Andhra Pradesh government is aiming to make Amaravati, the emerging capital of state, an important destination for Buddhists across the globe. The state has drawn up a plan to promote Buddhist heritage of Amaravati in China, Japan and other far eastern countries where Buddhism is flourishing. A high level delegation of state government is all set to visit Japan to take part in an international exhibition to be held there from September 24 to 27 in order to promote Buddhist tourist sites of Andhra Pradesh.
Tourism principal secretary Neerabh Kumar Prasad will be leading the team to Japan to showcase the Buddhist heritage in Association of Travel Agents’ Tourism Expo, “Japan-2015”. Andhra Pradesh is developing a Buddhist circuit connecting all the Buddhist sites in coastal region. As part of this the sate has embarked on developing at least 19 Buddhist sites, including two in the close proximity of new capital city Amaravati, into prominent tourist destinations with Japanese help. Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda are two world famous Buddhist centres in the State. These are only two sites of 150, which were excavated and identified in the State. Buddhist settlements in Andhra date back to 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had already had already submitted a proposal to the Japanese government, seeking necessary financial and technical support to create a Buddhist Circuit in AP that covers major Buddhist sites. The sites include Salihundam, Ramateerthaalu, Bojjanakonda, Guntupalli, Adumuru, Jaggayyapeta, Gummudigudeam, Alluru, Ghantasala, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. State government is also planning ‘Monastery Boulevard’ in Amaravati, where Buddhist monasteries can be built, like in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya. There are plans to erect a Buddha statue at Ghantasala. A standing Buddha statue unearthed near Ghantasala is now on display in museum in Paris. The statue will be the replica of the one in Paris.