Millennium Post

Varanasi plays host to two-day International Buddhist Conclave

Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai has said that tourists from countries having sizable Buddhist population such as Thailand and Malaysia would be providedthe facility of visa on Arrival [VOA] in India. Inaugurating a two day International Buddhist Conclave at Varanasi on Friday, he said his ministry had also decided to develop a ghat in the temple town of Varanasi in the name of Lord Buddha on the bank of river Ganga. He said his ministry had adopted a Keep India Clean Mission to keep clean cities, particularly tourist places across the country, to attract the maximum number of tourists. The minister appealed to the state governments to take initiatives for the success of this mission. He assured full cooperation of his ministry to the state government and local administration to keep the holy city of Varanasi clean.

Sahai said India being the land of origin of Buddhism, is the main attraction for the Buddhist tourists from across the globe. He said his ministry is drawing up plans to attract more tourists from Buddhist countries by providing them special facilities.

Sahai announced that his ministry has identified three circuits to be developed as part of Buddhist Circuits during the 12th Five Year Plan. The three circuits are:

Circuit 1: The Dharmayatra or the Sacred Circuit - This will be a five to seven days circuit and will include visits to Gaya [Bodhgaya], Varanasi [Sarnath], Kushinagar, Piparva [ Kapilvastu] with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal. Circuit 2: Extended Dharmayatra or Extended Sacred Circuit or Retracing Buddha’s Footsteps - This will be a 10 to 15 days circuit and will include visits to Bodhgaya [Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya], Patna [Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, Lauriya Ariraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum], Varanasi[Sarnath], Kushinagar, Piparva [Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Saniska] with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.

Circuit 3: Buddhist Heritage Trails State Circuits - Jammu and Kashmir - Ladakh, Srinagar and Jammu; Himachal Pradesh - Dharamshala, Spiti, Kinnaur and Lahaul.
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