Kapilavastu monastery [India hypothesis], (in) Piprahwa, Uttar Pradesh, IN

Raw data

A very old Buddhist site. Xuanzang found it nearly deserted. There were many monastery buildings but only 30 remaining monks. Acc. to the "India" hypothesis Kapilavastu is a site in current-day Uttar Pradesh [or, is it situated in Nepal ? - tmciolek, 3 Mar 2009]
Src: IN
Input by: SG Jan 22 2009

"The location of ancient Kapilavastu is still not accepted by some scholars in India although recognized by UNESCO to be in Nepal. Generally, Indian guidebooks and historians consider Piprahwa [110 km north of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh] to be the real Kapilavastu, while other guidebooks and historians consider Tilaurakot to be the real Kapilavastu."
Input by: tmciolek, Mar 3 2009

"South of Lumbini, but in Uttar Pradesh, identified through recent excavations, with Kapilavastu, the capital of the Sakya clan and the seat of Suddhodana’s capital. […] The ancient city, now in ruins, from where Buddhism started, abounds in several stupas. Stone caskets containing relics believed to be that of Buddha, have been recovered from the main stupa.
Location: Uttar Pradesh
Known As: Kapilvastu
Famous As: Buddhist Site
Nearest Town: Gorakhpur
There is a host of evidence to prove today that Piprahwa is the Kapilvastu of Buddha's times. The geographical conditions of Kapilvastu as described in Buddhist epics are similar to those in Piprahwa. The 'Asthi-patra' found in 1897-98 A.D., clearly matches the engravings in Piprahwa. The 1971 excavations in Piprahwa revealed clinching evidence in terms of relics of the Buddha period. The discovery of an earthen pot which had Kapilvastu engraved on it confirmed Piprahwa's ancient legacy. Some coins of the same period were also excavated. Piprahwa lies between two important Buddhist destinations - Lumbini (birthplace of Buddha in Nepal) and Srawasti (where Buddha spent 27 monsoons)."

Birdpur, India Page
World:India:State of Uttar Pradesh
Latitude 27.3833 Longitude 83.1167

"Piprahwa is a village in the area of Kapilavastu, north of Birdpur in the Siddharthnagar District, Uttar Pradesh, India.[1] There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just 1.5 km away."
Input by: tmciolek, Mar 3 2009

"Nigrodhārāma was a Banyan grove near Kapilavastu, where a residence was provided for the Buddha when he visited the city in the first year after his Enlightenment.[1] It belonged to a Sākyan named Nigrodha, who gave it to the Monastic Order."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigrodharama
Input by: tmciolek, 6 Jun 2013

This important stupa and monastic site is located lat. 27 degrees, 26, 30 N by 83 degrees 7-50 E. The largest stupa is likely of the Gupta era, but was subjected to destructive amateur excavation in the nineteenth century. The inscription on the relic casket suggests that the contents were placed inside not long after the Buddha's death. The site has three monasteries. One is a square building located about 50' south of the stupa with small cells surrounding a courtyard. A second monastery is located about 80' north of the stupa and includes a portico, a verandah and a courtyard. About 88' east-northeast of the stupa is a third monastery, a large quadralinear building with thirty cells surrounding a courtyard. At the time that Mitra visited the site there was evidence of a wood outside door and a few doors to cells.
This is a Hinayana site with no artwork or sculpture suggesting Mahayana connections.
The number of identified cells suggest at least fifty monks in residence.
The evidence of burnt wood suggests this monastery was destroyed by fire. Other ruined buildings on the site remain unidentified. Xuan Zang, the seventh century Buddhist pilgrim describes Kapilavastu as close to Lumbini, making this site the a strong contender for ancient Kapilivastu.
See Debala Mitra, Buddhist Monuments (Calcutta, Sahitya Samsad, 1971), 81-82.
Input by: Stewart Gordon 29 Mar 2015

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 29 Mar 2015

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Kapilavastu monastery, IN.

General location of the Kapilavastu monastery, IN.
lat=27.3833 long=83.1167
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kapilavastu monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Uttar Pradesh

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Theravada - Mitra (1971:81-82)

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • Active at the time of Buddha's life - SG Jan 22 2009
  • MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 6 Jun 2013
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • In the 630s, during Xuanzang's visit, the monastery was in steep decline - SG Jan 22 2009
  • MBM chrono-tag 0633-66c - tmciolek 6 Jun 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • At least fifty monks in residence - Mitra (1971:81-82)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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