Sacred Buddhist relics return to India after Thailand tour
Courtesy: X/@M_Lekhi

Sacred Buddhist relics return to India after Thailand tour

Thailand Ambassador to India, Pattarat Hongtong, has thanked the Indian government for the exposition of sacred relics of Lord Buddha in Thailand, and said that this would attract more Thai people to visit India and reconnect with their roots.

Calling the exposition 'historic', she also lauded the age-old ties between Bangkok and New Delhi.

Speaking to ANI, the Thailand envoy said, "My deep gratitude to the Indian government for offering this opportunity for the Buddhist devotees, for the Thai and the people in the neighbouring countries to be able to pay respects to the relics of Lord Buddha and his disciples."

"This was a historic moment for us to have all three relics in our country and people were able to access them...and I believe that from this event more Thai people would like to visit India and it is a chance to reconnect the people between our two countries through the link that we have already started over 2000 years ago," she added.

Relics of Lord Buddha and those of his two main disciples, Arahant Sariputta and Maha Moggallana, were brought back to India from Thailand on Tuesday.

The holy relics were returned to India by a special IAF flight that departed from Krabi, Thailand and reached Delhi on Tuesday evening. Union Minister of State, Meenakashi Lekhi and Buddhist religious heads were present there.

The Director General of the International Buddhist Confederation, Abhijit Halder, called the moment an "eye-opener" and said that around four million people attended the exposition.

He further said that India's values of wisdom, core principles of peace, and harmony, and Buddha's teaching of mindfulness, are all very relevant in this context.

"It's an eye-opener for all of us because we never expected such a rousing welcome by the people of Thailand. In the first ten days of the relic's exposition in Bangkok, more than a million people visited the relic. And at the end of the entire tour, about 4 million people attended the relic," he said.

"Emotional and sentimental bonds which the Thais have with Buddhism and India, and India's values of wisdom, core principles of peace, and harmony, and Buddha's teaching of mindfulness, all of this is very relevant in this context...So it's a very big success for us.," Halder added.

Holy relics have returned to India, after 25 days of exposition in four cities of Thailand, during which over 4 million devotees from Thailand and other countries in the Mekong region paid homage to the relics.

The exposition drew a phenomenal response. Scenes of winding queues of devotees waiting with offerings since the early hours of the day became a familiar sight as the Holy Relics procession arrived in one city after another, in Thailand.

The revered relics' exposition, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani and Krabi provinces, starting from New Delhi on February 22.

The exposition, titled 'Shared Heritage, Shared Values', was also marking the commemoration with respect and honour of the 72nd birthday of the King that falls on July 28.


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