Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha that had been placed in the custody of the Sri Lanka Embassy since March 2018, were returned to the Ananda Kuti Vihara in Kathmandu at a special religious ceremony on 6 November 2020.
The historical Ananda Kuti Vihara was completely destroyed in the earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, and was reconstructed by the Sri Lankan Government, in keeping with the strong Buddhist links between the two countries. The Sacred Relics had originally been gifted to the temple by Sri Lanka, and had been placed in the Embassy for safe keeping during the reconstruction period, with daily offering of Buddha pooja and appropriate rituals being conducted by the Embassy staff.
Ambassador Himalee Arunatilaka handed over the Relics to Chief Abbot of the Tempe and President of the Ananda Kuti Vihara Trust the Most Ven. Maitri Thero. The Relics were thereafter enshrined in the newly built stupa, amidst the chanting of pirith by the Maha Sangha.
The strong connection between the Ananda Kuti Vihara and Sri Lanka goes back to 1946, when the intervention of a Sri Lankan Buddhist relegation led by the Venerable Narada Maha Thero resulted in the revival of Theravada Buddhism in Nepal. The late Mahanayaka Thero was also instrumental in the construction of the original stupa at the Ananda Kuti Vihara which was unveiled in 1948 as the ‘Lankarama Stupa’.
SAARC Secretary General Esala Weerakoon and members of the Sri Lanka Embassy and SAARC Secretariat participated at the special religious ceremony.