Buddhist monument in Bihar in dilapidated condition

By Ajay Kumar , Dailyindia.com/ANI, Oct 12, 2007

Kesaria, Bihar (India) -- Residents and pilgrims are bemoaning the dilapidated condition of a Buddhist monument in Bihar, despite it being under control of the country's archeological department.

The Buddhist stupa, located in Kesaria, about 110 kilometers Patna, is a sought after destination for tourists and pilgrims coming into the state.

Considered highest in the country, the height of the stupa was originally measured to be 169 feet but after an earthquake in 1934 its height got reduced. When last measured in 1998 the height was found to be 104 feet and 10 inch.

The residents say that, despite its distinction, the stupa remains neglected with the administration taking no steps to accommodate tourists.

"Tourists from China, Japan, Bodhgaya come here and there is no provision for food or stay. I feel very bad about it," said Bisambhar, a resident.

Apart from tourists, Buddhist pilgrims also come here to seek solace but feel sorry to see the apathy of the government.

"We come and mediate here. We feel sorry to see the condition of the place. The government is not paying any attention to it," said Kashyap Bhante, a Buddhist monk.

The authorities however say that they have taken note of the condition of the monument and had already submitted a report to the government to develop the site.

"We have made a project of three and half crores (dollar 885,181.68) and submitted it to the Government to develop the infrastructure around the place, and secondly to develop a four lane road leading to the place," said Nandkishore Yadav, Minister for tourism and road construction.

In the early days of Buddhism, stupas were constructed to honour important events including Buddhas Enlightenment, his first Sermon, his Death and the four famous Buddhist councils.

Buddha was born a prince at Lumbini in Nepal over 2,600 years ago. . He left his wife and child at the age of 29 in search of divine knowledge and enlightenment and attained it beneath a banyan tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, after years of meditation.

There are several important Buddhist religious places - Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where Lord Buddha attained salvation, Sarnath, Kushinagar, where Lord Buddha breathed his last, Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, an ancient seat of Buddhist learning, and several monasteries in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

India, in the recent past, has been promoting Buddhist tourism, and particularly targeting South East Asian countries, China and Japan, which have a sizeable Buddhist population.
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