Official website of The Asiatic Society of Mumbai - Sopara Relics

Sopara Relics

The Society's collection includes the famous Sopara relics. In 1882, Pt. Bhagvanlal Indraji, renowned archaeologist, numismatist, epigraphist and Honorary Fellow of the Society, excavated a Buddhist stupa at Nala Sopara near Bombay. The site itself has Mauryan associations and two Asokan edicts have been found. From the centre of the stupa was excavated a large stone coffer containing eight unique Buddhist bronzes of 8th-9th century AD. The coffer also enclosed relic caskets of copper, silver, stone, crystal and gold, along with numerous gold flowers and fragments of a begging bowl believed to have been originally used by Gautama Buddha. The discovery of the Sopara relics created a great stir not only in India and Europe but also among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. The Bombay Government presented the Sopara relics to the Asiatic Society of Bombay and it is one of its most prized antiquities. The stone coffer is displayed in the vestibule, while the relics are kept in safe custody.