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Exposition of the Holy Relics in Thailand – Feb 22 to March 18, 2024

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The four Holy Piparahwa Relics of Lord Buddha and his Two Disciples Arahata Sariputra and Arahata Maudgalyayana reached Bangkok, Thailand on 22, February 2024 for a 26-day exposition along with the 22-member delegation, headed by Governor of Bihar Shri Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Virendra Kumar accompanying the sacred relics. The delegation comprises of venerable monks from Kushinagar, Aurangabad, Ladakh officials from Ministry of Culture, state government of M.P., curators from National Museum, artists and scholars. The event is being organized with the support of Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Embassy in Thailand, International Buddhist Confederation, National Museum, State Government of Madhya Pradesh.

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The holy relics were received with great reverence and ceremoniously at the Bangkok Military Airport by the H.E Mr Sermsak Pongpanit, Minister of Culture, Royal Thai Government, Thai officials and a large number of Monks among other dignitaries. The Holy Relics were welcomed with auspicious chanting ceremony and warm hospitality performance at Military Airport. Mr Sermsak Pongpanit and Thai officials, along with the Union Minister Dr Virendra Kumar and delegations then conduced the Holy relics from Military Airport to enshrine at the National Museum, Bangkok for safe keeping and later to be enshrined in a grand mandapam prepared in Sanam Luang Pavilion in Bangkok on 23rd February. People can pay their reverence from Makha Bucha Day onwards.

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Union Minister Dr Virendra Kumar and Mr Sermsak Pongpanit, Minister of Culture, Thai Government held a press conference on arrival of the holy Relics at the National Museum, Bangkok. Addressing the media, Dr. Virendra Kumar said that India and Thailand have always enjoyed strong, multidimensional and bilateral relations based on our convergent national interests and priorities. The eternal message of Lord Buddha embodied in the great religion of Buddhism is the most important and unbreakable link between India and Thailand. He expressed hope that as we embark on a new and more glorious chapter in the bilateral relations between India and Thailand, the arrival of the holy relics will further strengthen the bond of friendship and love between the two countries. The Thai Culture Minister expressed happiness and gratitude at the Government of India having accepted the request of Thai Government to send Holy Relics to Thailand for exposition.

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An Exposition Agreement for the Holy Relics was also signed on February 22, 2024 between the Department of Religious Affairs, Thailand , represented by Mr. Chaiyapon Suk-ieam, Director-General of Department of Religion Affairs, Thailand and the National Museum, represented by Mr. Ashish Goyal, Additional Director General, National Museum, Ministry of Culture, at the National Museum of Thailand, in the esteemed presence of the Union Minister Dr Virendra Kumar, Thai Culture Minister Mr Sermsak Pongpanit Ms Thitima Suphapuckac, Director of Moral and Ethical Promotion Bureau Acting for Deputy Director - General of Religion Affairs, Thailand and Ms Amita Prasad Sarbhai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The signing of the Exposition Agreement is another furtherance in the 75 years of longstanding India-Thailand diplomatic relations.

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Earlier, the Holy Relics left India from Delhi with the delegation, after customary ceremonies. These Relics belong to 20 of the special Relics kept in National Museum of Culture Ministry. Four of these are travelling to Thailand for this momentous occasion. Additionally, the holy relics of two of esteemed disciples of Lord Buddha, Arahata Sariputra and Arahata Maudgalayana, currently residing at Sanchi, are also travelling to Thailand and will be showcased together for the first time. The Relics were carried in IAF aircraft befitting status as State Guest.

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Ceremony at Palam Airport in the Presence of Governor of Bihar, Union Minister and Thai Ambassador

The exhibition itinerary includes visits to multiple venues across Thailand, allowing devotees and enthusiasts alike to pay homage to these revered artifacts:

  • Sanam Luang Pavilion, Bangkok: 22nd February 2024 – 3rd March 2024 (11 Days)
  • Ho Kum Luang, Royal Rujapruek, Chiang Mai: 4th March 2024 – 8th March 2024 (5 Days)
  • Wat Maha Wanaram, Ubon Ratchathani: 9th March 2024 – 13th March 2024 (5 Days)
  • Wat Maha That, Aoluek, Krabi: 14th March 2024 – 18th March 2024 (5 Days)

The Holy Relics will be escorted back on 19th March from Thailand to their respective homes, concluding a historic and spiritually enriching exposition in Thailand.

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