Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Aug 23 (IANS) The “6th International Buddhist Conclave 2018” will be held here on Friday with the participation of over 200 delegates, Buddhist monks, diplomats, researchers and scholars from around 15 nations, an official said here on Thursday.
The meet will showcase the traditional and historical facets of Buddhism around the world and encourage tourism, State Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said.
“Buddhist tourism is a growing sector and the international conference here will help us understand the potential and opportunities to tap it among Buddhist travellers around the world,” he added.
The conclave will include business meetings among tour operators, presentations, cultural programmes and other events aimed at highlighting Buddhist attractions in Maharashtra, Rawal said.
The day-long meet will see participation from major Buddhist nations including China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bhutan among others.
Organised by the Tourism Ministry and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the conclave will advance the experience of travellers and tourists desiring to experience the spirit of Buddhist inheritance in India, said V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary, Maharashtra Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department.
The government also plans to recognize Buddhist ‘stupas’ and ‘viharas’ across the country to develop them as Buddhist tourism circuits, and give travellers an opportunity to discover Lord Buddha’s voyage and attainment of ‘nirvana’, said MTDC Managing Director Suhas Diwase.
The conclave offers a unique opportunity to promote the teachings of Lord Buddha and would help open similar avenues in future, he added.
After Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Maharashtra will be the third state to have its own Buddhist Circuit with around 25 prominent destinations in the state.
Finalized by MTDC four years ago, it would start from the Sanchi Stupa replica in Palghar district, from where Emperor Ashoka’s son Prince Mahendra and daughter Princess Sanghamitra are believed to have embarked for Sri Lanka to propagate Lord Buddha’s teachings.
In Mumbai, there is the Kanheri Caves complex in Borivali east, the world’s tallest Pagoda at Gorai in Borivali west, the Chaityabhoomi in Dadar.
The famed Elephanta Island Buddhist caves in Raigad, 10 km off Mumbai in the Arabian Sea, and Aurangabad’s Ajanta and Ellora Caves, all Unesco World Sites, and the Pithalkora Caves here.