Tilaurakot in Kapilvastu

In the ancient city of Kapilavastu, Prince Siddhartha spent his formative years from birth until the age of 29. As the capital of the ancient Sakya Kingdom, Kapilavastu provided the prince with a life of opulence and luxury, a lifestyle he would later renounce to embark on his spiritual quest.

At the age of 29, Prince Siddhartha departed through Kapilavastu’s eastern gate to commence his journey towards enlightenment as Buddha. Today, one can stand at this precise location, gazing through the gate onto the green fields where the initial steps of this profound journey unfolded. This moment has become a significant aspect of contemporary spiritual pilgrimages.

The remnants of the ancient capital, now situated in modern-day Tilaurakot, have undergone extensive excavation and restoration. Ongoing archaeological efforts continue to unveil additional facets of the city, shedding light on Siddhartha Gautama’s life.

Once a bustling civic center from the 9th century BC to the 3rd century AD, Kapilavastu boasted numerous grand structures, including palaces, temples, roads, and ponds. Archaeologists have already uncovered some of these structures, and artifacts from the excavations are showcased at the nearby Kapilavastu Museum.

The adjacent Kapilavastu Museum features an exhibition displaying artifacts discovered during the archaeological work in Tilaurakot. A new museum is under construction to house the treasures unearthed from the site.

Tilaurakot holds significance in Hinduism as well, featuring a rustic modern Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Samai Mai within the ancient walls, attracting worshippers regularly.

While exploring the Tilaurakot site, one gains a sense of the city’s scale where Buddha spent his early years. Yet, amidst this grandeur, the isolation and protection provided by his father become apparent. It is easy to envision the young prince, surrounded by the walls of Kapilavastu, contemplating a deeper calling beyond the material world.

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