Kendrapara, Dec 24 (LocalWire) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated an archaeological museum located at the famous Buddhist site Lalitgiti, 20 km from here.
The museum was inaugurated through video conference from Bhubaneswar.
Large numbers of locals and many senior officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) were present at Lalitgiri at the time of the inauguration.
The ASI shifted the holy relic of Lord Buddha from their office in Bhubaneswar to the newly built museum on Dec 23.
The relic was unearthed at Lalitgiri in 1986, said ASI Bhubaneswar superintendent Arun Malik.
In the past, Laligiri locals have made repeated requests to bring Lord Buddha’s relic to the village.
The relic was 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 has been installed at the enclosure of the relic in the museum.
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.