Sacred Kapilavastu Relics flown back to India on SriLankan

Saturday, 15 September 2012 01:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A special SriLankan Airlines’ flight carried the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics back to Delhi, India on 12 September, with the conclusion of a three week exposition in Sri Lanka.

The Sacred Kapilavastu relics, housed in the National Museum of India, were brought to Sri Lanka for a second time on 19 August, the first being in 1978, since they were discovered in 1898. The exposition travelled across cities and provinces, covering most of Sri Lanka and drawing throngs of Buddhist devotees at every stop.

After a final display at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, the Sacred Relics were returned to India on a special SriLankan flight, which departed to Delhi in the afternoon. In reverence of the sacred consignment onboard, the Business Class section of the brand new A320 aircraft assigned for the journey was sheathed in White.

Accordingly for the first time ever, SriLankan cabin crew took a departure from their standard attire and decked out in all white, for the noble flight. Escorting the Sacred Relics onboard was a delegation of Buddhist priests, local officials including the Minister of Culture and the Arts, T.B. Ekanayake and Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, and officials from the National Museum of India. During the flight, all passengers were treated to a special vegetarian meal.

Prior to departure, the Sacred Relics and accompanying delegation were received at the VVIP lounge in the Bandaranaike International Airport and SriLankan ground staff and airport staff donned White for the occasion.

Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe; Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa; Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayarathne; Speaker of the Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa and Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa were present at the airport. The dignitaries and a large gathering of SriLankan and airport staff paid homage, before the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics were boarded on UL1195/6 to the chanting of Pirith.