VIJAYAWADA:The TDP government proposes to develop two mega Buddhist tourism circuits in the state, covering 21 of the 50 prominent Buddhist heritage sites in eight districts of AP, at an estimated cost Rs 1,500 cr.
Disclosing this while inaugurating a 5-day exhibition of paintings and sculptures on the life and preachings of Gautam Buddha at the Akriti Art Gallery here Monday, collector Babu A said that a proposal in this regard, prepared by the Andhra Pradesh Project Facilitators & Consultancy Services Limited, had been submitted to the central government for approval and that the same was awaited.
The collector further said: “Many precious monuments and tourist places in the region have been neglected so far. To revive the neglected sites, especially in the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam tourism circuit, the government appointed KPMG India as a consultant and it has submitted a proposal for the development of the tourism circuit. It mainly focussed on the Buddhist, Dutch, French and British monuments that have been abandoned in and around Machilipatnam.”
The exhibition of paintings and sculptures by artist and joint director of social welfare R Mallikarjuna Rao has been organised to highlight the glory of Amaravati and to mark the occasion of Buddha Purnima, which fell on Monday.
The 40 paintings on acrylic sheets (each admeasuring 3 feet by 2 feet), depicting the various facets of Buddha’s life held the visitors spell bound on the first day of the show.
They included ‘Nalagiri Damana’ (Processions of those days), ‘Purnaghata’ (interpretation of the birth, preachings and worship of Buddha).
“The sculptures are replicas of the artifacts left behind by the Buddhists at Amaravati and they include symbols of sovereignty, mythical animals, chariots, processions, furniture and utensils. In my paintings, I have shown Buddha in matching mudra,” said Mallikarjuna Rao.
Incidentally, Rao is also the sculptor of the 120-ft-tall idol of Dhyana Buddha erected at Amaravati.