Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday left for home after concluding his day-long visit to Nepal's Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, during which he held bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba and offered prayers at the sacred Maya Devi temple on the occasion of Budhha Purnima.
Modi, who was in the Himalayan nation at the invitation of Deuba, visited Lumbini for the first time. This was his fifth visit to Nepal since 2014.
1. Visit to Maya Devi Temple
PM Modi began his Nepal visit with prayers at the sacred Maya Devi Temple, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. He was accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Deuba and his spouse Dr Arzu Rana Deuba during his visit to the historic temple.
The leaders paid their respects at the Marker Stone inside the temple premises, which pinpoints the exact birth spot of Lord Buddha. They also attended the pooja conducted as per Buddhist rituals.
The two leaders watered the Bodhi tree sapling from Bodh Gaya which was gifted by Modi to Lumbini in 2014 and also signed the temple's visitor's book.
"I feel blessed to have prayed at the Maya Devi Temple on Buddha Purnima. May Lord Buddha bless us all and make our planet peaceful and prosperous," PM Modi tweeted.
2. PM Modi lays foundation stone for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage
PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "The India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone will be an important centre for learning and cultural exchanges between India and Nepal. Honoured to have performed the Shilanyas for the Centre with PM @SherBDeuba." "Most importantly, the Centre will strengthen the shared bond of Buddhism between India and Nepal. It will also further popularise the teachings and noble ideals of Lord Buddha," he added.
3. PM Modi holds bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart
Prime Minister Modi then held bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Deuba in Lumbini during which they discussed ways to strengthen ongoing cooperation and develop new areas in the multifaceted bilateral partnership.
After their talks, the two sides signed six memorandum of understandings on cooperation in cultural and educational sectors.
4. PM Modi delivers special address
Prime Minister Modi delivered a special address at the Buddha Jayanti celebrations organised by the Lumbini Development Trust.
He said India and Nepal's ever-strengthening friendship and their closeness will benefit the entire humanity in the emerging global situation as he likened the ties between the two neighbours as unshakeable like the Himalayas.
"India and Nepal's ever-strengthening friendship and our closeness will benefit the entire humanity in the kind of global conditions that are emerging," Modi said in his 20-minute special address.
Modi said that India and Nepal relations are unshakeable like the Himalayas and added that both the countries will work towards solving global problems with Buddha's ideologies.
"Buddha is the embodiment of the collective understanding of humanity," Modi told the gathering of some 2,500 people that included monks, Buddhist scholars and international participants in Lumbini.
5. Nepal PM thanks Modi for visiting Lumbini
"Thank you, Shree @narendramodi Jee, for visiting Lumbini on #BuddhaPurnima today. I believe your special pilgrimage to the Birthplace of Lord Buddha has further strengthened our friendship and cultural ties," he tweeted.
(With PTI inputs)