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Buddha holy relics to return home

The casket carrying the relics of Lord Buddha preserved at the Archaeological Survey of India office in Bhubaneswar would finally return home.

 The relics are being relocated to famous Lalitgiri monastery, from where the archaeologists had chance-discovered the holy casket during the spadework in the eighties in Odisha’s Jajpur district.

Odisha minister of tourism for industries and school and mass education, Debi Prasad Mishra speaking on the sidelines of fourth Kalingan international Buddhist conclave unveiled on April 10 at Udaygiri Buddhist monastery said ‘the Buddha relics are now under safe custody of ASI. However on locals’ persistent demands, the relics are all set to be relocated to an ASI-run museum near the famous Buddhist monastery towards December 2017’.

Construction work of the museum is now in full swing at ASI-protected Lalitgiri monastery. After its completion, ASI has given to preserve the relics at the museum as on its prized possession, minister Mishra said.   

The Buddhist relics would remain as the prized possession of the proposed museum. The museum is coming up for protection of the holy relics. Buddhist artefacts and divinities explored from these areas would be conserved here, according to ASI officials.

Earlier Odisha government had requested the ASI to shift the relics to Lalitgiri monastery. The ASI also agreed to government proposal by going ahead with constructing a museum at Lalitgiri for the purpose of relics’ preservation, he said.   

The three-day Kalingan international Buddhist conclave which was unveiled today at Udaygiri monastery drew over a hundreds of Buddhist monks, scholars and researchers from across the globe.   

Buddhist archaeological sites in Laliitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri in Jajpur district, described in Buddhist tourism circuit as ‘diamond triangle’ was abuzz with activities today from dawn to dusk with followers of Buddhism braving scorching heat travelled round the majestic monasteries.

“It was a delight to watch the marvellous monastery in Udaygiri. The structure is huge and intricately craven. It proves the point that Buddhism flourished as a state religion in ancient Kalingan kingdom”, said a researcher from Myanmar, Vebuppu Lla.       

Visited by the Chinese traveler  Hieun Tsang, the Udaygiri-Ratnagiri- Lalitgiri monasteries were centres of learning and  were at par with their famed counterparts of Nalanda & Taxila. Odisha’s diamond Buddhist triangle deserves a pride of place to figure in Unesco world heritage list. The marvellous and gigantic monasteries are uniquely built and leave everybody awestruck. Its distinctive style differs from similar Buddhist monuments found elsewhere in India. The entire area still possesses rich reserve of unexplored Buddhist treasures. Ninety percent of Buddhist archaeological treasures continue to remain hidden underground. If ASI takes up exploring the unexplored treasures, the monasteries could lay claim to become one of the finest Buddhist heritage sites of the country, said researcher Arvind Alok, who heads the Buddhist Monuments’ Development Council. 

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