Kapilavastu, or Kapilvastu, has an interesting story behind it. It is said to be the place where Gautam Buddha spent his first 29 years as Siddhartha, and where he saw the vagaries, excesses and pleasures of life that finally made him relinquish the paths of the materialistic world. As such, it is of great historical importance.
Interestingly however, in spite of the significance of this place, and the references in historical books of an ancient kingdom of Shakya dynasty of the same name, Kapilavastu's exact location is something that historians and archeologists could never fully agree on. While there is the district by the same name in today's Nepal, a debate always existed whether Piprahwa in India
, or Tilaurakot in Kapilavastu district in Nepal
was the the site of the capital of Kapilavastu kingdom. Existence of relevant artifacts around both towns always just complicated the matters.
Finally however, with the discovery of artifacts dating back to 500-600 BC - the time of Lord Buddha - the debate is now considered mostly settled and it is agreed that the present day Tilaurakot is the Kapilavastu of ancient times.
Today, Tilaurakot is located 27 Km west of Lumbini
, connected by a road through Taulihawa which is around 4km from here. It is an important archaeological site, and one can see vestiges of an old city, palace and gardens in the ruins that are all over the place now, located by the banks of river Banganga. One can find mounds and ruins of old monasteries and stupas made up of bricks and clay mortar, and while there is nothing clearly present to show it, once can well imagine a grand city that would have once existed in this place more than 2500 years back.
1. This place is lot less known than Lumbini
and there are not as many travellers coming here, but it carries huge amounts of history behind it and is a must visit for any traveller with interest in Buddhism, or religious history in general.
2. There is a small museum, about 400 metres away from the main site of ruins, which showcases many artifacts that have been found here.