Managing thousands of devotees during the five-month-long Bodh Mahotsava would pose a challenge to the heightened security measures in and around Mahabodhi Mahavihara imposed after the July 7 blasts.
On Saturday, the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) released the schedule of annual events of world peace puja performances for the 2013-14 tourist season.
The administration would need to regulate the movement of devotees peacefully in view of the enhanced security cover in and around the Mahavihara. The schedule, announced late this year, has also been uploaded on the BTMC website http://www.mahabodhimahavihara.org/.
The annual events, all of which would be held on the Mahavihara campus, would start with the Maha Kathina Civara Dana ceremony on October 23 and conclude with the six-day Third International Mani Dungchur Monlam on February 21.
In the present system, a visitor has to undergo a three-layer security check — cross the doorframe metal detector, hand-held metal detector and get frisked by security personnel.
All India Bhikkhu Sangh office-bearer Bhikkhu Pragyadeep told The Telegraph: “It would be better to install modern apparatus such as baggage scanner, latest cameras and others to avoid manual checking. There would be a huge rush of devotees during the mahotsava. Manual checking may be embarrassing for devotees and foreign tourists.” Bodh Mahotsava was started in 1998 to promote tourism and draw foreign tourists to the Buddhist circuit, which includes Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Pawapuri, Varanasi, Sarnath and some other places. Till 2005, there was no fixed date. It was organised either in December or January. In 2006, the tourism department fixed January 15, 16 and 17 for organising the mahotsava in Bodhgaya every year.
Some of the mahotsava events are missing from the BTMC’s schedule this year. The fest ends a bit early this time. BTMC secretary Nangzey Dorjee said some more events have to be added to the schedule. He ruled out any cause of scare and added that the district administration has made adequate arrangements for the safety of devotees and the tourists.