Sri Lanka to get a glimpse of Pakistan’s Buddhist legacy
May 18, 2016
Sacred relics and golden casket to be flown in from Taxila.
Two sacred bone relics, believed to be associated with Buddha and being kept at a museum in Taxila, Pakistan, will be among four artefacts to be displayed in Sri Lanka for a month, starting May 21.
Apart from the sacred relics, a stone reliquary in “stupa” shape and a golden casket are being sent from Pakistan to Sri Lanka. On Thursday, the artefacts will be given to the Sri Lankan government by officials from Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Sri Lankan Minister for Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and Thiniyawala Palitha Thero, Chief Incumbent Nalandramaya, Nugegoda, left for Pakistan.
When Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Colombo in January, a formal request was made to him to send the relics for display, according to a release issued by the Pakistan’s High Commission here.
Though opinions differ on the exact period of Buddha’s lifetime, it is widely accepted that he lived between the 6 Century BCE and 4 Century BCE. It was in the north-western region of Pakistan that the Gandhara civilisation flourished from the 6 century BCE to 5 century CE. According to the High Commission, the actual territory of Gandhara is a triangular piece of land about 100 km (east to west) and 70 km (north to south), on the west of the Indus river, surrounded by mountains in the present-day Pakistan.
The Gandhara School of Art is regarded as the early creator of Buddha in human form carved in stone, stucco, terracotta and bronze. Its works were mostly enshrined in monasteries and “stupas” throughout the Gandhara region.