Kumaratunga offers prayer at Bodh Gaya


GAYA, India -- Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sunday offered prayer at Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya. On arrival here from New Delhi, Kumaratunga, leading a 49-member delegation and accompanied by India?s high commissioner to Sri Lanka Nirupama Rao, headed straight to the Bodh Gaya temple to offer prayer.

She said she "felt honoured to be at Bodh Gaya". Venerable Bodhipal, the chief priest of the temple, and other monks chanted in Pali language, paying homage to Lord Buddha and his teachings. They prayed for peace in Sri Lanka.

Kumaratunga visited Muchlund Sarovar, a special pond on the temple premises where Buddha is believed to have spent one week of non-stop meditation prior to his enlightment. She fed the pond fishes also.

Kumaratunga gifted two ceremonial light stands to the temple. She was also presented with replica of the temple. She offered robes to 20 monks.

Later, she inaugurated the first general conference of World Buddhist Sangha Youth. More than 200 delegates from 30 countries including USA, Canada, Switzerland, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, attended the conference.