BMDC to start Buddhist information centres at seven Buddhist sites in India by October 2009

By Anish V Punnackattu, Travel Biz Monitor, April 23, 2009

Also plans to develop pilgrim guest houses at Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Patna

New Delhi. India -- Buddhist Monuments Development Council (BMDC), a national organisation dedicated to promote growing Buddhist sites in India has decided to open Buddhist information centres at various Buddhist sites in India.

Initially it will start the information centres at seven Buddhist sites in India - Nalanda, Sarnath, Khusinagar, Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Ajanta and Ellora. At Ajanta and Ellora it will start only one information centre for both sites. This information was divulged by Prof. Arvind Alok, Chairman, Buddhist Monuments Development Council (BMDC).

BMDC has decided to start all these information centres in the beginning of the forthcoming inbound tourist season in India. “We will start Buddhist information centres by October 2009,” added Alok. He informed that the objective of these initiatives is to promote and develop Buddhist sites in India nationally and internationally in a big way, and also strengthen diplomatic relationships between Buddhist countries and India.

Alok also said that BMDC is planning to develop three pilgrim guest houses for Buddhist tourist at Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Patna respectively. For developing the guest houses, it is currently in talks with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments for financial support.

Presently, BMDC has land banks in Rajgir owned by it and for the remaining infrastructure requirements, it will seek assistance from private parties. The new guest houses which will be developed soon by BMDC will be dedicated to Buddhist tourists coming from countries such as Nepal, Lao, Cambodia, Bhutan, Mongolia, Vietnam etc. BMDC will provide guest house accommodation at nominal charges.

According to BMDC, it will initially start pilgrim guest houses by renting the properties from November 2009 and gradually build their own guest houses by 2010. Alok further explained that in India, there are lots of Buddhist pilgrim guest houses owned by several foreign countries but they do not provide accommodation to other Buddhist tourists, but only to the tourists from their own country. “Therefore we will be providing accommodation to tourist irrespective of their origin,” stated Alok.