Bihar to showcase Buddhist circuit at World Tourism Festival

Indo-Asian News Service , March 3, 2007

Patna, India -- In a bid to woo tourists from Europe and America, Bihar will showcase its famed Buddhist and Jain tourism circuits at the World Tourism Festival being held in Berlin next week.

'The Bihar pavilion at the Berlin festival from March 7-11 will display the Buddhist circuit to attract tourists,' Tourism Minister Nand Kishore Yadav, who is leading a three-member delegation to the festival, said Saturday.

The Buddhist circuit of Bihar comprises shrines in Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir. Vaishali and Kesaria.

The World Tourism Festival is a big opportunity for Bihar to showcase its Buddhist sites at the international level, said Yadav.

'We hope that our efforts will bear positive results,' he said.

State tourism secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, who is also part of the delegation, said: 'Tourism, particularly Buddhist destinations, will promise a turnaround for the state if properly marketed.'

The importance of the Buddhist circuit was witnessed last month when Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, consecrated the Buddha's relics at a newly built temple in Bodh Gaya, considered the birthplace of Buddhism. The relics were brought from Sri Lanka.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and devotees took out a colourful procession in the holy town on the occasion.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing last month opened a hall built in memory of seventh century Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang in Nalanda district.

Recently the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) also offered to provide funds worth Rs.56 billion for the construction of four-lane roads in the Buddhist circuit of Bihar.