In order to present the richest Buddhist historical legacy to the Sri Lankan people, Pakistan has sent the most sacred relics of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka on April 28, 2018 for exposition in connection with the Annual Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival.
Sri Lankan Minister for Buddha Sasana, Hon. Gamini Jayawickrema Perera along with Parliamentarians, High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat as well as Senior Monks, high ranking government officials, religious scholars, received the Holy Relics amidst hordes of devotees. From Pakistan, Curator of Taxila Museum brought the Sacred Relics.
The exposition of the most sacred relics will commence at Gangaramaya Temple and the Temple Trees on 29th April 2018. Thereafter, it will be exhibited at famous temples across the country until May 16, 2018. The Relics will be in Colombo for a 4-day exposition from 29th April to 02nd May. After that the Relics will be taken to Wellampitiya, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kurunegalla, Anuradhapura and Kandy. Afterwards the Relics will be brought back to Colombo on 16th May, 2018.
The Sacred Relics includes two Holy Relics of Lord Buddha. These holy relics are part of collection from Taxila (Takshila) excavation in Pakistan, which is kept at one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia, the Taxila Museum.
These Relics were originally discovered near the Dharmarajika stupa, the earliest and largest Buddhist complex at Taxila, which was built in the 3rd century BCE to enshrine the redistributed holy relics of the Buddha by the famous Mauryan king Asoka who was also known as Dharmaraja for his services to Buddhism.
Dharmarajika was excavated by Ghulam Qadir in 1912-16 under the directions of Sir John Marshall and A.D. Siddiqui in 1934-36. The advent and development of Buddhism owes a great deal to the ancient land of Pakistan. It was here that the religious activities of Buddhism reached its climax through well-organized missionaries and ultimately made it a world religion.