Friday, February 22, 2013

State Buddhist spots to get facelift

By Santosh Andhale
Friday, Feb 15, 2013
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is now pitching for Maharashtra as a Buddhist destination. They have identified 25 Buddhist spot across the state that have great significance in terms of religion and heritage.
The corporation has approached the Central tourism department to give them funds of Rs50 crore. An MTDC official claimed that the total tourist traffic at Buddhist destinations is around 2 crore per annum.
Besides Indians, China, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Cambodia nationals too visit these destinations. At present, Bihar has been working very hard to develop the Buddhist circuit. Every year, more than 6 lakh foreigners visit Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Kesaria.
“Our state tourism department has been working on various projects to boost tourism. Buddhist circuit is one of the area where we can woo foreign nationals. Bodh Gaya in Bihar is a famous Buddhist destination. In fact, there are several direct international flights from Japan and China to this place, ” said Jagdish Patil, Director, MTDC. Patil added, “We plan to make the places accessible, put up signages and provide basic amenities.”
The Buddhist circuit of Maharashtra comprises shrines in Mumbai, Thane, Pune Aurangabad, Raigad, Satara, Napgur and Nashik. Ajanta and Ellora caves are already classified as world heritage monuments. Nineteen destinations are ancient caves which have been classified as monuments. There are four historical places Diksha Bhoomi,Chaitya Bhoomi, Vipassana Pagoda and Buddha Vihar.

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