| Buddhist monks who have arrived for the conference come out of a hotel on Friday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
As the city warms up to host the three-day Buddhist Sangha Conference from Saturday, the hotels are at the service of hundreds of global delegates.
On Friday, a huge rush of practising Buddhists could be seen checking into hotels of all price ranges. The hotels were busy attending to the national and the international delegates, who would take part in one of the biggest gathering of Buddhists.
Around 200 rooms have been already booked across the city for the delegates and the monks from Japan, Korea, Thailand, US, Germany and Bodhgaya. The Dalai Lama, too, is in Patna to take part in the international conference.
Maurya, a three-star hotel, welcomed the delegates in a traditional way with aarti and tika. The number of rooms booked in Maurya crossed 65 after more international delegates and speakers confirmed their bookings on Friday.
On the food for the “special guests”, R.R. Rana, the front office manager of Maurya, said: “The menu for the delegates and the monks has been planned after getting approvals from them. We have lavish vegetarian and non-vegetarian Thai, Continental and Oriental cuisines. Healthy salad and our speciality, the honey shake, would be part of the sumptuous spread. Fresh fruits and vegetables would be the surprise toppings.”
Haveli, the restaurant of Samrat International, too, is witnessing a heavy footfall compared to other days in the run-up to the conclave.
“The monks staying in Samrat are not that specific about food. They are enjoying the traditional Indian cuisines that are in our regular menu,” said Vijay Sinha, the manager of the hotel.
Around 20 rooms have been booked for the members of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee and delegates from Mahabodhi Mahavihara.
“To avoid the communication barrier, I have asked for a translator who would assist the hotel employees to understand the needs of our guests. Around 10 rooms have been occupied and a few more have confirmed for the day (Friday),” said Prabhat Kumar, the manager of Samrat International.
Apart from the state delegates, 35 rooms have been booked at hotel Patliputra Asoka on Beer Chand Patel Marg for the national delegates. Keeping in mind the rising number of the monks turning up for the conference, an additional 25 rooms have been reserved at Marwadi Guest House on Frazer Road.
“The arrangements are very good and we are happy that the government has taken a keen interest in the conference. Apart from food, I loved the tea of the city,” said Raj Kiroon Chakma, a delegate, who was seen sipping tea at a stall on Station Road.
Chakma arrived in Patna early Friday morning to ensure he gets rooms before the conference starts.
“We don’t want to miss the golden opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak. We checked into a hotel at 7am on Friday,” added Chakma.
More than 60 rooms have been booked in various hotels for monks from Bodhgaya and within the state.