wariyapola on August 31 and September 1, and at Kotikagoda Raja Maha Viharaya in Matara from September 2-4.
The Exposition is organized in Sri Lanka at the request made by Sri Lankan President to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide an opportunity to the Sri Lankan Buddhists to pay homage to the Kapilavastu Relics.
The Sacred Kapilavastu Relics traveled to Sri Lanka from India's National Museum in New Delhi for the second time since their discovery 113 years ago. The first exposition of Sacred Relics in Sri Lanka was in 1978.
The first director of the Archaeological Survey of India Alexander Cunningham excavated the Relics in the late 19th century from ruins in Piprahwa, in present day Bihar. Piprahwa was known as Kapilavastu in ancient Indian history.
The exposition of the Kapilavastu Relics is one of the activities organized by India jointly with Sri Lanka to celebrate the 2600th Sambuddathwa Jayanthi anniversary.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)