Were Lord Buddha’s ashes found in Varanasi in 1798?
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the ashes, believed to be of Lord Buddha, were discovered in 1798 during the excavation of Dharmarajika Stupa in Sarnath by the Diwan of Raja Chait Singh of Benaras.
The reply to the application, given by the eastern region of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), states that the ashes, found in a green marble box, were immersed in the River Ganges and the manjusha (box) was handed over to a museum in Kolkata.
However, the reply from the southern region of ASI has stated in this regard that in the north-western part of Nagarjunakonda Buddh Mahachait, the ashes of Lord Buddha were found in a broken pot. The excavation was carried out by A H Longhrst during the period 1926-31 and around 500 statues concerning Lord Buddha were also found during the excavation. Apart from this, another manjusha was found during the excavation of Vaishali Stupa in Bihar which contained Buddha’s ashes and is now kept in the Patna Museum.