Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit at the Buddhist conclave in New Delhi on Monday. Delegates from the conclave will visit Bodhgaya on Friday. (PTI)
An international delegation of Buddhists would visit Bodhgaya on Friday allaying the fear that had crept into the pilgrims’ minds after the July 7 serial blasts.
In a step that would mark beginning of the tourism season, the delegation of International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) would make a two-day visit to Bodhgaya, about 130km south of Patna.
At least 191 delegates, including Princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck and Sangharaja of Laos, Mahanayakas of Sri Lanka, would participate in the conference.
The aim of the conclave, organised by the tourism and art, culture and youth affairs departments, is to make efforts to preserve and revitalise Buddhist heritage with help of the Centre.
The delegates from 39 countries would discuss matters related to sustainable development and environment of Bodhgaya in the presence of state government officials.
The delegation has already arrived in New Delhi to participate in a four-day conclave organised by the Confederation from September 9 to 12.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar would welcome the delegation at Patna airport on Friday morning. Following a public felicitation, Nitish would also inaugurate a museum at Buddha Smriti Park on the occasion.
The delegation would visit the Karuna Stupa at Buddha Smriti Park and participate in the prayers and chanting under the Bodhi tree by monks of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. Thereafter, the delegation would leave for Bodhgaya in the evening.
In Bodhgaya, the delegation is likely to take part in an hour-long special puja, organised by the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee and the International Buddhist Council, Bodhgaya, under the Bodhi tree on the Mahabodhi Mahavihara campus from 7pm. The delegation would stay overnight in Bodhgaya.
The delegation will also take part in the Saturday morning prayers on the campus of Mahabodhi Mahavihara. After the prayers, the IBC heritage delegation would visit Rajgir — also a part of the state’s Buddhist Circuit — before leaving for Patna on way to Delhi in the evening.
Apart from the delegates, spiritual leaders and the followers of Buddhist traditions — Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana — are also expected to participate in the conclave.
Nangzey Dorjee, secretary, Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, said: “During the Bodhgaya visit, we would welcome the delegation and present the souvenir, Prajna, to them.”
Dorjee is in Delhi to participate in the three-day conclave where he made a PowerPoint presentation on Bodhgaya and Mahabodhi Mahavihara.
This is the second such conclave after a delegation visited Bodhgaya last year.
The three-day conclave was organised jointly by Bihar and Uttar Pradesh tourism departments at Sarnath near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on September 29 in which 175 delegates from 30 different countries had participated. The delegation had arrived Bodhgaya on September 30.