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Special train for Buddhist pilgrims coming soon

[Hindu, Monday, 21 March 2011 09:14 No Comment]

Indian Railways would launch a special Buddhist train, “Damba Diwa Vandana,” later this year from Chennai to cater to Sri Lankan pilgrims, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha said in Kandy on Sunday.

A large number of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka visited India and the train would be a cheaper mode of transportation for them. This was among the initiatives that reflected India’s desire to strengthen her cultural and people-to-people linkage with Sri Lanka, with which India shared deep historical bonds, Mr. Kantha said.

He was speaking at an international Buddhist conference organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the conference and Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne participated.

Scholars from Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are participating in the conference, which has as its theme “Cultural Interface between India and Sri Lanka based on Buddhist History, Art, Literature and Philosophy.” The papers presented at the two-day conference will be published in the form of a volume.

At the inaugural ceremony, Director General of ICCR Suresh K. Goel said the council was committed to strengthening the cultural relationship between India and Sri Lanka through activities such as exchange of cultural troupes, exhibitions, distinguished visitors and scholarships.

The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Buddhasasna and Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka, together with the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy and the University of Peredeniya, are the partner institutes of the conference. It is being organised as part of the joint commemoration by India and Sri Lanka of the 2600th anniversary of the attainment of enlightenment by Lord Buddha.

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