The Piprahwa Project

One of the world’s pre-eminent discoveries of relics of Gautama Buddha occurred at Piprahwa in 1898. William Claxton Peppé, a British landowner, excavated an ancient Buddhist stupa on the Birdpur estate near the border of India and Nepal.  After digging through twenty feet of brickwork, he unearthed a large stone coffer containing gold, jewels, fragments of bone and five reliquary urns. An inscription on one of the urns identified the pieces of bone as the relics of the Lord Buddha which had been given to his own Sakya clan.

In 2019, awareness of the discovery has grown as a portion of the jewels and gemstones that were excavated have begun to tour some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Press reaction from the Reitberg Museum in Zurich where the collection is being displayed to the public for the first time since their discovery 120 years go has been enthusiastic.

‘The biggest sensation of the Zurich exhibition. The collection of small semiprecious stones, mostly in flower form, were once placed in the grave of the Buddha’. Deutsche Welle

‘The Chinese monk made a long journey, and he did it because Next Stop Nirvana (until March 31st 2019) is not an exhibition like the others. “Why am I here? Because for the first time I can see for myself what I have studied in books: these are very sacred objects for us Buddhists,” he says.’ Italian Vogue

The highlight of the exhibiton’ Le temps

The Piprahwa Project makes research materials, information and news available to anyone who wishes to learn more about this incredible discovery.

Please click on the links below or the tabs above to learn more about:

Background - The history preceding the excavation of the Piprahwa stupa and the events following it.

Letters - Letters received by W.C. Peppé were donated to the Royal Asiatic Society in London and others have been found in the public records office. They are here made accessible online for the first time and prove to be an important source of information about the Piprahwa discovery and those involved with it.

Gallery - View original pictures relating to the discovery at Piprahwa alongside photographs of the jewels that were buried with bones of the Buddha for over 2000 years.

Articles and Analysis - The results of ongoing research by world renowned experts in the fields of epigraphy, gemology, forensics, history and Buddhist studies.

Buddhism -  The discovery may be of great interest to western academics however it is of far greater religious and spiritual importance to over 500 million Buddhists across the globe.

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