| Buddha Smriti Park in Patna. BUIDCo authorities have planned elaborate celebrations for Buddha Purnima on May 6. Telegraph picture |
Pilgrims and devotees to Patna would get a fitting gift on the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha this year. The meditation hall of Buddha Smriti Park would be inaugurated on May 6.
After the inauguration, devotees would be allowed to use the facilities at the hall. They would have to pay a fee of Rs 250 for two hours.
Besides opening the facility, a number of other programmes have been scheduled for Buddha Purnima. A team of monks from Bodhgaya and Rajgir would visit the shrine to conduct meditation and prayer sessions.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar would also attend the celebrations.
A senior Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo) officer told The Telegraph: “As the Buddha Smriti Park is an important pilgrimage site in Patna, we want to celebrate Buddha Purnima in style. We will decorate the shrine. We will also install a sound system on the premises.”
He added: “The special attraction of the day would be the inauguration of a nine-foot statue of Gautama Buddha near the Bodhi plant and the meditation centre.”
The Bodhi plant has been cultivated from sap- lings brought from Bodh- gaya and Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.
The officer also said: “We have talked to Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) to invite monks to participate and conduct the prayer and meditation sessions.”
BTMC member secretary Nangzey Dorjee told The Telegraph: “We co-ordinate round-the-year with the BUIDCo for various activities. Relics of Lord Buddha are kept at the park, and the Dalai Lama inaugurated the shrine. So, it is an important pilgrimage spot.”
He added: “We would send at least 10 monks to conduct special prayer and chanting sessions on Buddha Purnima. We have also planned to organise an elaborate event at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya. The detailed itinerary regarding the events at the Buddha Smriti Park would be finalised soon.”
The park, spread across 22 acres that earlier housed Bankipore Jail, was developed at a cost of Rs 125 crore.
The Dalai Lama inaugurated it in 2010. The shrine embodies the Buddhist connection and heritage of the state capital. Relics related to Gautama Buddha, acquired from six countries, are enshrined on the 200-foot-high stupa called Patliputra Karuna Stupa.
BUIDCo has, in the meantime, appointed Feedback Ventures, a private company, for the branding of the park.