The Buddha Relics Distribution Site is referred to as one of “the newly discovered sites” in Kushinagar. Historically speaking, Kushinagar is the identified place where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. The archaeological remains of the Mahaparinirvana Temple and Mahaparinirvana Stupa have been found here which are restored and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. These remains were discovered in 1876 by a British archaeologist named A.C.L. carlleyle after proper excavation and historical studies. Lord Buddha’s cremation was carried out about a kilometre away from the Mahaparinirvana Stupa at a spot on the Kushinagar-Deoria Road, where a Stupa was constructed, perhaps by Samrat Ashoka. This Stupa is called Ramabhar Stupa or Mukutbandhan-Chaitya. The Ramabhar Stupa has also been identified by the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang in his accounts. An ancient site called the Matha-Kuar Shrine also happens to be in Kushinagar whose name signifies the words “Dead Prince” or Lord Buddha. Thus far, everything is historical and sounds genuine. Now, as you walk towards the Ramabhar Stupa on Kushinagar-Deoria Road, a sign board on the right side of the road points you towards a narrow lane where this “Buddha Relic Distribution Site” is located. Its a short walk so even if you decide to go and see it, it is not much trouble. The rewards of this short walk may also not be much though. Keep reading…
Description of the Buddha Relic Distribution Site Kushinagar
A new 2012 inscription at this site reads as under:
“At the time of passing away of our Tathagatha and after his cremation, a dispute broke out between different kingdoms over the ownership of his relics. Locals believe that this is the site where according to the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Brahmin named Drona resolved the dispute by dividing Buddha’s relics into eight portions. Post a “Great Debate” here, physical distribution occurred at the cremation site.” The eight kingdoms who received the relics are listed here as:
1. Ajatshatru, King of Magadha
2. Licchavis of Vaishali
3. Shakyas of Kapilavastu
4. Bulis of Allakappa
5. Kollyas of Ramagama
6. Brahmins of Vethadipa
7. Mallas of Pava
8. Mallas of Kusinara
Interestingly, this inscription put up here in the year 2012 only says that the “Great Debate” on the relic distribution took place here but the actual distribution happened at the cremation site. There is no historical proof of of any of this except that this is what the “locals believe”.
The site actually looks like a typical Hindu temple like the ones that can be found in almost any Indian village except that the idol inside the small chamber here is of Lord Buddha and not of a Hindu god. The door to the compound is usually closed so one cannot get close to the platform on which this little temple is constructed. Yet, I see no harm in walking a few extra steps to visit this “Buddha Relic Distribution Site” except that one should not offer or give any money whatsoever in this temple or to any person here.