| Flags put up on the temple campus for the public exposition in Bodhgaya. Picture by Suman |
Devotees would be able to pray before the relics of Sakya-muni Buddha and his chief disciples Sariputta and Maha Moggallana at the annual public exposition to be organised in Bodhgaya from Friday.
Governor Devanand Konwar will inaugurate the exposition at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara, around 100m west of Mahabodhi Mahavihara, on the campus of the Bodhgaya branch of Mahabodhi Society of India. Devotees would be able to visit the exposition till February 3 between 8am and 10am.
A procession, led by Mahabodhi Society of India general secretary D. Rewath Thero, will also be taken out on the opening day of the exposition.
The relics are kept in the sanctum sanctorum of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara around the year and are brought out for the public only during the annual exposition.
“The relics of Sakyamuni Buddha were brought to the society’s branch in Bodhgaya in 2006 from Anuradhapuram in Sri Lanka. The relics were first sent to Delhi and from there to Raj Bhavan in Patna and then brought to Bodhgaya. The relics were taken to Mahabodhi Society of India, Bodhgaya branch, after prayers near the 80ft statue of Buddha in Bodhgaya (around 300m west of Mahabodhi Mahavihara),” the society’s spokesperson in Bodhgaya, A.H. Khan, said.
The relics of Sariputta and Maha Moggallana were brought to the Bodhgaya from the society’s branch in Calcutta.
For the public exposition, statues of Sariputta and Maha Moggallana that would be a part of the procession on February 1 would be painted in gold on Thursday afternoon at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara. A statue of Lord Buddha kept at the Mahabodhi Mahavihara would also be painted in gold in the evening. But it would not be a part of the procession.
Early in the morning of February 1, the procession will be taken out from Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara to the Mahabodhi Mahavihara. Schoolchildren, monks and nuns, besides other Buddhist devotees, are expected to join the procession. A cultural programme will follow in the evening.