108 Buddhists from South Korea to walk over 1100 km

Feb 07: Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Shri Apurva Chandra today announced that 108 Buddhist pilgrims from the Republic of Korea will walk over 1,100 km over 43 days as part of a walking pilgrimage being organized by the Sangwol Society of South Korea. Shri Chandra added that the occasion gains importance as India and South Korea celebrate 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties. The pilgrimage aims to increase friendship and collaboration between the two countries. The tourists will visit Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India and subsequently move to Nepal.

Shri Chandra further stated that it was the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that the Buddhist tourism circuit in India is taken to the world. The circuit seeks to help tourists experience first-hand the teachings of Lord Buddha and traces the footsteps of Buddha during his lifetime. The sites to be covered during the pilgrimage span the life of Buddha from his birth to his Parinirvana.

The Secretary welcomed the pilgrims and assured all assistance from the Government of India and hoped that the pilgrims would gain a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy from this visit.

The tourists will be on a 43-day tour to Buddhist holy sites in India and Nepal from 9th February to 23rd March 2023. With the slogan ‘Oh, We! Oh, Love! Oh, Life!‘, the pilgrimage, organized by Sangwol Society, aims to spread the Buddhist culture of devotional activities through a pilgrimage to India where the life and footsteps of the Buddha are preserved.

Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India Mr Chang Jae-bok said that the year 2023 is special for the bilateral relationship between the countries as the two celebrate this historic milestone of 50 years of diplomatic relations. This occasion coincides with India’s G20 Presidency and South Korea is committed to India’s success at G20, he added. The Ambassador further remarked that Buddhist teachings are similar to the motto of India’s G20 presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

Speaking on the religious ties between India and South Korea, the Ambassador said that it evokes strong emotion and generates immense goodwill among the two peoples that fuels the bilateral relation. He further said that every year thousands of tourists visit India from Korea and this walking pilgrimage is being hosted by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The walking pilgrimage will begin from Sarnath in Varanasi and will culminate at Shravasti after traversing through Nepal.

Informing the media about the significance of this event, the Ambassador said that the mega-Buddhist pilgrimage is a befitting tribute to our shared Buddhist heritage. This will go a long way in further deepening the people-to-people contact. He added that the pilgrims which include monks will

  1. pay homage to eight major Buddhist holy sites,
  2. experience Indian Buddhism and culture, and have a bilateral meeting of religious leaders and
  3. hold a prayer assembly for world peace and a blessing ceremony for the dignity of life

The Main Programs of the India Pilgrimage

 02.09.2023Informing-the-Buddha Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage (6 a.m., Jogyesa Temple)Departure (Incheon)→Delhi→Varanasi
 02.11.2023Opening Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage-Venue: Deer Park (in front of Dhamekh Stupa)
   02.21–22.2023Bodh Gaya (Mahabohi Temple): pay respects & perform daily closing ceremony-Time: 11 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2023Dharma Assembly for World Peace-Time: 8 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2023-Venue: in front of the bodhi tree at Mahabodhi Temple
  02.24.2023International Conference at Nalanda University (to highlight our pilgrimage routes)-Venue: Nalanda University (10 a.m./ 4 p.m. for the pilgrimage group)
 02.25.2023Vulture Peak (Rajgir): pay respects & hold prayer assembly-Venue: Gandhakuti on Vulture Peak (11 a.m.)
 03.01.2023Buddha’s Relic Stupa Site (Vaishali) & daily closing ceremony-Venue: Buddha’s Relic Stupa Site (11 a.m.)
 03.03.2023Kesariya Stupa & daily closing ceremony-Venue: Kesariya Stupa (11 a.m.)
 03.08–09.2023Pay respects to Mahaparinirvana Temple & Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar & daily closing ceremony-Time: 11 a.m. Mar. 08, 2023

Prayer assembly at Lumbini (Nepal) where the Buddha was born
-Venue: Plaza in front of Ashoka Pillar (11 a.m.)
-Offering robes to the Buddha
Closing Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage (Jetavana Monastery, Shravasti)
-Venue: Plaza next to Gandhakuti at Jetavana Monastery
Arrival (Incheon)
Closing of the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage (1 p.m. at Jogyesa Temple)
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