Special IAF aircraft to carry Buddha relics to Mongolia

Last time, these relics were taken out of the country in 2012 for an exposition in Sri Lanka.  

Published: 12th June 2022 08:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2022 08:05 AM   |  A+A-

Kapilvastu Relics. (File Photo)

Kapilvastu Relics. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: An Indian Air Force military transport aircraft will embark on a rare sortie of its lifetime to Mongolia on Sunday. It will carry four relics of Lord Buddha—  also known as ‘Kapilvastu Relics’ — kept in bullet-proof ceremonial caskets, to Mongolia. The relics were discovered at a site in Bihar in 1898, which is believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu associated with Buddha. This is one of the rarest occasions when antiquities classified as ‘AA’ are being sent abroad as an exception to the guidelines of the ministry of culture. They will be displayed at an 11-day exposition as part of the celebrations of Mongolian Buddha Purnima on June 14.

The relics—corporeal bones -- will be accorded the status of a state guest and will be taken in the same climate control case as it has been preserved at the National Museum in New Delhi, on board A C-17 Globemaster, a long-haul military transport aircraft. Last time, these relics were taken out of the country in 2012 for an exposition in Sri Lanka. According to the guidelines, antiquities placed under ‘AA’ category are ordinarily not allowed to be sent out of the country considering their delicate nature.

A 25-member retinue led by the minister of law and justice Kiren Rijiju will also be travelling with the sacred antiquities.“The relics will be received in Mongolia by the culture minister of the country, the advisor to the President of Mongolia and a large number of monks among other dignitaries.

The Lord Buddha Relics available in Mongolia would also be displayed along with the relics from India. Two bulletproof casings, as well as two ceremonial caskets, are being carried by the Indian Delegation for both the relics,” informed the ministry.

Briefing about the travelling of relics, Rijiju on Saturday said that it is another historic milestone in India-Mongolia relations and will further boost cultural and spiritual relations between the two countries. At the request of the Mongolian Government, the ministry has made an exception and permitted the exhibition of precious remains of Lord Buddha abroad.

The antiquities will be placed at the Batsagaan Temple within the premises of Gandan Monastery, which was visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. It was the first-ever trip of an Indian Prime Minister to Mongolia. Earlier, a team of the ministry and curators of the National Museum travelled to Mongolia on June 8 to review arrangements for receiving the relics.

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