German researcher claims Buddha born in Orissa?, Dec 20, 2004

BHUBANESWAR, India -- The debate over the claim that Orissa is the real birthplace of Buddha has gained momentum with noted German scholar and indologist Dr Hermann Kulke backing the claim.

Sharing his observations at a high-level meeting on Buddhist heritage of Orissa at the State Museum here on Friday, Kulke, who has undertaken extensive research on the history and culture of the State over the past three decades, pointed out that in view of several archaeological evidences, Orissa as the real birthplace was gradually gaining acceptance internationally.

There was an urgent need for an excavation in and around Kapileswar area to explore the truth, he suggested. Kulke is also heading two research projects on Orissa funded by Germany.

Culture Minister Damodar Rout said that he had already put forth Orissa?s claims at the national level in a press conference held in New Delhi. The missing inscription pertaining to Buddha?s birthplace should be traced at Ashutosh Museum in Kolkata, Srilanka National Museum and London Museum, as the inscription found from Kapileswar near Bhubaneswar was learnt to have been taken for verification to these museums, he suggested.

Development Commissioner and founder of Jayadev Foundation Trust, A.K.Tripathy revealed that the Foundation will be launching a special project to check the veracity of the claim at the earliest.

It was unanimously resolved to go for a trial excavation in and around Kapileswar by an expert team from the State Museum, said museum superintendent C.B.Patel. Among others, eminent writer Santanu Kumar Acharya, Culture Secretary Ashok Kumar Tripathy and director Madhusudan Padhi were present.