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. This is the place where the Buddha spent his childhood grappling with the overwhelming and puzzling problem of human existence, of suffering, disease, old age, pains and death. It was here that he decided to renounce the sensual pleasures of life, the power of the ruler, the convert and security of family life to take up the mendicant’s bowl in his quest for enlightenment. 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).
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Convenient airports are Gorakpur, Varanasi and Lucknow.
Rail: Piprahwa can be reached by road from Naugarh railway station.
Road: It is 96 km from Gorakhpur via Naugarh.