Religious Tourism

Govt plans tourism circuits to attract Buddhist pilgrims

DELHI

To attract more overseas Buddhist pilgrims, the Tourism Ministry has identified three routes to be developed as ‘Buddhist Circuit’ in the country with the help of state governments and private stakeholders.

The three clusters – ‘Sacred Circuit’, ‘Extended Sacred Circuit’ and ‘Buddhist Heritage Trails’ – have been identified for promotion to draw more pilgrims from abroad, a senior Tourism Ministry official said.

According to the action plan, ‘Sacred Circuit’ will be a five to seven days’ journey and will include visits to Gaya (Bodhgaya), Varanasi (Sarnath), Piparva (Kapilvastu) and Kushinagar, in addition to a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.

The ‘Extended Sacred Circuit’, also named as ‘Retracing Buddha’s Footsteps’, will be a 10 to 15 days’ travel and will include visits to Bodhgaya (Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar Caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya), Patna (Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, Lauriya Areraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, and Piparva (Kapilavastu, Shravasti, Sankisa), and a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.

‘Buddhist Heritage Trails’, also named ‘State Circuits’, will cover 11 states — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It covers Buddhist destinations in Ladakh, Srinagar (Harwan, Parihaspara) and Jammu (Ambaran); Dharamshala, Spiti, Kinnaur and Lahaul in Himachal; Sanghon in Punjab; and Jind and Yamunanagar in Haryana.

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