Gujarat govt allocates Rs 1 cr for international Buddhist seminar

TNN, 1 Jul 2009

VADODARA, India -- With the state government making provision for organising an international seminar on Buddhist heritage of Gujarat in its budget this year, archaeologists at M S University are gearing up to host the  seminar in January next year.

On Tuesday, while presenting the state budget, government announced that an amount of Rs 1 crore (US$ 208,000) will be allotted to MSU as  grant-in-aid to organise an international seminar on Buddhist  heritage to create global awareness about Buddhist monuments in Gujarat. The government, while making the provision, has stated that eminent scholars of national and international repute will be invited for the seminar, which will be organised by MSU in collaboration with the government.

MSU's department of archaeology and ancient history, which will play a major role in organising the seminar, has already started chalking out the details.

Recent excavations carried out in Vadnagar region from where a Buddhist stupa was excavated also reveal the presence of Buddhism, archaeologist Dr Krishnan K told TOI on Wednesday. At the same time, we are now trying to understand, how can we project the influence of Buddhism in Gujarat on the Buddhist map of world. The state government is identifying regions having tourism potential and would like to incorporate sites having Buddhist influence in that. Since 1960s, the department itself is in possession of ashes of Lord Buddha which were excavated by a team led by former head professor B Subbarao when the team was excavating Devni Mori site near Shamalaji.

The story goes that Lord Buddha on his deathbed had suggested stupas should be erected over his mortal remains. Later, his followers distributed the relics and constructed stupas. With the passage of time, Mauryan emperor Ashoka who patronized Buddhism after the Kalinga war reopened seven out of eight original sharirik stupas and major portion of relics were distributed among 84,000 stupas that were built by him throughout his empire.