| Doctors at the medical camp on Sunday. Telegraph picture |
The three-day Kesariya Mahotsav concluded amid protests by monks, who were not invited for the celebrations this year.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had inaugurated the event in Kesariya, around 40km west of Motihari, on Friday.
First organised in 1992, the Mahotsav was then called Bodh Mahotsav. Dr Parmeshwar Ojha, who was the then in-charge of a government hospital, had started the event. Till 2006, the event was organised every year, the magnitude of which depended on the donations from the residents of the area.
However, the state government took over the event in 2007 and changed the name to Kesariya Mahotsav. Ever since, monks have been protesting and demanding restoration of the old name, Bodh Mahotsav.
The venue was one among Lord Buddha’s commemorative stoppages, where he had retired for a few nights on his way to Mahaparinirvan (great beatitude) in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, around 250km from Kesariya and 325km from Patna. Political leaders have been crying hoarse against the Centre for neglecting the world’s tallest (104.10 feet) Buddha Stupa at Kesariya and demanding that it is developed as an important tourist spot.
An effort towards preservation of the site had started during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but unfortunately the development work came to a grinding halt. The Archaeological Survey of India even left the excavation work near the Stupa site midway.
The three-day celebrations started with a dance drama on the life of Lord Buddha. Since the founder of the Mahotsav is a person associated with medical profession, a health camp was also organised. A large number of doctors from premier medical colleges like Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, was a part of the camp.