Watch video: On Nepal visit, PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Maya Devi temple in Lumbini

On his way back to Delhi, PM Modi will be visiting Mahaparinirvana Temple in Kushinagar, UP, which is said to be the place where Lord Buddha attained nirvana

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, May 16, 2022, 12:00 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday | Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepalese PM Sher Bahadur Deuba Monday participated in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture & Heritage in Lumbini.

The construction of the Buddhist Centre comes decades after most foreign nations, including US, China, Canada, France, Germany and Thailand, among others, built their centres in Lumbini as an instrument of promoting Buddhist philosophy. It is expected to cost INR 1 billion and take three years to complete.

The PM was received by his Nepalese counterpart Monday morning as he arrived in Lumbini, Nepal. After landing, the PM tweeted, “Happy to be among the wonderful people of Nepal on the special occasion of Buddha Purnima. Looking forward to the programmes in Lumbini.”

He offered prayers at the Maya Devi temple on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. The visit is focused on bringing soft power to the centrestage of India-Nepal relations while also marking India’s formal presence at the holy site that’s barely 10 km away from the border.

India's ties with Nepal are "unparalleled", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, a day ahead of his visit to Lumbini in the neighbouring country on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. In a statement, PM Modi said he was looking forward to meeting Nepalese PM Sher Bahadur Deuba after their "productive" discussions during the latter's visit to India last month.

The visit is focused on bringing soft power to the centrestage of India-Nepal relations while also marking India’s formal presence at the holy site that’s barely 10 km away from the border.

PM Modi will also be meeting his Nepalese counterpart, Sher Bahadur Deuba.

In a statement before his visit, the PM said, “I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister Deuba again after our productive discussions during his visit to India last month. We will continue to build on our shared understanding to expand cooperation in multiple areas, including in hydropower, development and connectivity.”

On arrival, Mr Modi, accompanied by Mr Deuba, visited the Mayadevi Temple and attend a special prayer. Mr Modi will also light a butter lamp in front of the Ashokan Pillar, and water the Bodhi tree, gifted by him on his 2014 visit.

“I look forward to offering prayers at Mayadevi Temple on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti. I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of millions of Indians to pay reverence at the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s birth,” Mr Modi said.

“Apart from visiting the holy Mayadevi Temple, I will be participating in ‘shilanyas’ ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone,” Mr Modi said.

There have been regular exchanges of high-level visits and official interactions between India and Nepal. In 2014, Prime Minister Modi visited Nepal twice - in August for a bilateral visit and in November for the SAARC Summit. The PM also paid a state visit to Nepal from May 11-12, 2018 and a two-day visit for the BIMSTEC summit in 2018 during August 30-31 the same year.

On his way back to Delhi, PM Modi will be visiting Mahaparinirvana Temple in Kushinagar, UP, which is said to be the place where Lord Buddha attained nirvana. He is also scheduled for a brief stopover in Lucknow to meet CM Yogi Adityanath.

(with inputs from agencies)

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