Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims flocking Amaravati for Kalchakra

NewKerala, Jan 3, 2006

Guntur, Andhra Pradesh -- Buddhist pilgrims from Tibet are flocking the temple town of Amaravati on the banks of Krishna river in this district to take part in Kalachakra, a Buddhist programme to be held from January 5 to 17.

The Dalai Lama will inaugurate the Kalachakra programme on January 5 in a huge pandal with a seating capacity of 50,000.

The streets of the small town, known as ''Palden Drepung' in Tibetan buddhist literature, are filled with saffron-robed Tibetans.

The government has erected temporary shelters to house about 20,000 Buddhist pilgrims.

However, opposition Telugu Desam Party leader K Shivaprasad Rao, talking to reporters here today, criticised the slow pace of work in sanitation and laying of roads being undertaken by the district administration for the spritual event.

Meanwhile, the arrival of the pilgrims has given a fillip to the local business with hotels and grocery store owners doing brisk business. House rents have also shot up.

Lord Buddha had conducted the first Kalachakra ritual about 2550 years ago at Amaravati. The 120 foot high Buddha statue near the venue of the meet would be completed after the Kalachakra programme concludes.