22 February 2024, 11:00 am
Travelling Relics: Spreading the Word of the Buddha
Programme Type
Films and Exhibitions
Quadrangle garden, IIC main building
End Date
07 March 2024, 07:00 pm

Buddha dhamma was one of the ascetic movements that rose in the middle of the first millennium BCE. How did Buddhism spread across the subcontinent and the world? Relic and image worship were important features in this expansion. Stupas were built to enshrine the relics in reliquaries and caskets which were kept inside specially made chambers. With the development of archaeology in the 19th century, many of the stupa sites were ‘excavated’ and reported about extensively, creating widespread interest.

This exhibition narrates the story of both the enshrinement of relics in stupas from the 3rd century BCE onwards, and the search for relics in the 19th and 20th centuries through the practice of archaeology and relic diplomacy in the colonial period. On view are archival photographs and texts.

Curated by Prof. Himanshu Prabha Ray and with the support of Prof. Gitanjali Surendran

Inauguration by Shri N.N. Vohra, Life Trustee, IIC on Thursday, 22 February 2024 at 17.00

As part of this exhibition, there will be a talk on 4 March 2024 at 18:30 in Conference Room I on

The Search for the Buddha’s Relics

Illustrated lecture by Prof. Himanshu Prabha Ray, author and historian, currently Research Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford and Routledge Series Editor, Archaeology and Religion in South Asia

 The search for relics of the Buddha is a fascinating story of irretrievable transformation of an ancient religious practice dating from the 3rd century BCE Mauryan period in the 19th and 20th centuries as brick mounds indicating ancient stupas yielded their treasures of gems, gold and coins to indiscriminate diggers and adventurers. The talk will provide a context and the background to the IIC photo exhibition in the Quadrangle Garden


(Organised by IIC-International Research Division)