India: Tourism dept gears up for Buddha Mahotsav

Hindustan Times, April 24, 2006

Varanasi, India -- The tourism department has geared up for the two-day ‘Buddha Mahotsav’ to be held here in Sarnath on May 13 and 14 to mark the festival of 2550 Buddha Jayanti. Hectic preparations have begun for the grand success of the festival.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has been urged to inaugurate the function.
A series of year-long events to mark the anniversary would also be kicked off on May 13. The function of Deepotsav lightening of lamps would be also celebrated on the same day. All the historical monuments and prominent temples of Sarnath, the birth place of Buddhism, would glitter with lamps.

A meeting of the concerned officials under the chairmanship of the Divisional Commissioner, was held in his office on Monday to give a final shape to the Mahotsav and a seminar. Responsibilites of different officials were fixed for preparations of function.

Commissioner CN Dubey directed the officials of Power Corporation and Jal Nigam to ensure adequate supply of water and electricity during the two-day function. The Jal Nigam has been also directed to arrange water tankers apart from routine water supply.

The commissioner also directed the city commissioner and executive engineer of PWD to ensure proper functioning of street lights, sanitation and repairing of roads from Pandeypur to Sarnath for the convenience of devotees. The administration will also introduce some special Mahanagri buses from major parts of city to Sarnath for ensuring an impressive participation of locals.

DM Rajiv Agrawal directed the officials of education department to ensure participation of students of school and colleges in the cultural function there.

According to sources, the formal function would begin on May 13 at 6.30 am followed by worship of Lord Buddha at the Dhammek Stupa and Mulgandh Kuti Vihara. All the monuments and temples would start glittering with lamps from 6. 30 pm.