Tourist from Buddhist Countries to get Visa on Arrival

Buddhist population such as Thailand and Malaysia would be provided the facility of Visa on Arrival ( VOA). A two day International Buddhist Conclave at Varanasi decided to develop a Ghat in the temple town Varanasi in the name of Lord Buddha on the bank of river Ganga. The Ministry had adopted a Keep India Clean Mission to keep clean the cities particularly tourist places across the country to attract maximum tourists.

India being the land of origin of Buddhism, is the main attraction for the Buddhist tourists from across the globe. The Ministry is drawing up plans to to attract more tourists from Buddhist countries by providing them special facilities. Buddhism being a world religion now, its sites have a great attraction for tourists’ world over. The Ministry of Tourism is continuing with its efforts in identifying more and more Buddhist Circuits and developing them in holistic and integrated manner.

The Ministry has identified three circuits to be developed as part of Buddhist Circuits during the 12th Five Year Plan.they are:

Circuit 1: The Dharmayatra or the Sacred Circuit – This will be a 5 to 7 days circuit and will include visits to Gaya (Bodhgaya), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva ( Kapilvastu) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.

Circuit 2: Extended Dharmayatra or Extended Sacred Circuit or Retracing Buddha’s Footsteps – This will be a 10 to 15 days circuit and will include visit to Bodhgaya (Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya), Patna (Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, Lauriya Ariraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum), Varanasi(Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Saniska) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.

Circuit 3: Buddhist Heritage Trails State Circuits- Jammu and Kashmir – Ladakh, Srinagar and Jammu; Himachal Pradesh – Dharamshala, Spiti, Kinnaur and Lahaul. Shri Sahai expressed the hope that deliberations at the conclave would help us to carry on this process of identifying and developing more Buddhist circuits.

During 12th Five Year Plan period we have identified around 35 major integrated circuits and destinations having potential to attract a large number of tourists. It is proposed to develop around 20 tourism parks on the lines of Sentosa Islands in Singapore.

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The conclave is being held with a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist Heritage of India.

The last Conclave was organized in Nalanda in February 2010.

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