Patna, September 16: Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda who was on a three-day official visit to the State of Bihar to attend the ‘Vaishali Democracy Festival’ met with the Chief Minister of Bihar Shri Nitish Kumar on Saturday, September 16) at the latter’s official residence in State Capital Patna.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar extended a warm welcome to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and his delegation. The ensuing discussion was held in a very cordial manner.
The Chief Minister and the High Commissioner reviewed the strong civilizational links between the State of Bihar and Sri Lanka, particularly those that are based on Buddhism. High Commissioner Moragoda recalled how a large number of Sri Lankan pilgrims visit the holy Buddhist sites in the State of Bihar, including the most sacred of places of worship, Bodhgaya, and requested the Chief Minister to provide every possible assistance to these Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims visiting his State. In response, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stated how close he keeps Buddhism to his heart and conveyed his special interest in Sri Lanka.
The ways and means to further develop existing ties between the State of Bihar and Sri Lanka were discussed during the meeting.
Following the meeting, the Chief Minister took the High Commissioner to see the Bodhi tree planted in the garden of his official residence, the sapling of which was brought from the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya.
As a symbol of the close civilizational connection between Bihar and Sri Lanka, High Commissioner Moragoda presented to the Chief Minister, a large reproduction of a Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara mural, which depicts Emperor Asoka ceremonially marking the right-hand branch sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, before sending it to Sri Lanka with his daughter Theri Sanghamitta to be planted in Anuradhapura.
At the request of the Chief Minister, High Commissioner Moragoda also visited the Buddha Smriti Park in Patna, where a sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura has been planted.
High Commissioner Moragoda invited the Chief Minister of Bihar to visit Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient date, which the latter accepted with pleasure.