Lankan envoy in India visits Sanchi stupa

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Colombo, March 15: Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda who was on an official visit to Madhya Pradesh recently, visited and paid obeisance at the Great Buddhist Stupa in Sanchi.

High Commissioner Moragoda also visited and paid homage at the Chetiyagiri Vihara of the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, which is located in close proximity to the Great Stupa. He was warmly welcomed by the resident monks of the Vihara, Ven. Banagala Vimalatissa Thero and Ven. Udugama Thapassi Thero.

An important Buddhist centre in ancient India, Sanchi is believed to be the place from which Buddhism was sent to Sri Lanka. It is also believed that both Arahant Mahinda and Theri Sangamitta, immediately prior to their journeys to Sri Lanka, had stayed in Sanchi.

Given the significance of Sanchi in the advent of Buddhism in Sri Lanka which is the pinnacle of relations between India and Sri Lanka, High Commissioner Moragoda discussed with the resident monks on possible initiatives that could be undertaken in Sanchi to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Indo-Lanka diplomatic relations falling this year.

High Commissioner Moragoda also discussed with the resident Sri Lankan monks on the ways and means to further promote Sanchi among Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims to India, and how to facilitate their passage to Sanchi, especially by train. The resident monks brought to the attention of the High Commissioner that long distance express trains arriving from major cities in India are not stopping at Sanchi, making it inconvenient for the pilgrims to visit. The High Commissioner undertook to take this issue up with the Union Ministry of Railways with a view to finding a solution to it.

The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest structures in India, and an important monument of Indian architecture. The Stupa had been commissioned by emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, and the original construction work is believed to have been overseen by the emperor himself.

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