BHUBANESWAR: A Bhutanese delegation visited Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Udayagiri in Jajpur district on Tuesday. The delegation comprising former national Speaker of the Parliament of Bhutan and former President of Mahabodhi Society of India Dasho Passang Dorji and two monks visited the museums and appreciated the efforts of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Government for the upkeep and preservation of these important Buddhist vestiges.
The relics that were uncovered at Lalitagiri are now kept in the museums there under proper care and security. Dorji lauded the efforts in promoting the ancient Buddhist sites and monuments all over the country. “Proper research should be carried out on the relevance and spread of Buddhism from Odisha and the role of Guru Padmasambhava and his origins in the State,” he said and suggested that a research centre or a University Chair should be set up for cross-cultural studies of Buddhism in Bhutan and India.
The growth of Buddhism in Bhutan was first advanced by the great Uddiyana Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century CE and he laid the foundation of one of the most important and unifying forces that have sustained the Bhutanese people and contributed to the evolution of their unique cultural and religious tradition.
Heritage researcher and member of INTACH Anil Dhir, who accompanied the team to the Buddhist circuit, said the scope of religious and cultural tourism of the sites still remains untapped.
“If proper awareness and promotion is undertaken, all Buddhist sites of the State will draw more than a million tourists annually,” he added.
Dorji was accompanied by the Chief Secretary of the Chief Abbot of Bhutan Venerable Ugyen Tenzin, Personal Secretary of the Chief Abbot Venerable Pema Dorji and a devout Buddhist Karma Lhamo.