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Kudan: The ancient Nyigrodharama

Situated about 3km south of Taulihawa, is the ancient and historical site of Nyigrodharama, currently known as Kudan or Lori-Ki Kudan. Lord Sakyamuni Buddha met king Suddhodhana here for the first time after enlightenment. Some scholars have also identified Kudan as the natal-town of Krakuchhanda Buddha. Early Chinese travelers Fa-hsien (5th century AD) and Hiuen Tsang (7th century AD) describe several events in their travel accounts including the arrival welcoming of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha by the king Suddhodhana at the Nyigrodharama.

Recent joint excavation carried out by the Department of Archaeology, Lumbini Development Trust and Durham University of the UK under the JaFIT project (2014-2016 AD) has identified the wooden post-hole dating back to the 8th century BC at Kudan. Major structural ruins excavated and conserved, so far, in Kudan include three stupas, a well and a pond (Nyigrodharama pond).

Stupa 1:


Located in the southeastern corner and also called the RahulaStupa, it is believed to have been builtto commemorate the event and spot where Rahula, the Buddha’s son, was accepted into the monastic order as a novice (shramanera). The Stupa also bears an octagonal Shiva temple on its top built later by the Hindus.


Stupa 2:


It is believed to have been built during the Sakya period to commemorate Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and king Suddhodana's first meeting (after enlightenment), Lord Sakymuni Buddha's discourse on the five Suttas of the Majjhimanikaya and conversion of Sakyas into Buddhist. The stupa was renovated and restored during the Mauryan, Sunga, Kusana and Gupta periods.


Stupa 3:


Located in the northernmost part of the garden, this stupa is believed to have been built during the Sakya period to commemorate the incidences and place where Queen Prajapati Gautami offered Lord Sakyamuni Buddha the Kashaya Vastra, and Yasodhara invited him and his Sangha for a meal at the Kapilavastu palace.


The Nyigrodharama Pond:

Nyigrodharama Pond is believed to have been built during the first visit of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and his Sangha to the Garden in the ancient Kapilavastu. The Sakyas might have created a lotus pond in the honor of the Lord Sakyamuni Buddha's imminent arrival in Kapilavastu and stay at Nyigrodharama.


The Ancient Well:


The ancient well is believed to have been built prior to the 3 stupas with the assumption that Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and his sangha used water from this well during their stay at the Nyigrodharama Garden.


Returning Home after the Enlightenment

The news about Lord Sakyamuni Buddha reached the Ancient Kapilvastu and king Suddhodhana invited his son to visit him. Lord Sakyamuni Buddha met king Suddhodhana, for the first time after enlightenment in Nyigrodharama park, which now is known as Kudan. Here, the chief disciple Sariputra ordained Rahula and Lord Sakyamuni Buddha was offered Kashaya Vastra by queen Prajapati Gautami. Lord Sakyamuni Buddha went to the palace with his Sangha and accepted the meals offered by king Suddhodhana and Yasodhara. A large number of relatives and Sakyas became his followers, some were ordained and some of the wealthy merchants built monasteries for the Sanghas. It is said that Lord Sakyamuni Buddha accepted king Sudddodhan’s request to get consent of the parents before the children were ordained into the monastic order or Sangha. Ananda, the closet disciple of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, pleaded that women be allowed to join Sangha, and the first order of nuns was also established in the Ancient Kaplivastu. It is believed to be the first formal association of women in the human history. Following the several discourses from Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, King Suddhodhana attained the level of shrotapanna (stream-entry).