Amused over the presence of several significant but neglected monuments associated with Buddhism in Haryana, the Taiwanese government is eager to explore scope of tourism in the state.
Frances Chung-Feng Lee, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre, India, told Hindustan Times on Thursday said that the religious tourism could become an important link to further strengthen Indo-Taiwan relations.
Lee was visiting Indo-Israel Center of Excellence for Vegetables (CEV) at Ghraunda on Thursday.
When this reporter told the visiting foreign dignitary about several monuments associated with Buddhism in Haryana which lack popularity, Lee said that these ancient sites could be major attraction points for Taiwanese.
"More than 50% Taiwanese follow Buddhism, the religion which has roots in India. Every year hundreds of Taiwanese visit Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where Lord Buddha believed to have attained enlightenment, for spiritual reasons. But it is very surprising that we at Taiwan embassy are not even aware of such places in Haryana but it could certainly be exploited by Taiwanese tourism department," she said while enquiring about such forgotten sites.
Stupas at Buddha Vihar at Adi Badri and Buddha Stupa at Chaneti, both in Yamunanagar district; Kurukshetra stupa, a monastery at Kurukshetra University; a Buddha stupa at Assandh in Karnal district; and a stupa and a monastery at Agroha in Hisar are some of the places in the state associated with Buddha.
But the Haryana government has never publicised these ancient sites to exploit religious and spiritual tourism.
Since 2011, a Yamunanagar-based non-religious organisation The Buddhist Forum (TBF) is creating awareness in this regard.
The Tibetan parliament-in-exile and top Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama, have appreciated the TBF's effort to sensitise people on the neglect of several places once revered in the region.
Open to share technology
Lee said that Taiwan had progressed in various fields including, agriculture, aquaculture and allied food processing manufacturing industry and Taiwanese government was ready to share technological advancements with India.
"In the absence of enough food processing facilities, more than 40% of farm produce in India is wasted. Taiwanese manufacturers have developed highly result-oriented cold chains and food processing machines available at reasonably low costs and India could avail the opportunity," she said.
Lee said that organic farming was very popular with farmers and there was a wide market of chemical-free food items.
Praises success of Indo-Israel project
Officials at the CEV gave a detailed electronic presentation and a field inspection to the Taiwanese official.
Impressed with the results, Lee said that Taiwan would soon invite the agriculture ministers of union and state governments to Taiwan to have a first-hand experience of achievements in agriculture and related sectors