Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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The Department of Tourism of Uttar Pradesh celebrated the state’s rich Buddhist heritage with a ‘Bodh Yatra’ conclave in New Delhi on June 28, 2024. The program highlighted the importance of Uttar Pradesh as a Buddhist pilgrimage site and emphasized its tourism potential.

A confluence of dignitaries and cultural exchange

The conclave saw the presence of key officials including Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Tourism, Government of India; Minister of Tourism and Culture, Uttar Pradesh, Jayveer Singh; Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, V. Vidyavati; Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra; Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture, Mukesh Kumar Meshram; Tourism Special Secretary, Isha Priya; Director General of IBC, Abhijit Haldar; and former Deputy Speaker of the CTA, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok.

International dignitaries in attendance included Simon Wong, Ambassador of Singapore; Ambassador of Thailand, Pattarat Hongtong; Ambassador of Myanmar, Moe Kyaw Aung; and representatives from Bhutan, Japan, Indonesia, Argentina, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, reflecting the international significance of the event.

Highlighting the Buddhist sites of Uttar Pradesh

The program was inaugurated by Isha Priya, Special Secretary, Department of Tourism, Uttar Pradesh. She highlighted the historical and cultural significance of six major Buddhist sites in the state: Sankisa, Sarnath, Sravasti, Kapilavastu, Kaushambi and Kushinagar. “Uttar Pradesh, with its rich religious diversity, continues to inspire and uplift those seeking a deeper understanding of life and knowledge,” she said.

The presentation also highlighted investment opportunities and investor-friendly tourism policies of Uttar Pradesh designed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the tourism sector.

Ministry Addresses and Visions

Union Tourism and Culture Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat thanked the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department for organizing the Bodhi Yatra. “India is not a land of war, but a ‘land of the Buddha’. This holy land gave the message of truth, non-violence, kindness and compassion to the whole world. Uttar Pradesh is a major part of this legacy. The Prime Minister envisioned various tourist circuits in the country and the Buddha Circuit was the first of them. I want to congratulate Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Tourism Minister Jayveer Singh for making the Prime Minister’s vision a reality,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism and Culture Minister Jayveer Singh noted the state’s important role in Buddhism. “Uttar Pradesh is the cradle of Buddhism, and this Bodhi Yatra is an initiative to let you experience the peace and divinity of Lord Buddha. Significant Buddhist events took place in UP, and this event aims to promote these Buddhist places on the global map,” he said.

Commitment to infrastructure and tourism development

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra emphasized the state’s efforts to develop the Buddhist circuit and attract pilgrims. “Under the guidance of our Chief Minister, we are developing the Buddhist circuit, promoting the strong historical, cultural and spiritual ties of Buddhism with Uttar Pradesh on the world map and attracting a large number of Buddhist pilgrims from India and abroad,” he said. .

Enhancing visitor experience and cultural diplomacy

Union Ministry of Tourism Secretary V. Vidyavati highlighted the collaborative efforts to enhance infrastructure and facilities. “Buddha resides in the heart and soul of Uttar Pradesh. The Government of India, together with the Government of Uttar Pradesh, aims to create a memorable experience for Buddhist pilgrims and ensure better employment opportunities for the local communities,” she said.

Mukesh Kumar Meshram, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture emphasized on Uttar Pradesh’s status as a top tourist destination. “Uttar Pradesh has emerged as a popular tourist destination, leading domestic tourism. We hope to attract more foreign tourists soon,” he added.

The event concluded with a cultural show depicting the life of Lord Buddha celebrating the historical, cultural and spiritual ties of Buddhism with Uttar Pradesh. This cultural exhibition emphasized the Buddhist circuit as a destination of choice for both national and international visitors.

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