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Nalasopara stupa to be tourist hotspot soon

by Sandhya Nair, TNN, Apr 14, 2011

MUMBAI, India -- The state, along with the Vasai-Virar municipal corporation is drawing up a proposal to restore and preserve a Buddhist stupa in Nalasopara (W). The stupa, which comes under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), has been neglected for many years. The state plans to convert it into an international centre.

State chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad will visit the site on Thursday. Officials from the state, municipal corporation, MMRDA and ASI recently held a meeting at Mantralaya to discuss ways in which the stupa can be restored to attract more tourists. The stupa is said to be built in the reign of King Ashoka. The site will house meditation centres, a museum and a mini theatre where films on the Buddhist stupa will be shown. Slide shows and guides will also be available.

The MMRDA has earmarked Rs 10 crore for the restoration and preservation of the stupa.

A pond overlooking the stupa will be beautified as part of the restoration work.

The ancient Buddhist stupa in located in Nalasopara (W) will be made into an international centre. The state government along with the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation is drawing up a plan to restore and preserve the stupa which is already under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) but stands neglected.

The state chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad will on Thursday visit the stupa located in Mardes village to review the site and its surroundings'. Both state, civic, MMRDA, ASI officials' recently held a meeting at Mantralaya to discuss the ways in which the stupa site, known to be built in the reign of King Ashoka, can be developed to attract both Indian and foreign tourists.

The site will be made into an international centre to be spread on over 40 acres of land. It will have meditation centres, a museum, and a mini theatre where a film on the Buddhist stupa will be shown to the tourists. Slide shows and guides for tourists will also be made available at the site.

The MMRDA has earmarked Rs 10 crores for the restoration and preservation of the stupa. Around 100 metres away from the stupa, gardens and landscaping will be done. A pond overseeing the stupa will be cleaned and beautified as part of the restoration work.

The VVMC has also earmarked Rs 1 crore in the 2011-12 budget for rehabilitation of hutments in and around the area, said VVMC mayor Rajeev Patil.

The municipality will have to shortlist land where facilities like hotels and dharamshalas can be constructed. The civic body will submit its report to the state government soonbased of which the work on building the centre will be taken up and the project is likely to be completed in two years.

Historians say that the stupa has been long neglected and is constantly eroding. Despite it being under the ASI, preservation and restoration work has not been carried out.

As of now, there is no record on the number of people visiting the stupa every year.Box:

Proof of Ashokan inscriptions have been recovered from Sopara. During excavation ruins of a Buddhist Stupa were found. From the center of the stupa (inside a brick built chamber) a large stone coffer was excavated which contained eight bronze images of Buddha which belong to the 8th-9th century A.D.


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