Why in News?
Earlier envisaged by the government as mainly comprising seven major Buddhist pilgrimage sites, in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the ‘Buddhist Circuit’ will now be expanded to 21 other states.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
The Buddhist Circuits are the Places of all High Significance Holy Sites of Buddhism ; where Lord Buddha was born, attained Enlightenment, preached first Sermon and reached Nirvana.
Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar are the primary pilgrimage places of Buddhist Circuits associated with the life and teachings of the Lord Buddha
The Buddhist circuit under SwadeshDarshanscheme is being imagined as India’s first trans-national tourist circuit, with efforts to promote tourism starting from Lumbini in Nepal, where Buddha was born, to the sites in India he traversed, including Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Rajgir, Vaishali, Sravasti and Sankasia (in UP and Bihar).
To nurture this diverse heritage and to promote interest among tourists, both domestic and international, The Swadesh Darshan Scheme under Ministry of Tourism. It aims to identify and develop theme-based tourist circuits based on interest, sustainability and competitiveness, by integrating resources and local participation of state and local communities.
Theme-based high-interest tourist circuits to include:
i)Pilgrimage and Spirituality – India has a long history of opening itself to all religions and today, each has a vast following in India and overseas. Pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Sufis, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, etc., all offer tremendous potential for development.
ii)Heritage – Historical places beginning with the TajMahal, Red Fort (Delhi), Ajanta Caves, the temples of South, etc., all have tremendous potential for further development.
iii)Culture – Themes around festivals, fairs, cattle fairs, community fairs, all continue to attract a large number of tourists each year.
iv)Eco-tourism – Preserve and promote bio-diversity and ecological conservation through responsible tourism.
NOTE4STUDENTS -PRASAD Scheme
Under the ‘PRASAD’ scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, the focus is on development and beautification of the identified pilgrimage destinations. Whereas, in the ‘Spiritual Circuit’ identified under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the thrust is on the development of particular thematic circuit consisting of various religious/spiritual destination in a State and Union Territory.