A government source added, “Countries like Thailand, Canada, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, France, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Austria, China, South Korea and the United States are all represented by Centres of projects in the Monastic Zone. ”
Under the Lumbini Master Plan of the Government of Nepal, approved in 1978, the Lumbini Monastic Zone came into being as a place housing Buddhist monasteries and projects from various denominations and countries. “For the last three decades, while countries sought and received parcels of land within the Zone, India remained out (of it). Time was also running out as only two plots of land remained vacant as per the original master plan,” an official said.
Sources said under Modi’s government, the issue was raised at the highest level with Nepal. As a result of constant follow-up and positive efforts from both governments, in November 2021, the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) allocated a plot (80 metres X 80 metres) to the IBC (India International Centre for Buddhist Culture) to build a project.
This was followed up with a detailed agreement between IBC and LDT in March 2022, following which the land is formally leased to IBC, sources said.
Sources said the Centre, once built, will be a unique design with seven external layers which symbolise the seven steps taken by Buddha soon after his birth. On the structure side, it will house prayer rooms, meditation halls, library, auditorium, meeting rooms, cafeteria, and accommodation for visiting monks. The Centre will be technologically advanced and net-zero compliant in terms of energy and waste management. In total, the Centre will showcase both India’s Buddhist heritage and technological prowess.