Every stone tells a story

Dr. Basanta Bidari's lecture at Nalanda Centre on 5 May 2016.

Dr. Basanta Bidari giving a lecture at Nalanda Centre on his recent discoveries in Kapilavatthu.

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.

Kapilavatthu was the hometown of Siddhatha Gotama.

Anicent Kapilavatthu was the hometown of Siddhatha Gotama, where he spent his first 29 years.

Dr. Basanta's lecture peppered with photographs.

Dr. Basanta’s lecture was generously peppered with photographs which made it easier to visualise archaeology.

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.

The audience at Dr. Basanta's lecture.

The audience was captivated by Dr. Basanta’s informative lecture.

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.

Bro. Tan addressing the audience.

Bro.Tan said that without archaeological findings, much of India and Nepal would be in the realm of ‘mystery’ and ‘mythology’, and not emerge into the field of ‘history’.

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.

Chairman of Nalanda Education Committee Achariya Vijaya presenting a momento to Dr. Basanta Bidari.

Chairman of Nalanda Education Committee Achariya Vijaya presenting a momento to Dr. Basanta.

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.

Dr. Basanta touring Nalanda Library.

Earlier, Dr. Basanta toured Nalanda Library accompanied by its Director Ananda Fong (middle) and Nalanda Centre Director Sis. Nandini.

Looking at historical finds at the Langkasuka Lounge.

Looking at historical finds at the Langkasuka Lounge.

A warm send-off for Dr. Basanta.

Nalandians gave a warm send-off for Dr. Basanta Bidari.