Andhra Pradesh gearing up for Buddhist congregation

Times of India, Dec 23, 2005

HYDERABAD, India -- The Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up to host the world Buddhist conclave ‘Kalachakra’ 2006, to be held at Amravati on the banks of the Krishna river in Guntur district from January 5 next year.

Strict security arrangements are being made at the venue where Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will deliver discourses during the 12-day event. The authorities are also taking steps to provide drinking water, power supply, shelters and other facilities to the participants.

Briefing reporters about the arrangements for the prestigious event, Finance Minister K Rosaiah and Tourism Minister Dr J Geetha Reddy today said the state government was playing the role of a facilitator by providing infrastructure and other facilities for the pilgrims at an estimated cost of Rs 52.64 crore.

Terming the event as a prestigious one for the country, they said over 1.3 lakh Buddhist pilgrims are expected to participate in the congregation and a contingent of 1,000 volunteers from Dharmasala-based Norbulingka Institute were already camping at Amravati to make the necessary arrangements.

On its part, the state government had constituted a cabinet sub-committee, headed by Rosaiah, to co-ordinate the arrangements and monitor the works being taken up at the site.

Home to ancient Buddhist sites, Amravati, a small village about 35 km from Guntur, is a holy land for Buddhists. It was here that the Buddha first revealed 'Kalachakra', a spiritual practice belonging to the highest yoga tantras.