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Ramagrama Stupa

Ramagrama Stupa

The Ramagrama Stupa dating back to 600 BC holds a distinguished place on the UNESCO Heritage Tentative List as "the sole undisturbed original stupa containing relics of Lord Buddha".

After Śhākyamuni Buddha achieved Mahāparinirvāṇa in the fire of his Samādhi in Kusinārā, the seven kings of the great kingdoms, including King Ajātasattu of Māgadha sent envoys to discuss the relics with Mallā Kingdom. At first, the people of Mallā were unwilling but Dhūmrasagotra, a Brahman convert named Dronā, interceded "the Tathā-gata (Lord Buddha) teaches Dharma for peace" and proposed that the Buddha's relics be divided into eight equal parts for the envoys from the Kingdoms, to build Stupas to honor Lord Buddha, thus settling the dispute. In addition, the Buddha's upper tooth was given as an offering to King Ajātasattu.


Brahmin Dronā took the empty urn that originally contained the relics back as a souvenir and later also built a stupa. The King of Moriyās, who was late, did not get a share of the relics, so he had to take the remaining ashes left after the Buddha's cremation and also built a stupa to enshrine them. Therefore, there are eight stupas enshrining the relics of the Śhākyamuni Buddha; the ninth "Urn" stupa, and the tenth "Ashes" stupa, thus giving rise to a total of ten stupas. (ref. “Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra”)


  1. King Ajātasattu of the Māgadha Kingdom;

  2.  Licchavis clan of the Vaiśālī Kingdom;

  3. Śākya tribe of the Kpilavāstu Kingdom;

  4. Buli tribe of the Allakappa Kingdom;

  5. Koliya clan of the Rāmagāma Kingdom;

  6. Brahman from the Vethadīpa settlement;

  7. Malla tribe of the Pāvā Kingdom;

  8. Malla tribe of the Kusinārā Kingdom;

  9. Moriya tribe of the Pipphalivana Kingdom (Ashes);

  10. Dhūmrasagotra, Brahman Drona (Urn).

About three centuries later, King Ashoka, who had united ancient India. He embraced Buddhism and sought to gather all the relics to further honor Lord Buddha's memory. He obtained the remains of the Lord Buddha from guardian kingdoms' stupas to build 84,000 stupa across his kingdom, but when he reached Ramagrama, he encountered a powerful Naga (king serpent) that prevented him from excavating the stupa. 

Ramagrama Stupa stands as the only remaining stupa that holds the original remains of Lord Buddha, the only known resting place of the Lord Buddha.

Chinese monks Faxian (337-422 AD) and Xuanzang (602-664 AD), accounts of their pilgrimages describe the sacredness of the stupa and mystical elements such as dragon ponds and elephants approaching the stupa Offerings of flowers, provide insights into the Ramagrama Stupa.


However, with the historical changes and the decline of Buddhism in India, the Ramagrama Stupa was forgotten from the 12th century.

The site had been visited by Dr William Hoey in the 1899 but he had failed to make the link with Ramagrama. Prof Shantaram Balchandra Deo, of the Deccan College, was here at Parasi (as it was then known) and recorded a tall mound in 1964. 

In 1974, Babukrishna Rijal, a scholar from the Department of Archaeology in Nepal, visited the site of Ramagrama. Through careful examination and research, Rijal became convinced of the site's affiliation and identity. Utilizing the distances mentioned by historical figures like Fa Hsien and Xuanzang, as well as known landmarks such as Lumbini, Rijal triangulated the site's location, providing evidence of its significance.

In 1997, the Department of Archaeology in Nepal conducted a geophysical survey in collaboration with experts from Bradford University, UK. Subsequent excavations from 1998 to 2002 revealed fascinating insights. C-14 dating of charcoal from the site revealed its ancient origins, dating back to the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The mound of bricks and brickbats, discovered during the excavations, showcased exquisite decorations and evolved from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD.

The latest geographical survey was conducted in 2019 by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and Durham University, revealing additional archaeological reserves around the Ramagrama Stupa.

Its historical and archaeological importance, coupled with its sacredness, make it a site of great pilgrimage and devotion for Buddhists worldwide. The unopened stupa serves as a powerful symbol of veneration and reverence, inviting seekers of spiritual enlightenment to connect with the profound teachings of Lord Buddha.


This sacred stupa, though unopened, radiates an aura of sanctity that resonates deeply within the hearts of those who seek spiritual solace and enlightenment. Its unexplored contents evoke a sense of mystery, inspiring awe and reverence for the life and teachings of the Lord Buddha.

The Stupa is a subject of preservation efforts and potential inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage.

Ramagrama Stupa Project

The Ramagrama Stupa Project is a collaborative initiative involving the Moksha Foundation and The Promised Land, with the shared goal of protecting, conserving, developing, and managing the Ramagrama Stupa. This project encompasses several key elements:

  1. Preservation and Conservation: The primary objective is to preserve and conserve the historical and cultural significance of the Ramagrama Stupa. This includes safeguarding the Stupa from damage or harm, ensuring its structural integrity, and protecting its archaeological reserves.

  2. Development: The project envisions the thoughtful development of the Ramagrama Stupa area. This includes the construction of facilities such as museums dedicated to Lord Buddha, prayer halls, and both commercial and non-commercial infrastructure. These additions aim to enhance the visitor experience while respecting the sanctity of the site.

  3. Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration: The project operates as a multi-stakeholder effort, involving local communities, religious authorities, archaeologists, heritage experts, government bodies, and other relevant stakeholders. Collaboration among these diverse groups is central to the project's success.

  4. Transparent Governance: Robust governance structures and clear operational guidelines are established to ensure transparent decision-making and resource allocation. Transparency is maintained throughout the project's duration.

  5. Sustainability: The project is committed to sustainability in both its cultural and environmental aspects. Responsible resource management and environmentally conscious practices are integral to its approach.

  6. Community Engagement: The project actively engages with local communities to ensure that their perspectives and needs are considered. This community participation contributes to meaningful decision-making and a sense of ownership among local residents.

  7. Cultural and Spiritual Enrichment: The project aims to create a harmonious space that fosters spiritual contemplation, deepens cultural appreciation, and promotes historical understanding. It seeks to balance the preservation of the site's sacredness with the enhancement of the visitor experience.

  8. Transparency and Accountability: Funding transparency and spending accountability are core components of the project. It ensures that financial resources are managed responsibly and that there is transparency in reporting and compliance with regulations.

The Ramagrama Stupa Project is a comprehensive endeavor to protect, preserve, and thoughtfully develop the Ramagrama Stupa, a site of significant cultural and spiritual importance. Through collaboration, transparency, and responsible management, the project aims to secure the heritage of the Stupa for future generations while providing an enriching experience for visitors.

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