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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Chinese traveller Xuanzang’s relic to be shifted from Patna to his memorial at Nalanda 

The relic casket, containing the skull bone of the Chinese traveller and Buddhist scholar, is at present kept at Patna Museum.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2017 15:36 IST
Reena Sopam
Reena Sopam
Hindustan Times, Patna
The Xuanzang Memorial Hall at  Nalanda.
The Xuanzang Memorial Hall at Nalanda.(File photo)

The casket containing the relic of Chinese traveller and Buddhist scholar Xuanzang will soon be shifted from Patna to his memorial at Nalanda, in south central Bihar.

This was decided at a meeting of Nav Nalanda Mahavihar Society’s syndicate, held under the chairmanship of West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who also holds the additional charge of Bihar, in Kolkata a few days ago.

At present, the casket containing the skull bone of the Xuanzang is kept at the Patna Museum.

In 1957, the then Chinese government had presented the relic, kept in the Temple of Great Compassion in Tianjin, to India for keeping it in the Xuanzang Memorial at Nalanda. It was handed over to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on behalf of the Chinese government at a ceremony held at the Nav Nalanda Mahavihar, a deemed university. The Dalai Lama fled to India during the Tibetan uprising in 1959, two years after the event .

The relic was later shifted to the Patna Museum, 90 km north of Nalanda, for security reasons.

“Over half a century has passed and the Xuanzang Memorial Hall is now fully functional. The Nav Nalanda Mahavihar wants the relic back,” SK Sinha, registrar of the deemed university said.

“Very soon the Nav Nalanda Mahavihar vice chancellor will send a letter to the Bihar culture department’s secretary to initiate the process for shifting the relic casket to Xuanzang Memorial Hall,” Sinha, added.

Sinha said the syndicate meeting also decided to celebrate the foundation day of the Mahavihar on November 20. “The President of the country will be invited to release the 6th volume of Pali-Hindi dictionary,” he said.

Others present at the meeting included Nav Nalanda Mahavihar vice chancellor Pranav Khullar, dean Srikant Singh, academician Suniti Kumar Pathak and principal secretary to the governor Brijesh Mehrotra.

An official said the Nav Nalanda Mahavihar came into existence because of the efforts of its founder director Bhikkhu Jagdish Kashyap, who had proposed to set up the Xuanzang Memorial to pay tribute to the Buddhist scholar and his contributions to Buddhism. It was also intended to strengthen the Sino-Indian friendship, he said.

“To support the project, the then Chinese government had also provided 41 volumes of Tripitak and an endowment of Rs 4 lakh for the memorial and museum building, while the Union government had sanctioned Rs 5 lakh,” he said.

The construction of the memorial was started in 1961 and completed in 1984. In 2001, the Xuanzang Memorial was handed over to the Nav Nalanda Mahavihar for its renovation and creative development.

“The relic was brought to Nalanda after more than five decades at the inauguration of the memorial and the museum on February 12, 2007. It was brought to Nalanda again at the international convention held at Nav Nalanda Mahavihar in March this year,” he said. Now there was a plan to shift it to Nalanda permanently, he added.