Bhubaneswar: The ‘Travel By Train’ program of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) to promote tourism in the Buddhist circuits has eluded Odisha despite it being famous for its Buddhist sites.
State has for four key Buddhist sites-Ratnagiri, Dhauligiri, Udayagiri and Langudi-where Ashokan era rock edicts have been found along with other prominent Buddhist sites in the country.
But “Exploring Buddhist Circuit By Train” does not include these places, said a senior officer of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which is coordinating the train service.
The Buddhist tourist train covers all the places which had a significant impact on Buddha’s life and teachings.
The Ministry of Tourism organized webinar titled “Exploring Buddhist Circuit by Train” on Saturday as a part of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ Webinar series for promoting and showcasing the rich Buddhist Heritage in India.
The webinar highlighted the major destinations visited by Buddha personally across the country besides showcasing the Buddhist heritage left behind by his disciples including the modern monasteries.
The webinar also focused on providing first-hand information to the viewers on arrangements for travel (Especially by Train) and accommodation to the Buddhist Sites in India.
Notably, Buddhist tourism has tremendous potential to draw the 500 million strong Buddhists across the world to “India -The Land of Buddha”.
India has a rich ancient Buddhist Heritage with several important sites associated with the life of Lord Buddha.
The Indian Buddhist heritage is of great interest to the followers of Buddhism the world over.
Buddhism has remained a vital force, an inspiration and above all, a guidance to our traditions and customs.
In sum, its unique contributions in the various fields of culture has greatly enriched Indian cultural heritage, apart from adding to the religious diversity of the land.
While Lumbini, lies across the India-Nepal border, yet the IRCTC Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train itinerary enables all guests to pay their respects at the holy site in addition to the Mayadevi temple, dedicated to the enlightened one’s mother.
The Buddha’s moment of enlightenment, enshrined for eternity under the Maha Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya, occupies an important place in the itinerary, as much for its religious & scholarly significance as for the monumental beauty of its confluence of Buddhist traditions from all over the world.
Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train itinerary include the site of the Buddha’s original sermon, which gave birth to Buddhism, from where sprang all its varied forms, sects and distinctions.
Sarnath, is in proximity of Varanasi, one of the most ancient seats of Indian culture.
The guests have the opportunity to be mesmerized by the Ganga Aarti, that is performed on the banks of the Holy Ganges in the evenings.
The comprehensive itinerary of the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train incorporates the Mahaparinirvan Temple at Kushinagar, with its ‘Reclining Buddha’ depicting the divine soul’s last earthly position of rest.
Tourists who wish to achieve deeper insight into Buddhism can delve into its intricacies while reflecting on the sermons given by the Buddha at Sravasti; specifically, the Jetavana monastery.
The final visit is to the palatial and opulent Taj Mahal to complete a journey that will make guest/tourist cultivate self-discipline and positive reflection.