Holy relics of Lord Buddha return to India
The four holy relics of Lord Buddha have returned to India after being displayed for 12 days at Batsagaan Temple at the premises of Gandan Monastery, Mongolia, as part of the Mongolian Buddha Purnima celebrations.
Union Minister Arjun Meghwal received the holy relics in Ghaziabad. The display time of the holy relics had to be extended by a few days at the popular request of the Mongolian people.
The President of Mongolia, the Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Energy, more than 20 deputies, senior abbots of More than 100 monasteries in Mongolia were among the thousands who paid their respects to the venerated relics during the 12-day exhibition at Gandan Monastery.
On the closing day, the Minister of Interior and Culture of Mongolia was present for the rituals. On the 1st day (June 14) of the exhibition, around 18-20,000 devotees paid their respects to the holy relics of the Buddha. An average of 5-6,000 devotees visited Gandan Monastery on working days, while on closing days, an average of 9-10,000 devotees paid their respects.
On the last day, around 18,000 devotees visited Gandan to pay homage to the holy relics. On the closing day, the Minister of Interior and Culture was present for the rituals.
The relics of the Holy Buddha are known as “Kapilvastu relics” because they come from a site in Bihar first discovered in 1898, which is believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu.
The relics were given state guest status and were kept in the same climate-controlled display case as is currently housed in the National Museum. A special C-17 Globe Master aircraft brought the holy relics back to Indi.
In a first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Mongolia, in 2015, Narendra Modi visited Gandan Monastery and also presented a young Bodhi tree to Hamba Lama.
Highlighting the centuries-old Buddhist ties between the two countries, Modi defined India and Mongolia as “spiritual neighbours” during his speech to the Mongolian parliament.
The last time these relics were taken out of the country was in 2012, when their exhibition took place in Sri Lanka and they were displayed in several places in the island nation.
However, subsequent guidelines were issued and the holy relics were placed in the ‘AA’ category of antiquities and art treasures which should not normally be taken out of the country for display, given their delicate nature.
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