Odisha set to explore 'Buddhist tourism' potential
Press Trust of India, 23 January 2013
BHUBANESHWAR, India -- Odisha government is taking several initiatives to explore its vast potential to turn the state into a Buddhist tourism hub like Bodhgaya in Bihar and Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.
Large scale excavation is taking place in Lalitgiri, Udaigiri and Ratnagiri which are hilly areas in the state with highest concentration of Buddhist remains.
“The cascade has been taken into safe custody , being conserved and will be displayed at the new museums at Lalitgiri which is undergoing construction,” Sushant Kumar Kar, assistant superintending archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told PTI.
“During the excavation of Ratnagiri, which was carried on by former director general of ASI, Dr Debala Mitra between 1958-61, two monasteries were found; the bigger one was about 55 metre square while the smaller one had several stupas and temples,” Mr Kar said.
“The second phase of excavation took place between 1997-2003 in which we unearthed a double-storey shrine complex, stupa complex and a kitchen complex,” said Mr Kar.
In order to promote state's tourism the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has also conducted a week long tour jointly with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. An international Buddhist conclave is also scheduled for next month.