The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is excavating sites in Papaur in Siwan district, which is believed to have been the spot where The Buddha consumed his last meal before his Parinirvana.
"The ASI started explorations on June 23, with a team being engaged to dig a trench to join the dots with evidence from past literature written by Buddhist monks, who have pointed to such an event from Buddha’s life”, KC Srivastava, head of the excavation branch, ASI, said.
Papaur sports an ancient mound, believed to be Buddhist site. Though the area is now dotted with human settlements and farming land, the trial trench dug here is intended to excavate the cultural sequence going back centuries.
Buddhist scholastic work suggests that Papaur is the place where Lord Buddha spent a few days of the last phase of his life and had left it only when he fell ill after food being served to him by local residents. The mound had earlier yielded some antiquities like pottery and terracotta pieces of jars of the times.
Construction on the mound and farming have posed hurdles in excavation work in the area. (HT Photo)
“During the diggings in the last few days we have been able to uncover only the upper surface of the mound, which has yielded only Gupta age potteries and the pieces of jars,” Srivastava said.
Jagdishwar Pandey who has for years worked on the sites associated with Buddha’s life, said the place (Papaur) must be Pawa, a place in Kosal Janpada where Buddha loved to stay.
“Pawa used to be the second capital of Kosal of the Malla dynasty rulers in ancient age. Many Buddhist texts mention it was at Pawa, that Buddha was served meat by a person identified as Chund. After eating this food he developed a stomach ailment and he left for Kushinara where he died later,” he said.
Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang had also mentioned Pawa in his travelogues and some Indo Bactrian coins were also discovered from near the mound by Dr Hoye in 1899, Pandey added
The researcher said the present excavations would definitely bring to fore some archaeological evidence of the connections of Papaur with Buddha.