IN THE SEARCH OF KAPILAVASTU
After discovery of inscribed casket by W. C. Peppe in 1898, the ancient site of Piprahwa caught the attention of the indologists for first time. The multifarious information depicted in Buddhist literature regarding the location of Kapilavastu led the confusion amongst the scholars which forced them to depend mainly on the travel documents of the two Chinese pilgrims Fa-hien (4th Cent. A.D.) and Hiuen Tsang (7th Cent. A.D.). But owing the complexity in the details given in these travel records it became very difficult to search the exact location of the ancient settlement of Kapilavastu. Discovery of the inscribed relic casket shown a ray of hope and afterwards concentrated efforts were made by a number of scholars in this direction.
The beginning to establish the identity of the ancient town had been started much earlier but in the year 1858 Lassen considered the remains of Kapilavastu on the bank of the modern Rohin at a short distance to the north-west of Gorakhpur of Uttar Pradesh. Alexender Cunningham declared Nagarkhas in the southern part of Basti district in pargana Aurangabad to be ancient Kapilavastu. A. C. L. Carlleyle, the assistant of Cunningham, explored the districts of Gorakhpur and Basti in 1875-76 with the primary objective of settling the question of the location of Kapilavastu. He did not lose much time in identifying the remains at Bhuiladih in Mansurnagar pargana of Basti district as Kapilavastu.
In the year 1899 Babu P.C. Mukherji of Archaeological Survey of India was assigned with the job of undertaking explorations and excavations in the Nepalese tarai. During the course of his work he excavated a little here and there alongwith Piprahwa he could not reach on any solid conclusion.
In 1962 Ms. Debala Mitra of the Archaeological Survey of India conducted explorations and excavations in the places famous as the part of ancient country of Kapilavastu and remarked that the inscription on the reliquary found within the main stupa at Piprahwa coupled with Piprahwa’s correspondence with Fa-hien's bearing and distance of Kapilavastu in relation to Lurnbini raises a strong presumption for Piprahwa and its surrounding villages like Ganwaria being the site of Kapilavastu.
In seventies (1971-76) Archaeological Survey of India in the direction of Shri Krishna Mohan Srivastava conducted an extensive excavation at Piprahwa and Ganwaria which revealed a stupa, various vihara and residential complexes and terracotta sealings inscribed with ‘Kapilavastu’ term finally established this place as the ancient site of Kapilavastu.