Niglihawa in Kapilvastu

Located approximately 7km northeast of Taulihawa, Niglihawa is recognized as the sacred site where Kanakamuni Buddha was born. In 249 BC, Emperor Asoka visited the site and erected a stone pillar with an inscription. The Brahmi script and Pali language inscription on the Asoka pillar attest to the fact that Emperor Asoka expanded the stupa of Kanakamuni Buddha, worshipped it, and erected a stone pillar to commemorate the birthplace on the occasion of the twentieth year of his coronation. The pillar also carries an inscription, “Om mani padme hum and Sri Ripu Malla Chiram Jayatu 1234,” by King Ripu Malla in the year 1234 (Saka Era corresponding to 1312 AD).

Discovered by Dr. Alois Fuhrer in 1895 AD, the pillar is currently in a broken state, divided into two pieces. The lower part, including an edict, measures 10 feet, 6 inches (3.20 m), while the upper half is 14 feet 9 inches in length, with a diameter of 2 feet at its uppermost and 2 feet 6 inches at its lower end.

Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hien and Hiuen-Tsang celebrated the Kanakamuni Stupa and Asoka Pillar in their travel accounts. Regrettably, both the basement and the capital of the pillar, along with the lion atop mentioned by Hiuen Tsang, are still missing. A recent addition to the site is a small stone statue featuring the image of Kanakamuni Buddha.

The Roman version of the inscription on the pillar, written in the Brahmi script and Pali language, translates to:

“Devanam piyena piyadasin lajina-chodasavasa bhisitena Budhasa Konakamanasa thube-dutyam vadhite Visativa sabhisitena –cha atana-agacha-mahiyite silathabe-cha usa papite.”

The English translation of the inscription, as provided by Smith in 1969, is as follows:

“His Majesty King Priyadarsina in the 14th year of his reign enlarged for the second time the stupa of the Buddha Kanakamuni and in the 20th year of his reign, having come in person, paid reverence and set up a stone pillar.”

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