Colombo, May 17: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha, on auspicious Buddha Purnima on 16 May 2022. He paid the visit at the invitation of the Rt. Hon’ble Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal, the Indian High Commission said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Modi commenced his maiden visit to Lumbini as the PM on a pious note by offering special prayers at the sacred Mayadevi Temple, within which lies the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The Prime Ministers of India and Nepal visited the historical Ashoka Pillar, that carries the first epigraphic evidence of Lumbini being the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
The two leaders took part in “Shilanyas” (foundation stone laying) ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone. The Center is being built at a plot belonging to the International Buddhist Confederation, New Delhi. This is being envisaged as a Net-Zero compliant world-class facility that would house prayer halls, meditation centre, library, exhibition hall, cafeteria and other amenities and would be open to Buddhist pilgrims and tourists.
Prime Minister Modi also attended 2566th Buddha Jayanti celebrations organized by Government of Nepal. He addressed a large gathering of monks, dignitaries, officials and those associated with the Buddhist World on the occasion. Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Modi described Buddha as the embodiment of the collective understanding of humanity.
India has an unparalleled position in the hearts of followers of Buddhism. Buddhist ties occupy a central place in the abiding people-to-people linkages between India and Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the 14th International Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka in May 2017. Attesting to strong ties between the two countries in the sphere of Buddhism, Prime Minister Modi announced a grant of USD 15 million towards the promotion of these ties. MOU for operationalizing this grant was signed on 28 March 2022 during the visit of External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar to Sri Lanka. The grant is aimed at constructing/renovating Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, reciprocal exposition of The Buddha’s relics, among others. It may also be recalled that the inaugural international flight to Kushinagar, where The Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, had a group of close to 100 monks from all parts of Sri Lanka.