Modi Connects Kushinagar With World’s Aviation Network

KUSHINAGAR, where  Lord  Buddha passed away at the age of 80, is now connected by international flights for enabling  Buddhist pilgrims across the globe to pay respects to the savant born in 623 BC  in Lumbini Province now in Nepal. At the international airport inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Namal Rajapaksa, MP & son of Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, arrived with 100 Buddhists monks on the inaugural flight. The state -of the art international airport, 230 km from Varanasi, will also go a long way in opening the world to the people living in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It was inaugurated by PM Modi at the event marking Abhidhamma Day at the Mahaparinirvana Temple in Kushinagar on October 20 in the presence of reverend Sangas, Monks and Nuns. Sri Lanka delegation offered prayers at the sacred Buddha Relics which were brought from Sri Lanka. In the north-east of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh is Sarnath where Gautama Buddha had first taught the Dhamma and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Buddhism is a religion that is practiced worldwide. It is believed that as many as 535 million people around the world practice this religion representing between 8 percent and 10 percent of the world’s total population. Several countries have a very high proportion of Buddhism followers. Speaking about the significance of the newly built International Airport, PM Modi said with the objective to develop the places associated with Lord Buddha, for better connectivity, special attention is being given by India. The development of Kushinagar is in the priorities of the UP government and the central government, said the Prime Minister. He also underlined that the Kushinagar airport will help develop an entire economic ecosystem in this region and also create new job opportunities. “In UP alone, including this airport, 9 new airports and terminals have been made available to people. The Kushinagar airport has the capacity to handle eight flights every hour, four arrivals and four departures. The peak passenger capacity of the airport is 300 passengers per hour. Jewar Airport,58 km from Delhi, which will be India’s largest airport, is also being worked on at a record pace, said PM. With a length of 3.2 kilometres, the Kushinagar airport has the longest runway in UP, reported Hindustan Times’ sister publication Livehindustan. It is 45 metres wide. The airport apron will be able to accommodate four big aircraft. Ambassadors of India’s neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand, where Buddhism is practiced by a majority of people, hailed the inauguration of the airport in Kushinagar saying the move will benefit their citizens to come to the city where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. Edited by PK Chakravarty

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