Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Thursday, inaugurated the Buddha Smriti Park, a sprawling 22-acre park in the heart of Patna dedicated to Lord Buddha, on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
After the inauguration, a smiling Dalai Lama named the 200-foot-high newly-built stupa in the park as 'Patliputra Karuna'. The stupa marks Bihar's close association with Buddhism.
The inauguration of the Buddha memorial park was an international event attended by delegations from four predominantly Buddhist countries -- Sri Lanka, Burma, Japan and Thailand.
The Dalai Lama thanked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for inviting him to inaugurate the park built to commemorate the 2,554th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha and described his visit to the state as a pleasant one.
Nitish Kumar said the park would attract tourists, particularly foreigners, and is adorned with facilities like a meditation centre, museum, and a distinctive Buddhist theme park - Park of Memories that symbolises Bihar's status as the place of both the origin and dispersion of Buddhism.
The foreign delegations attended the prayer ceremony during the inaugural function. They brought consecrated Buddha urns and gifts, which were kept at the memorial park by the Dalai Lama.
The spiritual leader also planted a sapling of the tree under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.
A branch of the original Mahabodhi tree is believed to have been taken to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by Emperor Ashok's son Mahendra. The Sri Lankan delegation had brought a sapling from this tree to be planted at the Buddha Smriti Park.
Bihar Governor D. Konwar, along with several members of the cabinet and top officials, was also present during the ceremony.
The park is located near the Patna railway junction and is spread over 22 acres of prime land in the heart of the city. The project is estimated to have cost more than Rs.125 crore.