Buddha International Welfare Mission is constructing India’s largest reclining statue of Buddha in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. The statue, which will reportedly be 100 feet long and 30 feet high, is on track to be completed by February 2023. By Eshita Srinivas
Located in Bihar, Bodh Gaya, an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists around the world, is known to be the place where religious leader Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Along with it, Vaishali, Rajgir, Sarnath, Shavasti, and Kushinagar makes up the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit in India. In an effort to revive the circuit, Buddha International Welfare Mission is working on constructing the country’s largest reclining statue of the idol.
Bodh Gaya’s reclining statue of Buddha will be open to devotees by February 2023
India is constructing a 100-foot-long and 30-foot-tall statue of reclining Buddha in Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist holy city situated in the eastern part of the country pic.twitter.com/CMPpEBiukS
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 9, 2022
To construct the 100-feet-long, 30-feet-tall structure, sculptors from eastern Kolkata have been roped in. The statue will feature Buddha in a sleeping position, known as the Mahaparinirvana Mudra, and will be made with fibreglass. In a news report by ANI, Bhante Aryapal Bhikshu, the founder secretary of Buddha International Welfare Mission, said, “The idol of Lord Buddha is in Mahaparinirvana Mudra which has great importance in Buddhism. Before Mahaparinirvana, Lord Buddha preached to his disciples in this posture. Bodh Gaya is the place of enlightenment of Lord Buddha, so this idol is being built here.”
He further added that Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar is also home to an idol of Buddha in this posture. Construction, Financial Express reports, began in 2019 and is expected to complete by February 2023. No further details regarding the statue have been released so far. Over 100,000 pilgrims and tourists visit Bodh Gaya every year and the region’s Mahabodhi Temple was accorded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002, the report by Financial Express adds.
Late last year, as per a report by The Hindu, The Union Ministry of Tourism had stated that they would work on developing Bodh Gaya as a year-round tourist destination, adding that efforts were underway to set up all the infrastructure and facilities that would be needed towards this.