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Kapilavastu (Pāli: Kapilavatthu) is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists, located close to Lumbini. The result of years of excavation and research by numerous international teams have concluded that Kapilavastu is in Nepal and is acknowledged by the UNESCO as well as the governments of India and Nepal.

The search for Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century.


Tilaurakot had been the citadel complex of the larger surrounding Kapilvastu Kingdom, founded by Lord Buddha's father Śuddhodana, the chief of the Shakya nation, one of several ancient tribes in the growing state of Kosala. "kot" in Tilaurakot is Nepalese denoting fortress. It lies approximately five kilometers north of Taulihawa, the modern district center of Kapilvastu District, (approx. 30,000 inhabitants). Tilaurakot was excavated by Robin Coningham and Armin Schmidt. The excavation revealed a considerable walled fortress approximately 300 meters long and 200 meters wide and containing exposed foundations of several building complexes. Some 150 meters before Tilaurakot's western gate (the modern main entrance) lies a small, neglected, but quaint museum housing coins, painted grey ware and northern black polished ware pottery, and toys excavated from the site dating between the seventh century BC and fourth century AD. The museum also has good collection of jewellery and other ornaments of that period.

Tilaurakot lies 25 kilometers east of Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama. The Buddha grew up and lived in Tilaurakot/Kapilvastu Kingdom to the age of 29. Siddhartha spent his early life in Kapilavastu as a prince, mostly oblivious of worldly miseries. He was married to Yashodhara and had a son named Rahul. Upon confronting worldly miseries such as disease, aging and death, he left Kapilavastu in search of enlightenment and in quest of answers to his questions about such miseries, pain and sufferings.

Thirty five kilometers to the west lies Gautam Buddha Airport, in Bhairahawa (Siddharthanagar) Nepal, built for pilgrims to Lumbini and Kapilavastu with daily multiple flights to Kathmandu.

The location of Tilaurakot is at the following coordinates: 27°34′35″N 83°03′18″E / 27.576455°N 83.054978°E / 27.576455; 83.054978Coordinates: 27°34′35″N 83°03′18″E / 27.576455°N 83.054978°E / 27.576455; 83.054978.

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Picture Gallery of Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot)


The location of ancient Kapilavastu is still the subject of debate, although recognized by UNESCO to be in Nepal. Generally, most Indian guidebooks consider Piprahwa to be the real Kapilavastu, while other guidebooks consider Tilaurakot to be the real Kapilavastu.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has a board outside Piprahwa, an archaeological site in India (south of Lumbini), which claims the site as the historic Kapilavastu. Piprahwa is 110 km north of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Remains of a large stupa and a number of monastic buildings, mostly dating to the early centuries AD were found during excavations from 1975 to 1979, including a relic casket of early date [1]. Also found were a number of sealings referring to Kapilavastu, which would seem to demonstrate the link. However, the association of Piprahwa (or technically the township of Ganwaria to its south) with Kapilavastu has not been accepted by any international bodies, not even the central government of India.

The UNESCO has declared 'Nepali' Kapilavastu, along with Lumbini, as a World Heritage site.

See also

  • Lumbini, the site of birth of Gautama Buddha.
  • Nigrodharama, a Buddhist Monastery close to Kapilavastu, where Buddha used to live when visiting Kapilavastu.


  1. Srivastava, K M (1986) Discovery of Kapilavastu

External links

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