Kushinagar monks complain about poor maintenance of old Buddha statue

ANI, March 3, 2011

Kushinagar, India -- Buddhist monks and pilgrims in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, have complained about the poor maintenance of the famous Mahaparinirvana Buddha idol.

Several parts of the statue have cracks, the paint has come off, and many parts are damaged.

Buddhayan Gautam, a Buddhist monk, said: "Three toes of the statue had come off, which the archaeological department mended with cement. The officials from the archaeological centers in Patna and Delhi have inspected it.

It is because of the lack of concern of the archaeological department that the statue is in such a condition."

Temple authorities fear the red sandstone statue could fall apart any time.

Mahendra Bhante, the President of Samayak Sambuddha Kushinara Trust, said:

"We have been taking care of the statue since 1984. I think it will fall apart at anytime. This is the only statue in the country that was found in a good condition."

The 1,500-year-old statue was excavated by the British East India Company in the mid-1800s.

Several foreign visitors have complained about poor arrangements to prevent tourists from touching and mishandling artifacts inside the Parinirvana Temple.

"Buddhists who come from many countries would be very upset looking at the cracks in the statue and the condition of the stupa," said Canadian tourist Geoffery.

Kushinagar is the place where the Buddha is said to have attained nirvana.