Its diplomacy through common cultural route
that is being displayed in Bodhgaya, the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage
site, where over a hundred prominent Buddhists from South-East Asian
countries are presently camping.
Bihar is playing host to the group of Buddhist followers, who belong
to influential sections in the respective countries, and has come to
India as part of Mekong-Ganga project involving, India, Thailand,
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, which is aimed at enhancing
cooperation in the fields of tourism, culture and education.
Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism attained
enlightenment in the 6th century BC is bustling with activities, and
the group also visited some Hindu shrines in the area.
"Actually in Thailand we also have Hindu temple ...a lot of Thai
people is worshipping Hindu God's also. So I think it is the same,"
said Nabhaspor Bhutto Richal, Counsellor, Thailand's Ministry of
The initiative, taken by India, under the Mekong-Ganga project, aims
to promote India's Buddhist circuits among the south east Asian
The project, which envisages enhancing business contacts between the
people residing on the banks of Mekong and Ganga rivers, will help
India to extend its footprints into the ASEAN region by exploiting the
The delegates were also treated to a cultural program, showcasing
various facets of India's rich past.
The group is also expected to visit Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, where
Buddha gave his first sermon.
There are several important Buddhist religious places in India like
Kushinagar, where Lord Buddha breathed his last, Sanchi in central
Madhya Pradesh state, an ancient seat of Buddhist learning, and
several monasteries in the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh,
Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
India, in recent past, has been promoting the country as a hub for
Buddhist tourism, and particularly targeting South East Asian
countries as well as China and Japan, which have a sizeable Buddhist