New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba, participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone, Lumbini, Nepal.
The Centre will be constructed by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), New Delhi, on a plot allocated to IBC by the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) under an agreement between IBC and LDT signed in March 2022.
After the shilanyaas ceremony, which was performed by monks belonging to three major Buddhist traditions, Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, the two Prime Ministers also unveiled a model of the Centre.
Once completed, the Centre will be a world-class facility welcoming pilgrims and tourists from all over the world to enjoy the essence of the spiritual aspects of Buddhism.
It will be a modern building, NetZero compliant in terms of energy, water and waste handling, the MEA said.
It will house prayer halls, meditation centres, library, exhibition hall, cafeteria, offices and other amenities.
Prime Minister Modi is on a one-day visit to Lumbini, Nepal, on Monday (May 16), on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti.
He is on a visit to the Himalayan nation at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba.
This is Modi’s first Nepal visit since 2014.
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.
According to Buddhist tradition, Lumbini is the holy place where Queen Mahamayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama at around 623 B.C.
In a special briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said last week that the discussions between Prime Minister Modi and Sher Bahadur Deuba during Mr Modi’s visit would dwell on all aspects of bilateral ties.
The scope of India-Nepal ties is wide, the Foreign Secretary has said.