Nepal wants Lumbini to be centre of conservation of Buddhist heritage

11th Dec, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

New Delhi, Dec 11: Nepal wants Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, to be the centre of initiatives for conservation of Buddhist heritage in the BIMSTEC countries.

The proposal was put forward by Nepal’s Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeetendra Narayan Dev, while speaking at a three-day ‘Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage’ here last evening.

BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Technical and Economic Cooperation) grouping comprises seven coastal countries of the Bay of Bengal -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri lanka, Thailand and Nepal.

The festival was inaugurated by Minister for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma.

The Nepalese Minister said there was immense potential in connecting transnational Buddhist Heritage in BIMSTEC. He stressed on the importance of conservation of Buddhist Heritage across BIMSTEC region, with its center at Lumbini.

Dr Mahesh Sharma, in his remarks, underlined the relevance of the message of peace and compassion of Lord Buddha, saying it was as relevant in the twenty first century as it was two and a half millennia ago and has been a unifying force among nations.

The Minister said that ‘Bodhi Parva’ has entwined various threads of the Buddhist heritage into a beautiful melange including an exhibition of international and Indian Buddhist art and architecture, discourses by eminent scholars and practitioners of Buddhism, guided meditation and chanting by Buddhist monks and choir, screening of film on Buddhism, dance and music performances, quiz show and a food trail. These will help in building an awareness of BIMSTEC's rich and common heritage.

He said that as a regional organisation comprising seven Member States around the Bay of Bengal that brings together about one – fifth of the world population and a combined GDP of over US $ 2.8 trillion, BIMSTEC has a crucial role in development of the region.

Dr Sharma said India sees BIMSTEC as a natural platform to fulfill its key foreign policy priorities of 'Neighbourhood First' and 'Act East'.

A number of initiatives had been taken to promote cooperation among the member countries under the focus areas of security, transport and communication, environment and disaster management, tourism, traditional medicine and people-to-people exchanges, and several others were in the pipeline, he said.

He said events such as ‘Bodhi Parva’ would also help immensely in promoting 'Brand BIMSTEC'.

The inauguration ceremony of the ‘Bodhi Parva’ was also attended by Mr Ibrahim Hossein Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Bangladesh, Heads of Missions of BIMSTEC Member States and artists and scholars from India and other BIMSTEC Member States.