The exposition of Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha brought from Pakistan has been held at a ceremony to mark the Buddhist festival of Vesak.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Pakistan Prime Minister Ranil WickraMasinghe were on hand, as were senior members of the Buddhist clergy.
The relics, sent from Pakistan as part of collection from the Taxila Museum, will be open to the public until mid-June, and will be displayed throughout the country at Gampaga, Kurunegala, Kalutara, Hambantota, Moneragala, Ampara, Badulla, Polonnaruwa, and AnuraDhapura.
The sacred artifacts include a golden casket holding the relics, and a stone reliquary in the shape of a stupa. The casket contains holy bone fragments found near the Dharmarajika stupa, the earliest and largest Buddhist religious complex at Taxila.
The stupa was excavated in 1912–16 by Ghulam Qadir and Sir John Marshall, and by A D Siddiqui in 1934-36.
The Gandhara civilization was the cradle of the world famous Gandhara culture, art and learning. It gave rise to unique sculpture, known as Gandhara Art, which is known all over the world.