Bhubaneswar: A recommendation to include the Buddhist circuit of Odisha in the Swadesh Darshan scheme announced by the union ministry of tourism was made by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday.
In a letter to union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, the chief minister said the Buddhist Triangle — popularly known as the Diamond Triangle of Odisha, comprising of Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Udyagiri — deserves to be included in the list of Buddhist circuits under the new scheme.
“Buddhist remains in the form of chaityas, stupas, monasteries and the tooth relic in the golden casket found here aptly establish this circuit at par with other major sites in India. The socio-cultural life of early and medieval Odisha is reflected in the cultural art of these Buddhist monuments,” said Patnaik.
He said it is a well-established fact that Buddhism spread to rest of the world after the great Kalinga war waged by Emperor Ashoka in Odisha.
The chief minister said these Buddhist destinations would be improved with adequate tourism infrastructure with their inclusion in the scheme.
Archaeological exploration and excavations have unearthed more than 200 Buddhist sites across the state, he added.
About 60% of polled vacationers rate travel experiences as more important than material possessions. Curated experiences rank high on the list of voyagers this year and in 2019, the trend is expected to continue according to an independent survey commissioned by Booking.com. If you are planning a trip to India, there are several experiences that you should not miss from checking in at a luxurious royal hotel and estate tea visits to temple tours and mountain sun rise excursions.
Arrange a Yoga Retreat
The country is a dream destination for yogis with many places to choose from. A yoga retreat might just be what you need to relax and discover your inner self. A relaxing vacation is not only rejuvenating but also offers a glimpse of a different lifestyle.
While the practice of yoga in the West focuses on physical postures and sequences, a yoga retreat in India offers benefits by emphasizing breathing, meditation and cleansing. In addition, you’ll be exposed to devotional practices such as chanting and karma yoga. A typical retreat consists of an inclusive stay at specialist accommodation such as a hotel, yoga camp or school but if you want to save on accommodation costs, you can just drop in daily or sign-up for shorter courses.
Go on a Tour of the River Ganges
To continue your spiritual journey, organize a tour of the Ganges, the third largest river that flows through the country. Named after the Hindu goddess, Ganga, it is one of the most sacred places in India with religious festivities and burial rites taking place at the river’s banks. Pilgrims come from far to cleanse themselves with the holy water in the Ganges.
The river starts at the Himalayas and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Ganges River while on a cruise. If you have the opportunity, sign-up for a walking tour along the Ganges in Varanasi.
Get Up Close with Hindu Gods
With over 2 million Hindu temples in India, deciding where to go might prove difficult. But if you want to cover the most temples during your visit, head to the state of Tamil Nadu. It is not for nothing that it is known as the ‘Land of the Temples’ boasting of almost 33,000 ancient places of worship. In total, there are 38,615 temples according to the Tamil Nadu Hindu Endowments Board.
Marvel at the Brihadishvara Temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and features exceptional architecture. Don’t forget the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai decked with thousands of colorful figures of gods, animals and demons.
India is steeped in culture and history. With so many things to offer its visitors, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to unique travel experiences that cater to your senses and personal preferences.