Asthi Kalash

The Second Production of Heritage Infodrama Series Directed by Sunita Bharti

A Tale of the Journey of the Buddha’s Relic from 5th Century BCE to 20th Century CE
The History
The advent of Gautama the Buddha was a turning point in the history of the religious life of human being. In the 5th century BCE, his newly propounded concept of Eight Fold Path, which was an offshoot of the Hindu religion, took the shape of a world religion within 200 years of his death in 483 BCE.
As a preacher, Buddha was perhaps the most popular saint in the world history who, in his life time, gained far and wide popularity and enjoyed incomparable love and admiration of people. He was so loved and revered by the kings and the tribe-heads of the time that after his death, there arose a war-like situation among different clans and kings of India for the share of his corporeal relics. The story has been carried down the ages by tradition and became so popular that a scene depicting the ‘war for relic of Buddha’ outside Kushinagar Fort has been carved on the rear bottom architrave of the Gate of Stupa No. 1, of Sanchi.

Rear Bottotm Architrave, South Gate, Stupa No. 1, Sanchi
Finally, the Corporeal Relics of Buddha was divided in eight parts and distributed among the contenders who built eight stupas over their shares in their respective states, called Sharira Stupas.
Among the contenders of the relic, one was the Licchavi Clan of Vaishali, who built a stupa over their share at Vaishali soon after the death of Buddha. This stupa existed and was known by the people up to the 7th century CE, when Huen Tsang travelled India during 629 to 645 AD. Taking clue from the Huen Tsang’s account, in 1958, the then Director of Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, Dr. Anant Sadashiv Altekar determined the location of the sharia stupa of Vaishali; and, after excavation a relic casket was retrieved, which is presently preserved and exhibited at Patna Museum, Patna.

Excavated Vaishali Stupa

Relic Casket an Its Contents
The Infodrama Asthi Kalash
The second production of the Heritage Infodrama series Asthi Kalash is based on the history and archaeology of the Relic Casket of the Buddha excavated at Vaishali in 1958 by Dr. A. S. Altekar, and now preserved and exhibited at Patna Museum, Buddha Marg, Patna, Bihar, INDIA.
The Infodrama showcases the followings:
  1. The last days of Buddha and his demise as depicted in the mahāparinibbāna sutta, including the episode of Amrapali’s hospitality, Last Meal of Buddha, distribution of relics and making of sharira stupa by the Licchavis of Vaishali.
  2. Story of the Huen Tsang’s visit of Vaishali.
  3. How the relic stupa in Vaishali was identified and excavated in 1958 by Dr. Altekar.
  4. Archaeological method of determining the date of habitation layer on the basis of the pot-sherds and the time-specific antiquities found in the layers.

First Show in the FACES Heritag Festival 2021, at Bihar Museum Patna on 23 October 2021

Sunita Bharti

The Directior

Charactors lived by her in the play are Devi Ambapali, the courtesan of Vaishali & Shanti, wife of an excavation labourer.

The Artists

Mithilesh Kumar Sinha

Mahatma Buddha

Kumud Ranjan

Dr. A. S. Altekar & Malla Raja

Shubham Singh

Vinay, an Archaeology student, the story narrator.

Ravi Kumar

Rajendra, an Archaeology student.

Nand Lal Singh

Dr. Sita Ram Roy, the Excavation Officer in 1958 Excavtion & Chunda.

Ram Lakhan Singh

Bhikshu at Vaishali Vihar, RadhGupta & Brahmin Drona.

Ashutosh Sarraf

Huen Tsang, Subhadda & Attavi-Rakkhak

Aarti Sinha

Sony, an Archaeology student



Shubham Singh 'Rajput'

Samrat Ashok

Rohit Kumar

Jayant, an Archaeology student


Vinita, an Archaeology student.

Niranjan Upadhyay

Licchavi Kumar




Bauddh Bikshu & Malla Sainik

Ankit Sahay

Licchavi Kumar

Shashi Kumar

Anand, pricipal desciple of Buddha

Spriha Raj

Madlekha, Maid of Ambpali

Anjali Mayank

Shayama, Maid of Ambapali

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