Odisha wants its Buddhist circuit in tourism scheme

Bhubaneswar, Oct 30 (IANS) A recommendation to include the Buddhist circuit of Odisha in the Swadesh Darshan scheme announced by the union ministry of tourism was made by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday.

In a letter to union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, the chief minister said the Buddhist Triangle — popularly known as the Diamond Triangle of Odisha, comprising of Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udyagiri — deserves to be included in the list of Buddhist circuits under the new scheme.

“Buddhist remains in the form of chaityas, stupas, monasteries and the tooth relic in the golden casket found here aptly establish this circuit at par with other major sites in India. The socio-cultural life of early and medieval Odisha is reflected in the cultural art of these Buddhist monuments,” said Patnaik.

He said it is a well-established fact that Buddhism spread to rest of the world after the great Kalinga war waged by Emperor Ashoka in Odisha.

The chief minister said these Buddhist destinations would be improved with adequate tourism infrastructure with their inclusion in the scheme.

Archaeological exploration and excavations have unearthed more than 200 Buddhist sites across the state, he added.

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