Kapilvastu is located around 25 kilometers to the southwest of Lumbini. The municipality lies at an altitude of 107 meters at the southern border from India’s Uttar Pradesh. Kapilvastu holds a lot of historical significance as Gautam Buddha spent his childhood.
This district is also rich in an abundant collection of washed away stupas and monasteries. The place is considered a religious destination for the followers of Buddha. In ancient times, Kapilvastu district was the ancient capital of the Shakya clan, ruler “Shuddhodhan” as the father of Buddha. At the age of 29, he left the palace of Kapilvastu for enlightenment. After 12 years he again revisited the palace after getting enlightenment. Kapilvastu is a prime archeological location and for this cause, it is one of the best touristic attractions of Nepal.
Here we had listed the best tourist attractions of Kapilvastu District which you should visit.
Tilaurakot is the prime destination of Kapilvastu district. Till 29 years Siddhartha spent his life here. Siddhartha was married to a girl named Yashodhara and gave birth to a son named Rahula here. After he was unsatisfied with his life and other mysterious question he left the palace at the age of 29 for enlightenment. The Tilaurakot Palace is listed as a Tentative UNESCO site in 1996.
Tilaurakot was discovered in 1899 by PC Mukherji by tracing the journey of two monks from China. According to archaeologists, it was the civic center from the 9th to 3rd B.C century.
2. Tilaurakot Museum
This old museum has a collection of jewelry, ornaments, and coins which are dated back around 7th century BC. Some of the objects found during the excavation from Tilaurakot Palace are also kept in this museum
Gotihawa is a VDC located southeast of Kapilvastu and 4 kilometers far from there. In modern-day, it’s called Gotihawa but in ancient times it was called Khemavati. According to Theravada Buddhist Gotihawa is the place where Krakuchanda Buddha took birth. You can also see the pillar of Ashoka during his pilgrimage to the place in the 3rd century BC. From the excavation in 1994 people discovered relics from 900 BC. Archaeologists believed that the infrastructure in this site was developed in the sixth century. Gotihawa also preserved ancient things like bricks, pottery, and statues.
Another important Buddhist site, Nigrodharam is also known as Kudan. Nigrodharam is located 2.5 kilometers south of Taulihawa. This is the place where king Suddhodhan Shakya made a big vihara to meet his son the first time after achieved enlightenment. This is also the place where Buddha shares his discourse with his followers including his wife and son. Excavation is also going and they are finding the antique things from 8th century BC.
Araurakot is the birthplace of Kanakamuni Buddha which is located 1.4 km east of Niglihawa and 10 km northeast of Taulihawa. Araurakot is the place where Kanakamuni Buddha lived, grew up, and married. You can see ancient remains of moat and bricks fortifications here.
In ancient times Niglalihawa is also recognized as Sobhavati. According to Theravada Buddhist, Konagamana Buddha was born here in Niglalihawa. The biography of Konagamana Buddha was mentioned in chapter 23 of Buddhavamsa. Niglalihawa is located about 7 kilometers northeast of Taulihawa. Ashoka visited this place at 249 B.C and erected a pillar with an inscription which you can still see now.
7. Jagadishpur Lake
Besides archaeological sites, you will also discover a lake in Kapilvastu Municipality, Jagadishpur. This lake is located 11 kilometers north of Tailihawa. Jagadishpur Lake is spread over 157 hectares and you can see different species of birds here. This lake is the host of migrating birds from different countries like China, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. This lake provides shelter to about 22,000 birds. The birds start to migrate here in winter and stay here until February. Some common birds include Gadwall, Northern pintail, Ferruginous deck, Northern shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, and Cotton Pygmy Goose.
8. Buddhist Circuit Tour
Buddhist Circuit is the pilgrimage trip following the paths of Buddha covering major historical sites. This tour helps us to know his birthplace to where he meditates and where he attained enlightenment. There are about 62 archaeological sites spread around. Buddhist Circuit Tour passes through Tilaurakot, Kudan, Gothihawa, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Aurorakot, Devadaha, and Ramagrama.
It is believed that Queen Mayadevi took bath before the birth of Siddhartha Gautam. It was also this pond where Siddhartha Gautam took his first bath.
According to archaeologists, this was the capital of Kapilvastu in the past and here Siddhartha Gautam spent 29 years. Tilaurakot lies about 27 km west of Lumbini.
Bodhgaya is located in Bihar of India where Siddhartha Gautam found enlightenment where the bodhi tree. After the continuous meditation, he got enlightenment and he became Lord Buddha. Some major visiting spots for pilgrimage are the Bodhi tree, Animeshlochana Chaitya, Ratnachankramana, Ajapala Nigrodha Tree, Rajyatna Tree, and Muchhalinda Pond.
Kudan is located 4.5 kilometers far from the south of Tilaurakot. This is the place where Buddha and King Suddhodhan met hours and r the first time after enlightenment. Kudan is the place where the Kasaya (yellow robe worn by monks) was presented to Lord Buddha.
Sarnath is the place where he started to give the discourse to the followers after enlightenment. This place is 13 km north-east from the Varanasi. This was the place where he established his first disciples to promote new doctrine. The Dhaka Stupa at Sarnath was erected by Asoka as it is a famous lion capital pillar.
In Kushinagar Lord Buddha fell ill and left this world in 543 BC. His body remains were preserved in eight commemorative chortens and distributed by King Ashoka into 84,000 stupas. Kushinagar is near Gorakhpur, near Uttar Pradesh in India.