Odisha to promote Buddhist lineage

The Indian state, Odisha, is planning to promote its Buddhist lineage with road shows in Taiwan and Thailand.

The road shows are planned in August and the government is also intending to market the state in other major markets where Buddhism evokes an interest. After Taiwan and Thailand, the government will expand the road shows to South Korea and Japan, in an attempt to draw as many tourists as possible.

The tourism development programme will see the Odisha Tourism Department and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), work together to extend the popular Buddhist train, the Mahaparinirvana Express, to Bhubaneswar, to cover the area that is known as the Diamond Triangle of the Buddhist circuit.

The Diamond Triangle is made up of places that include Udaigiri, Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri, all revered for their connection to Buddha and Buddhism.

The pilot trip is being planned for December 20, 2012, and it is to start from Delhi. The train is to stop at Bhubaneswar for a two-day tour of the Buddhist destinations in the Diamond Triangle. A month later, the same route is to be visited by another train. Organisers said that tourists would have the opportunity to visit important sites like the Dhauli Pagoda on Dhauli Hills, built by the Nippon Society of Japan. This site is expected to be of particular interest to Japanese tourists.

There are also plans for light and sound shows in Khandgiri, Konark and Udaygiri, but the shows will only become part of the itinerary after receiving clearance from the archaeological society of India.