In archaeology, every brick or stone seems to tell a story. And so it was when well-known Nepali archaeologist Dr. Basanta Bidari took to the podium and delivered a special lecture at Nalanda Centre on Thursday, 5 May. Dr. Basanta shared his recent discoveries in the last two years at the ancient site of Kapilavatthu – the hometown of Siddhatha Gotama, who later became the Buddha.
Dr. Basanta was the Chief Archaeologist of Lumbini Development Park, where he worked laboriously for more than three decades. His place in history was clinched in 1996 when he positively identified the marker stone that indicated the spot of Siddhatha Gotama’s nativity.
In his lecture at Nalanda Centre, Dr. Basanta showed many photographs of the location of Kapilavatthu. The 20-hectare site contained ruins and foundations of palaces, dwellings, shops, streets, and water tanks. The compact city was surrounded by protective walls and a wide moat.
Dr. Basanta Bidari’s enthusiastic but affable way of presenting the subject resonated with the audience, and many people were inspired by his tireless research work. The warm and long applause at the end of the professor’s talk attested to their appreciation.
Nalanda founder Bro. Tan thanked Dr. Basanta for his informative lecture, and promptly pointed out there is much for local academicians to learn in the disciplines of archaeology and history, which are far more established in Nepal and India compared to Malaysia.
Bro. Tan highlighted the research in Bujang Valley, Kedah, where the foundation of a Buddhist stupa dated to 2,000 years old had been found, and he believes much more remains undiscovered. However, these discoveries must be properly analysed and interpreted by a panel of competent archaeologists and historians to establish their authentic identity.
Among those present at Dr. Basanta’s lecture were the Chairman of Nalanda Education Committee Achariya Vijaya; Nalanda Institute Director Ach. Tan Siang Chye; Pustaka Nalanda Director Bro. Ananda Fong; local academicians, community leaders and devotees. We thank Dr. Basanta Bidari for his visit and talk at Nalanda Centre. Sadhu anumodana.