The annual Sanchi Mahabodhi Festival will be held on November 26 and 27, the President of Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi Society – Most Venerable Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said.
The festival centres around the Chethiyagiri Maha Viharaya, which was built in 1952, enshrining the relics of Lord Buddha’s two chief disciples – Maha Arahat Sariputta and Maha Arahat Moggallana. These relics were discovered by Sir Alexander Cunningham, former Director General of the Department of Archeology of India, during an exploration of the ruins of Sanchi in 1851.
Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said that the main function of the Mahabodhi festival is to provide an opportunity for the public to worship the relics of these Maha Arahats enshrined inside the temple built on land donated by the Nawab of Bhopal at that time.
Meanwhile, Sanchi Chethiyagiri Vihara Chief Incumbent – Ven.Banagala Vimalatissa Thera said that Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Culture Minister Usha Thakur, Madhya Pradesh Minister for Health Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary and Madhya Pradesh Additional Inspector General of Police Anuradha Shankar Singh will attend this year’s event as the Chief Guests.
Ven. Vimalatissa Thera also said High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi Milinda Moragoda will participate as the Special Guest of Honor at this year’s Sanchi Mahabodhi Festival.
Apart from that, Buddhist devotees from Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Sri Lanka and Buddhist devotees from all states of India are expected to participate in the festival this year, Sanchi Vihara resident monk – Ven. Udugama Tapassi Thera said.
A group of artistes as well as journalists representing the Asian Media and Cultural Association (AMCA) will also participate, AMCA Chairman Upul Janaka Jayasinghe said.