The Buddha and Dr Führer

Even though the popular version of history says that Siddhartha was born in Lumbini in present day Nepal, there are a bunch of folks from Orissa who want to prove that the Buddha was born in Kapileshwar village in Orissa. This version is not just a emotional outburst of some fanatics, but of some archaeological experts. This is based on an Asokan inscription which is believed to be a fake. 

This search for Buddha’s birth place has quite a history; Rohan L. Jayetilleke’s lengthy article gives a good summary of current research. One interesting tale seems to be the discovery  a stone coffer found in 1898 by the British planter named William Peppé. The documentation on the rim  said that it belonged to Buddha and was burried by the Sakya clan. Charles Allen has a new book,The Buddha and Dr Fuhrer: An Archaeological Scandal, which tells the story of this discovery.

A comprehensive final chapter assesses the validity of the Peppé dig using carbon dating. In dealing with recent discoveries in the region, and with modern interpretations of the evidence, Allen covers the grim, yet hilarious battle, between India and Nepal over the true location of the Buddha’s birthplace. Unlike the respective tourist boards, he concludes that we don’t yet know where exactly the Buddha was born and raised, though Allen favours the Nepalese claim that the ruins of Tilaurakot by the river Banganga are the site of Kapilavastu. And he vouches for the authenticity of Peppé’s discoveries.[The Buddha and Dr Führer]

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