Buddhist monks organise special prayers on World Heritage Day in Gaya

ANI, 19 Apr 2013

Gaya, Bihar (India) -- A large number of Buddhist monks organised special prayers in Gaya, Bihar, for world peace and for the protection of the heritage sites as they celebrated 'World Heritage Day this week.

World Heritage Day is observed on April 18 with an aim to create awareness among the people for conservation of cultural heritage across the world.

World Heritage Day was first celebrated by International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on 18 April 1982 in Tunisia, which was later also approved by UNESCO in 1983.

Buddhist monks and school children gathered at the Buddhist holy centre of Bodh Gaya in Gaya district and participated in the peace march.

A monk, Ashok Bansh, said: "Today is an important day as on the occasion of World Heritage Day, all the male and female monks have assembled over here and organised a special prayer for world peace, for the welfare of the world and for the protection of the world heritage site."

Buddha was born a prince at Lumbini in Nepal over 2,600 years ago. He left his wife and child at the age of 29 in search of divine knowledge and enlightenment and attained it beneath a banyan tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, after years of meditation.

There are several important Buddhist religious places - Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where Lord Buddha attained salvation, Sarnath, Kushinagar, where Lord Buddha breathed his last, Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, an ancient seat of Buddhist learning, and several monasteries in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

India, in the recent past, has been promoting Buddhist tourism, and particularly targeting South East Asian countries, China and Japan, which have a sizeable Buddhist population.