Ancient State of Kapilvastu


This place has been named Kapilvastu after the name of Great Sage Kapil who is the founder of Sankhya philosophy and who happens to stay in the very place where the state with a name of Kapilvastu was established. The Sage Kapil’s hermitage is believed to have been near to the edge of Vagirathi River.


Okkaka was the king of the state of Kosal. His sons and daughters fled to Taulihawa when they were exiled and formed a town near to the edge of Bhagirathi River with name of Kapilvastu.

Two theories have been proposed regarding to the naming of the tribe as Sakya.

i)                   The first one says that Kapilvastu used to be covered with Sal forest in those days. So the tribe derived its name of Sakya from wood- ‘Sal’.

ii)                According to the second theory, when King Okkaka heard the story of his banished sons and daughters regarding how they were able to save their dynasty, the king exclaimed-“Sakya vata bho kumara parama Sakya vata bho kumara” which means “Aha! Smart men indeed, Sakya are the smart men” It refers to the fact that anybody practicing endogamous marriage is termed- Sakya.

The heresy is that the four banished sons married with their own banished sisters to save the purity of their blood and entitled the eldest sister as the Queen mother.

According to another legend, Queen mother Priya got married with King Ram of Varanasi who founded the town named Devdaha at the eastern side of Kapilvastu and began their race of Kolias.



According to Mahavamsa, Ulkamukha was the first king of Kapilvastu. Several generations later, Simhahanu was born. Simhahanu had five sons- Suddhodhana, Dhautodana, Shakradana, Sulkodana and Amritodan and two daughters named Amrita and Pramita. Amrita was married to Prince Suprabuddha of Devdaha, father of Yasodhar. Mayadevi was the daughter of AnjanaSakya chief of Devdaha.

Birth of Buddha:-

King Suddhodana of Kapilvastu got married with Princess Mayadevi of Devdaha. Legend held it that Mayadevi was travelling from her maternal house at Devdaha to her husband’s house in Kapilvastu when on the way she came upon a beautiful pond surrounded by sal forest. She took a bath in the pond and emerged out from the northern side. Then she had walked just 20 steps that she suddenly felt the pangs of labour. So she held the branch of tree in her hand and looked east and finally gave birth to the child who later became popular as Buddha- the enlightened one. Buddha is said to have walked 7steps immediately after his birth. His birth is believed to have been during 6th century BC. This place where Buddha was born was named Lumbini.

Kapilvastu defeated:-

Kosal had a feudal relationship with Shakyas. King Vidudhabha – king of Kosal attacked Kapilvastu. Several Sakyas were ruthlessly murdered and others who were alive fled to different directions. Thus city of Kapilvastu came to an end in 500BC during the lifetime of Buddha himself.

One Response

  1. N.S. January 5, 2013

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!