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Lalitgiri

LalitgiriLalitgiri, the earliest Buddhist complex of 1st century A.D. and is the part of the mini golden triangle (Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udayagiri), is at a distance of 90 kms to Bhubaneswar and is well connected by a good road. The recent excavation has brought to light significant archaeological material which upholds Lalitgiri as a great centre of Buddhist attraction.

India Buddhism BookingVisitors to the site are met with the grand sight of an extensive monastery complex, which is to be reached through a long stairway. Among the sculptures found is Bodhisattva figures and Dhyani Buddha figures. An image of Lokesvara, holding a large lotus, stands at the foot of the hill The place is considered as one of the earliest Buddhists establishments in the world.

The story associated... It is stated in the Aungutaranaikaya (a Buddhists text) that while the Buddha was meditating under a tree, two merchants, Tapussa and Bhallika, traveling trough Orissa, with five hundred carts, became his first lay devotees. According to the text, during this journey, a deity stopped these carts and exhorted the merchants to offer cakes of barley and honey to the Buddha. Acting upon the deity’s advice, the merchants approached the Buddha and implored him to accept their humble offerings. The Buddha had no vessel to receive the offerings but the deities, who were the guardian angles of the four quarters, descended from heaven, and each presented him with a bowl of sapphire. He declined. Then they gave him four bowls, one within the other and said: “Let them become one”. He then accepted the food and ate it. When the Buddha had finished his meal, the merchants fell to the ground and professed their loyalty with the words, “We take refuge in the Buddha and in the law, O Lord, from hence onward life long as lay devotees”. Following this, they builta grand chaitya (prayer hall and funerary mound) enshrining the relics of the Buddha, in their hometown called Asitanjana in orissa.

The most absorbing finds have been the relic caskets recovered from the core of a hemispherical mound, exposing the vestiges of a ruined stone stupa (dome-shaped structure that houses the relics of the Buddha, Buddhist saints or sacred texts). Four caskets belong to one set, with the outer one made from the locally available khondalite stone, carved in the shape of a votive stupa; the second casket is made of light gray steatite, preserved within a socket inside the first one. The third one is made of silver and the fourth casket, of gold. Within the fourth casket lies a dhatu, or relic of the Buddha, in the form of a small fragment of bone.

India Buddhism BookingGetting there??? :

  • Air The nearest airport is Bhuvaneshwar, which is at a distance of 90 kms.
  • Train The nearest railhead is the Bhuvaneshwar on the southeastern railway.
  • Road Lalitgiri is well connected by road from Bhuvaneshwar, which lies at a distance of 90 kms. Also one can drive down or catch a bus from Cuttack, which is 55 km from Lalitgiri.