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Bengal eyes Buddhist tour circuit

Bengal eyes Buddhist tour circuit :

The state government’s dreams and  promoting and hardselling Bengal tourism among foreigners  seem to be taking shape with the ambitious Buddhist trail project up for discussion next month. Representative from the state will meet their counterparts from Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to chart the journey that will take tourists to place where Buddha left his footsteps 2500 years ago.
The circuit – originating in Kolkata and including North Bengal, Darjeeling and Sikkim - will  pass through Buddhist destinations of the above states. A capsule on Bengal tourism to be aired by BBC, will elaborately portray the project. The Bengal government’s foreign travellers’ policy has also found takers  in Asia and the ministry of railways, with later planning to start a special coach on the lines of the Delhi – Odisha Mahaparinirvana Express ( named after an account of last days of Buddha’s life).
Whils the special train from Bengal will chug through Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand, Darjeeling and Sikkim may be linked with air-conditioned bus services from Bagdogra by air or Siliguri by train. The cost of package tour will be fixed in dollars. It will include travel, catering, sightseeing and entrance fee.
The trail,  after touching the other states, will cover Bengal’s plains, its Dooars and hills, providing not only picturesque view and cooler temperature, but also a welcome break from the usually hot and humid summers in Southeast and East Asia. It may also include Upper Phagu tea estate near Gorubathan as it is set to become a Buddhist pilgrimage dedicated to the 10th Century Buddhist Prince Atish Dipankar Srigyan.
“ Like Delhi in the other Buddhist trail, Kolkata will also be the gateway for those wishing to follow the path of the Buddha down the side”, said secretary, tourism department. “ since we must tie up with the places outside the state, the process of implementation will begin with formal feeting with other host states. At the helm of project is the ministry of tourism. Air Asia has too has shown interest  since they would be the once promoting Bengal as a subsidized tourist destination”, said the secretary.
The tourist department is gearing up to make presentation in the upcoming meeting. It will touch upon the idea the idea of the experience of visitor who will be travelling through all the places, where the Buddha waled – right from the 15 feet serene statue of the Buddha against the backdrop of the snow-peaked Himalayas and Ghoom’s densely forested hills to imposing Mahabodhi temple at Gaya.


“ The ruins of great antiquity will not be the only attractions. This Buddhist trail will be about delving into India’s anvient past and the mystical East. It will gove the foreigners a chance to break away from the break-neck pace of modern highrises and the junfle of neon lights dotting towns and cities “, said the tourism minister of West Bengal. A dedicated team of tour guides will be appointed to escort the tourists and explain the various phases of Buddha’s life at the different places. 
                                                                                        Courtesy : The Times of India

Posted on: 23 Jul 2013

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