Development Dialogue

International Airport opens at Kushinagar to boost Tourism on Buddhist Circuit

An international airport has been opened at Kushinagar, where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. This will significantly boost tourism on the Buddhist circuit which also consists of Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Lumbini.

The first international flight carrying a Sri Lankan delegation of over 100 Buddhist monks and dignitaries including the 12-member holy relic entourage bringing the holy Buddha relics for exposition, landed at the Kushinagar International Airport from Colombo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially inaugurated the airport and welcomed the Sri Lankan flight and delegation.

“This region is witness to the entire journey from the enlightenment of Lord Buddha to Mahaparinirvana. Today this important region is getting directly connected to the world,” Modi said while addressing the gathering after inauguration of the airport.

The Prime Minister highlighted the special focus on the development of the places associated with Lord Buddha through better connectivity and the creation of facilities for the devotees. 

The Kushinagar International Airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 260 crore. It will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the Mahaparinirvana sthal of Lord Buddha and is an endeavour in connecting the Buddhist pilgrimage holy sites around the world.

The airport will serve nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and is an important step in boosting the investment and employment opportunities in the region.

The international airport at Kushinagar was inaugurated on the day which is marked as Abhidhamma Day. The day symbolises the end of three-month rainy retreat – Varshavaas or Vassa – for the Buddhist Monks, during which they stay at one place in vihara & monastery and pray. On this day the Prime Minister offered Archana and Chivar to the reclining statue of Lord Buddha and also planted a tree sapling. Eminent Monks from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea, Nepal, Bhutan and Cambodia, as well as Ambassadors of various countries also attended the event.

Kushinagar International Airport is equipped to handle 300 passengers during peak hours. The airport has a single 3.2 km by 45-meter long runway with an apron that can accommodate four B737-900 types of aircraft at a time.

The new airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of a Buddhist theme-based circuit. The journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa and Vaishali of the Buddhist circuit will be covered in lesser time.

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