Nepal: PM Modi arrives in Lumbini on Buddha Purnima
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the sacred Maya Devi Temple in Nepal's Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima on Monday. He was accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba during his visit to the historic temple in Lumbini, Gautam Buddha's birthplace. "Beginning the Nepal visit with prayers at the sacred Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.
Why does this story matter?
For its overall strategic interests in the region, Nepal is important to India and both nations have often noted the age-old "Roti-Beti" relationship. PM Modi and Deuba will also hold a bilateral meeting in Lumbini where they will exchange views on expanding cooperation between both nations and matters of mutual interests, including hydropower and connectivity, according to official statements.
Modi, Deuba attended 'pooja' at temple
Modi, Deuba, and his spouse Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba paid their respects at the Marker Stone inside Maya Devi Temple premises, which pinpoints Buddha's exact birth spot. They also attended the pooja conducted as per Buddhist rituals and lit lamps near the Ashoka Pillar—erected by emperor Ashoka in 249 BC. They also watered the Bodhi tree sapling from Bodh Gaya—gifted by India in 2014.
Modi on Maya Devi Temple visit
Modi had gifted Bodhi sapling from Bodh Gaya in 2014
PM Modi's fifth visit to Nepal since 2014
On his fifth visit to Nepal since 2014, Modi arrived in Lumbini on a helicopter from Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar on Monday. He will deliver an address at the Buddha Jayanti celebrations organized by the Lumbini Development Trust. Moreover, Modi will also participate in the foundation-laying ceremony for the construction of the India International Center for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone.
Our ties with Nepal are unparalleled: PM Modi
"Our ties with Nepal are unparalleled. The civilizational and people-to-people contacts between India and Nepal form the enduring edifice of our close relationship," Modi said on Sunday. Upon arriving at Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, he tweeted, "Landed in Nepal. Happy to be among the wonderful people of Nepal on the special occasion of Buddha Purnima. Looking forward to the programs in Lumbini."