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Envoy to focus on educational ties

The ambassador of France to India, Francois Richier, visited the World Heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara on Monday.

He also took a look at the spots on the campus where explosives went off on July 7.

The French ambassador is on a three-day visit to Bihar. During his stay, the ambassador is likely to explore educational ties between India and France.

During his visit to Mahabodhi Mahavihara, the ambassador offered prayers to the statue of Lord Buddha in the sanctum sanctorum.

He also visited the meditation park on the campus. The chief priest of the Mahavihara, Bhikkhu Chalinda, led the ambassador to offer prayers.

The chief priest presented him the coffee table book An Awakening in Bodhgaya and khada (the holy silicon piece of cloth) at the reception of Mahavihara.

The French ambassador also visited the free boarding school being run at Tikabigha around 5km south of the Mahavihara by a French woman Jene Pere popularly known as Mummyji under Jeanamitabh Welfare Trust.

The trust runs four primary schools around Bodhgaya at Rattibigha, Khiriawan, Itwan (on Gaya-Cherki road) and at Urail. The ambassador met the children studying in the boarding school.

The trust bears the education cost of the children in the boarding up to Class XII and even for higher technical or vocational course studies.

The ambassador would leave Bodhgaya for Nalanda International University (NIU) site at Rajgir on Tuesday morning. He would participate at a programme hosted by NIU vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal.

After the programme, he would also visit the ruins of the old Nalanda University. He would then proceed to Patna for a visit of the Bihar museum. He would also visit the Sonepur cattle fair and National Institute of Technology (NIT) Patna. There is a possibility of the ambassador meeting chief minister Nitish Kumar and governor D.Y. Patil.