The move to shift the holy relic of famous Chinese scholar Xuanzang to its original place at Nalanda has gained momentum following the visit of a team from the Union ministry for culture to Patna recently. The relic is currently kept at the Patna Museum under lock and key.
The team headed by RC Mishra, joint secretary in the Union ministry of culture, made physical verification of the Xuanzang's relic at Patna Museum a few days ago. The team also reviewed the renovation work being carried out at the Xuanzang Memorial during its visit to Nalanda.
The relic comprising the skull bone is kept in a crystal casket at the museum, will be permanently shifted to the Xuanzang Memorial Hall at Nalanda in a bulletproof case either in January-end or early February. Mishra is expected to write to the Bihar chief secretary soon with the request to make necessary arrangements so that the relic can be shifted to Nalanda safely," said a senior state government official.
It is understood that director of the Nav Nalanda Mahavihara Ravindra Pant has sought the description, measurement and other details of the relic from Patna Museum authorities to place it at Xuanzang Hall.
Meanwhile, a 26-member Chinese team led by director state administration of religious Affairs Wang Jian is currently on a 100-day visit to Nalanda to carry out restoration work of the famous Xuanzang Memorial Hall.
"The restoration work, which began in early December, is expected to be completed by January-end," said an official.
To make the Xuanzang Memorial Hall more magnificent, the Chinese government has engaged the best of craftsmen for its restoration including its surroundings comprising statues, mural work, bell pavilion etc. The team includes top civil engineers, architects and designers.
It was in January 12, 1957, the then Prime Minister Nehru received the Xuanzang's relic along with a cheque from the Dalai Lama for construction of a memorial for Xuanzang at a function organised at the Nav Nalanda University.
It was in 1956 that the Indo-China Friendship Communication along with the then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and his Indian counterpart Nehru had approved the construction of Xuanzang Memorial Hall — barely a km away from the excavated site of ancient Nalanda University — in order to commemorate Xuanzang.
"The Union ministry for cultural affairs has already sanctioned Rs 1.5 crore for renovation of the hall which will also have an exhibition centre and texts to highlight the Chinese scholar's life and works," Pant said.