India plans to expand its Buddhist tourism circuit

13th May, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew

NEW DELHI, May 13: The Indian government will soon begin expanding the Buddhist tourism circuit to 21 other states, from the present mainly two states namely Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

For the purpose, a total of 362 crore Indian Rupees (around 54 million U.S. dollars) has been sanctioned so far, of which 75 crore Indian Rupees (11 million U.S.dollars) has been cleared for the country's central state of Madhya Pradesh under the Tourism Ministry's "Swadesh Darshan" scheme which means "visit own country."

According to a report published in leading English daily "The Indian Express" Saturday, the tourism ministry has identified "stupas" and "viharas" in these states around which small intra-state Buddhist zones will be developed.
The report stated that the plan is to create a Buddhist theme park, light and sound show, interpretation center, wayside amenities and sanitation facilities, an official in the ministry said.

Besides, 36 crore Indian Rupees (around 5 million U.S. dollars) and 52 crore Indian Rupees (around 8 million U.S. dollars) have been sanctioned for Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.

The prime minister's office (PMO) is learnt to be behind the push for Buddhist tourism.

The Buddhist circuit is being imagined as India's first trans-national tourist circuit, with efforts to promote tourism starting from Lumbini in Nepal where Buddha was born, to the sites in India he traversed, including Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Rajgir, Vaishali.