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International Conclave To Promote Buddhist Tourism In Odisha
January 30, 2013

International Conclave To Promote Buddhist Tourism In Odisha


30 January 2013

Bhubaneswar: Buddhist scholars and monks from across the world are scheduled to participate in the ensuing international conference on Buddhist heritage of Odisha at Udayagiri in Jajpur district on February 1.

The proposed three-day conclave, being organized by the state tourism department, is aimed at promoting and propagating the Buddhist tourism potential of Odisha in other states and countries. "We hope to promote the 'Diamond Triangle' consisting of Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Ratnagiri at the conclave. Some tour operators, hoteliers and travel agents from Thailand, Singapore and other Buddhist nations will take part in the event," tourism secretary Ashok Tripathy told media persons here on Tuesday.

Historians and Buddhist experts are of the opinion that the state's Buddhist potential does not figure on national and international tourism maps. "Such seminars would bolster the state's prospects and attract more Buddhist tourists. Lalitgiri for example, is a unique place where rare Buddhist relics were discovered during excavations in the past, but few people know about it," said tourism director H S Upadhyay.

The government has also decided to keep promoting the sites in foreign countries. "Next month we plan to organize road shows at Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Japan. Earlier this month we sensitized foreign tour operators at Bangkok and Cambodia through road shows," Upadhyay said.

To woo Buddhist tourists, the Railways extended Mahapari Nirvan Express till Odisha last week. The train reached Jajpur on January 20.

There are over 324 Buddhist sites in Odisha, out of which 108 sites have remains of Buddhist stupas, chaityas or monastic complexes. However, though thousands of tourists from East Asia, Southeast Asia and Nepal visit Bodh Gaya in Bihar every year, the footfall in Odisha is abysmal in comparison.