SUBJECT : Buddhist tourism plan gets boost, Sri Lanka donates replica of avukana buddha statue

Hyderabad, May 21st: The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC), which has grand plans of developing and reconstructing Buddhist sites and monasteries in the state, has received a boost in the form of help from Sri Lanka and China.

The Sriparvatarama (Buddhavanam) heritage theme park being developed at Nagarjunasagar, which is slotted to be the first Buddhist theme park in the country, has received a 27-feet replica of Avukana Buddha statue from the government of Sri Lanka.
It has been donated under the Indo-Sri Lankan cultural exchange programme and has been installed at the meditation area, Dhyanavanam, of the park.

"The government of Sri Lanka also donated Dhamma Bell and has shown interest in building their Simhala-Vihara complex on the premises of Sriparvatarama (Buddhavanam). Similarly, the World Buddhist Cultural Society, Tibet, and the Pragnopaya Charitable Trust, UP, have started their activities at the site. We expect more Buddhist organizations to commence their activities very shortly," said P Ramulu, chairman, TSTDC.

Help is also pouring in for the reconstruction of close to 10 monasteries, which were submerged in the Krishna Valley due to the construction of the Nagarjunasagar dam. This is set to take place in the next leg of the project.

The authorities are expecting a good response from Southeast Asian countries too in the near future. The TSTDC has, meanwhile, acquired 279 acres of land on the left bank of river Krishna. It has been earmarked into eight segments, which will be developed to showcase the origin of Buddhism, life events and past life history of Buddha, and famous Buddhist Stupas of India and South-East Asian countries with their regional architectural styles.

The advent, flourish and decline of Buddhism in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will be showcased in the theme park, which will also house a replica of the 'Amaravati Stupa' in its original dimension, shape and design.

Source: Times of India