Buddhavanam at Nagarjunasagar set to turn a major tourist destination

Panoramic View of Buddhavanam Nalgonda
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Panoramic View of Buddhavanam Nalgonda

Highlights

To attract tourists, particularly from the South Asian countries, the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation has come up with a Buddhist Heritage Theme Park named ‘Buddhavanam’ at Nagarjunasagar, which is slated to become a major tourist destination in the State.

To attract tourists, particularly from the South Asian countries, the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation has come up with a Buddhist Heritage Theme Park named 'Buddhavanam' at Nagarjunasagar, which is slated to become a major tourist destination in the State.

The 'Buddhavanam' is all set to become a one-stop destination for those fascinated towards earning about life and teachings of Gautam Buddha. The authorities have planned the theme park so that the visitors can learn the important life events of Buddha, including the path of enlightenment through various carvings and the bronze statue placed at strategic viewpoints.

The project was first conceptualised in 2001 during the undivided Andhra Pradesh. However, the project picked up pace only after 2016 after the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao appointed senior journalist Mallepalli Laxmaiah as the special officer of the project taken up with Rs 65 Crore. The project has reached a stage of completion and could be inaugurated soon. The place was chosen due to its historical significance as archeological evidence found here. Buddhist scholar Acharya Nagarjuna spent his last days on the Nagarjuna Konda hill.

The project has come up in 274 acres of government land at Nagarjunasagar of Nalgonda District, about 168 kms from Hyderabad. The project is divided into eight segments, with elegant entrance plaza including Buddha Harithavanam, Bodhisattva Park (Jataka Park), Dhyanavanam (Meditation Park), Stupa Park, Mahastupa, Buddhist University, Buddhist Monasteries from South-East Asian Countries and Modern Museum on revival of Buddhism in India with a research library to symbolically represent the ashtanga marga propounded by Buddha. When 'Buddhavanam' was under construction, the Dalai Lama visited the site in 2006 and planted a Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya.

Buddhist expert consultant E Sivanagireddy said that it would be the first in the country to have many thematic segments depicting the major events from the life of Siddhartha Gautama and his previous birth stories, miniature stupas of national and international. He said that the interior of the Mahastupa is designed so that people would feel that they are under the open sky. This is created by a Buddhist practitioner Santosh Raut.

Sri Lankan government has donated Replica of Avukana Buddha Statue Height and Dhamma Bell. Replica of embellished, main attraction the Buddhist Theme Park. The stories depicted on the panels are selected from India's famous Buddhist sites and other countries like Burma, Borobudur, and China, with special focus on both the Telugu states in this segment.

Stupavanam Miniature Stupa Park Segment showcases the various Buddhist Stupas of India and South-East Asian Countries representing regional styles of Buddhist architecture. Stupas from The replicas of the stupas of some famous Buddhist sites of India, including Karla Stupa (Maharashtra, India), Ajanta Stupa (Maharashtra, India), Sanchi Stupa (Madhya Pradesh, India), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, Kahu-jo-daro, Mirpur Khas, Pakistan, Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal, Topdarra Stupa, Afghanistan etc.

The Maha Stupa at the Center of 'Buddhavanam' was constructed as a replica of the original 'Amaravati Stupa' in its actual dimensions, shape, and design for the first time, the Amaravati school of art after 1700 years is recreated. A Museum of Buddhist Heritage, an Amphitheatre and Interpretation Center along with civic amenities were developed. The drum, dome, and railing were being embellished with sculptural panels, major attraction at the inside of Mahastupa upper level dome ceiling decorated with lotus petals and Sky panels made in aluminum acoustic system, central portion a 28 feet height miniature stupa were made in stone and installed Pancha Dhyana sitting Buddhas of Amithabha (Dhyana), Akshyobya (Bhumisparsha), Ratnasambhava (Varadha), Amoghasiddhi (Abhaya) and Vairochana (Dharma Chakra Pravarthana) four sides and four cardinal directions.

The authorities said that there is a proposal to develop a Buddhist University, Buddhist Monasteries from South-East Asian Countries, a designated modern museum on revival of Buddhism in India with a Research Library, Buddhist Hospital with Tibetan Herbal Medicine, and Craft village with Buddhist Handicrafts. According to the authorities, the theme park is slated to become a major tourist destination once it is thrown open for visitors.

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