Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Lumbini, Nepal on Monday, May 16 on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
He will visit the Himalayan nation at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Mr Modi will participate in the Shilanyas ceremony for the construction of a unique centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage within the Lumbini Monastic Zone.
Observers say, India’s Buddhist symbolism and more so at the level of the Prime Minister also brings to focus the perceived ‘atheist China’s Buddhist card’ in the game of geopolitics and geostrategic.
At Lumbini, the Prime Minister will visit the sacred Mayadevi temple to offer prayers. He will also deliver an address at a Buddha Jayanti event organized by the Lumbini Development Trust under the aegis of the Government of Nepal.
The construction of the unique India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage with a universal appeal will be undertaken by the International Buddhist Confederation, India under the auspices of the Lumbini Development Trust with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, sources said.
The Buddhist Centre will be the first Net Zero Emission building in Nepal.
The International Buddhist Confederation, is a grantee body under the Ministry of Culture.
Also, on this occasion, the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation is hosting a programme for the Vaishakha Buddha Purnima Divas celebrations in New Delhi.
The Chief Guest for the event will be Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, while the Guest of Honour will be Union Culture and Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy,Minister of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal will be the special guest.
In Prime Minister’s departure statement, Mr Modi said, he is looking forward to offering prayers at the Mayadevi Temple on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti.
The Prime Minister said he is honoured to follow in the footsteps of millions of Indians to pay reverence at the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s birth.
Mr Modi said he also looks forward to meeting his Nepal counterpart Deuba again after the productive discussions during his visit to India last month.
He said, India and Nepal will continue to build “on our shared understanding to expand cooperation” in multiple areas, including in hydropower, development and connectivity.
The Prime Minister said, apart from visiting the holy Mayadevi Temple, he will be participating in Shilanyas ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone.
He will also attend celebrations to mark the occasion of Buddha Jayanti organised by the Government of Nepal. Mr Modi said, India’s ties with Nepal are unparalleled. He said, the civilisational and people-to-people
contacts between India and Nepal form the enduring edifice of the close relationship.
The significance of the timing of the Prime Minister’s visit to Nepal is to coincide with the inauguration of Lumbini Buddhist Centre with the Holy Vaishakha Buddha Purnima Divas.
Lumbini is the holy place where according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mahamayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama at around 623 B.C.
In a special briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that the conversation between Prime Minister Modi and Sher Bahadur Deuba during Mr Modi’s visit will dwell on all aspects of bilateral ties. The scope of India-Nepal ties is wide, the Foreign Secretary has said.