The Sri Lankan President HE Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Hon Ranil Wickramasinghe inaugurated the exposition of the most Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha brought from Pakistan, in an impressive ceremony at Temple Trees last evening, for public exposition, says a press release received here today from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A large number of senior Monks/religious scholars, Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Hon Karu Jayasuriya, Senior Government Ministers, high level government officials, Secretary Heritage Pakistan Mohsin Haqqani, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr Sarfraz Sipra, Curator of Taxila Museum as well as officers of the High Commission attended the inaugural ceremony.

The sacred relics includes two holy bone relics of the Buddha, a golden casket containing the relics and a stone reliquary in stupa shape. These holy relics are part of collection from Taxila Museum of Pakistan, which is located at one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia.

The holy relics will be in Colombo for a 4 days public exposition from 21st to 24th May 2016. After that the relics will be taken to Gampaha (25-26 May), Kurunegala (27-28 May), Kalutara (29 May-1st June), Ratnapura (2-3 June), Galle (04-05 June), Matara (06-07 June), Hambantota (08-09 June), Moneragala (10-11 June), Badulla (12-13 June), Ampara (14-15 June), Polonnaruwa (16-17 June), Anuradhapura (18-19 June) and Kandy (20-21 June). Afterwards, the relics will be brought back to Colombo on 22nd June 2016.

The relic casket of steatite with a miniature gold casket inside, containing holy bone relics were found near the Dharmarajika stupa. The steatite casket is 7.5 inch high and has been well turned on the lath. It has adorned with shallow incised lines round its body and provided with handle on the led in the shape of a miniature casket.

Dharmarajika stupa is the earliest and the largest Buddhist religious complex at Taxila. It is situated on the bank of Dharma rivulet. It was built to enshrine the redistributed holy relics of the Buddha by the famous Mauryan king Asoka the great who was also known as Dharmaraja for his services to Buddhism. Thus it named Dharmarajika.

Dharmarajika was excavated by Ghulam Qadir in 1912-16 under the directions of Sir John Marshall and A.D Siddiqui in 1934-36. The circular stupa has a diameter of 131 feet and 45 feet high drum, constructed in solid stone masonry.

The Gandhara civilization was not only the center of spiritual influence but also the cradle of the world famous Gandhara culture, art and learning. It was from these centers that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world.