Kapilavastu (ancient city)

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Procession of king Suddhodana from Kapilavastu, proceeding to meet his son the Buddha walking in mid-air (head raised at the bottom of the panel), and to give him a Banyan tree (bottom left corner).[1] The dream of Maya at the top of the panel is a sure marker of Kapilavastu. Sanchi.
Proposed location of Kapilavastu, in Tilaurakot and Piprahwa, in South Asia.
Proposed location of Kapilavastu, in Tilaurakot and Piprahwa, each on a different side of the India-Nepal frontier.

Kapilavastu was an ancient city which was the capital of the clan of the Shakyas in Ancient India. King Śuddhodana and Queen Māyā are believed to have lived at Kapilavastu, as did their son Prince Siddartha Gautama until he left the palace at the age of 29.[2]

Buddhist texts such as the Pāli Canon claim that Kapilavastu was the childhood home of Gautama Buddha, on account of it being the capital of the Shakyas, over whom his father ruled.[2] Kapilavastu is the place where Siddhartha Gautama spent 29 years of his life. According to Buddhist sources Kapilvastu was named after Vedic sage Kapila.[3][4]

Search for Kapilavastu[edit]

The 19th-century search for the historical site of Kapilavastu followed the accounts left by Faxian and later by Xuanzang, who were Chinese Buddhist monks who made early pilgrimages to the site.[5][6][7][8] Some archaeologists have identified present-day Tilaurakot, Nepal, while some others have identified present-day Piprahwa, India as the location for the historical site of Kapilavastu, the seat of governance of the Shakya state that would have covered the region.[9][10][11] Both sites contain archaeological ruins.[12][13][14][15]

Proposed sites[edit]

Ancient depictions[edit]


  1. ^ Marshall, John (1918). Guide To Sanchi, Calcutta: ASI; p.64]
  2. ^ a b Trainor, K (2010). "Kapilavastu". In Keown, D; Prebish, CS (eds.). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Milton Park, UK: Routledge. pp. 436–7. ISBN 978-0-415-55624-8.
  3. ^ Kapila, VEDIC SAGE, Encyclopedia Britannica . Link: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kapila
  4. ^ UP’s Piprahwa is Buddha’s Kapilvastu? ,Shailvee Sharda May 4, 2015, Times of India
  5. ^ Beal, Samuel (1884). Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, by Hiuen Tsiang. 2 vols. Translated by Samuel Beal. London. 1884. Reprint: Delhi. Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. 1969. Volume 1
  6. ^ Beal, Samuel (1911). The Life of Hiuen-Tsiang. Translated from the Chinese of Shaman (monk) Hwui Li by Samuel Beal. London. 1911. Reprint Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi. 1973. Internet Archive
  7. ^ Li, Rongxi (translator) (1995). The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions. Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. Berkeley, California. ISBN 1-886439-02-8
  8. ^ Watters, Thomas (1904). On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D. Volume1. Royal Asiatic Society, London.
  9. ^ Tuladhar, Swoyambhu D. (November 2002), "The Ancient City of Kapilvastu - Revisited" (PDF), Ancient Nepal (151): 1–7
  10. ^ Chris Hellier (March 2001). "Competing Claims on Buddha's Hometown". Archaeology.org. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  11. ^ Srivastava, KM (1979), "Kapilavastu and Its Precise Location", East and West, 29 (1/4): 61–74, JSTOR 29756506 – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  12. ^ Srivastava, KM (1980). "Archaeological Excavations at Piprāhwā and Ganwaria and the Identification of Kapilavastu". The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 13 (1): 103–10.
  13. ^ Sharda, Shailvee (May 4, 2015), "UP's Piprahwa is Buddha's Kapilvastu?", Times of India
  14. ^ "Kapilavastu". Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  15. ^ Huntington, John C (1986), "Sowing the Seeds of the Lotus" (PDF), Orientations, September 1986: 54–56, archived from the original (PDF) on November 28, 2014