Indian state proposes global Buddhist conclave

Express News Service, Feb 9, 2010

BHUBANESWAR, India -- Tourism Minister Debi Prasad Mishra has proposed to the Centre to organise an international Buddhist conclave in Orissa.

Mishra attended the two-day international Buddhist conclave at Nalanda from February 6, organised by the Union Tourism Ministry in association with the Bihar Government, as the chief guest. The minister told mediapersons here that the State Government had identified 128 places having Buddhist heritage.

Orissa is one of the states where Buddhist philosophy and religion flourished from early times, he said, adding that Buddhist heritage in the State is remarkable for its rich architectural remains and sculptural wealth.

Orissa has Buddhist relics and sculptures at Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Olasuni, Dhauli and many other places, he said and added that the State Government had initiated steps to improve infrastructure and facilities to attract tourists.

Referring to the growing interest among the international tourists to visit places of Buddhist heritage, the Minister said that steps are being taken to make Orissa known worldwide as getaway.

In view of this, it is necessary that the third international conclave should be held in Orissa, he said.

While the first Buddhist conclave was held in New Delhi, the second one was held at Nalanda. A team of tourists from Thailand who attended the conclave maintained that every tourist visiting Buddhist places in India should not miss such places in Orissa.

The Minister met representatives from different countries, tour and travel operators at Nalanda.

Among others, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, Tourism Minister Ram Prakash Ray, Union Tourism Secretary S Banerjee, senior officials, scholars from 18 countries, tour and travel operators attended the meeting.