Kendrapara, Dec 21 (LocalWire) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Friday said they have decided to shift the holy relic of Lord Buddha from the their Bhubaneswar office to the newly built museum at famous Buddhist site Lalitgiri, 20 kilometers from here, on Dec 23.
Pertinently, the museum will be inaugurated by Prime Mister Narendra Modi on Dec 24.
The relic was unearthed at Lalitgiri in 1986, said ASI, Bhubaneswar, Superintendent Arun Malik on Friday.
In the past, Laligiri locals have made repeated requests to bring Lord Buddha’s relic to the village.
The relic would be covered by bullet-proof glass dome in one of the strong rooms of the museum, being built at a cost of Rs. 9 crore.
CCTV cameras will be installed at the enclosure of the relic in the museum.
Locals, Buddhist monks and tourists will visit Lalitgiri to witness the holy relic after the inauguration of the museum.
At present the relic has been kept in a strong room ASI in Bhubaneswer for security reasons.
“We have recently kept many stone images of Lord Buddha and other images in the newly built museum, which were unearthed at Lalitgiri,” said Malik.
Buddha relics are the remains of Buddha and are sacred treasures which are revered and respected by Buddhist devotees.
The authenticity of the relics has been proved archaeologically and scientifically and also on the basis of Buddhist literature, said Malik.
The archaeological treasures of Lalitgiri were first brought to notice in 1869 by Chandrasekhar Banerjee leading to subsequent documentation of the site by P.P. Chanda in 1927-28.
Considering its archaeological importance , the ancient vestiges were declared centrally protected in 1937.
Later in 1985, the ASI started excavation and unearthed a massive stupa on hill top of Lalitagiri.
Several stone images of Buddha and others, including three Buddha vihars, were unearthed .
But a magnificent discovery at Lalitgiri was a golden casket containing tiny bones, presumed to be the relics of Lord Buddha and his favourite disciple.
The relics are kept like a Chinese puzzle box in four independent caskets one inside the other, forming a unique unity.
Those caskets are of Khandolite, stupa shaped, pale grey soap stone, with silver and gold enclosed .
The casket was discovered from among the ruins of a stupa on the Lalitagiri hill.
“We are extremely happy that the the relic will be housed at the museum at Lalitgiri,” said noted Buddhist scholar researcher Dr Haris Chandra Prusti.
Six years back, Jajpur MP Mohan Jena, noted historian Harish Chandra Prusti and many locals of Lalitgiri demanded before the union minister of culture in New Delhi to keep Lord Buddha’s holy relic at a museum in Lalitgiri.
“We are happy that the relic will be back soon to Lalitgiri after more than three decades,” said Debendra Sharma, president of Buddhayan, a cultural organization of Lalitgiri.