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Rediff.com  » News » Bihar all set to host 4,000 UK troops in Bodh Gaya

Bihar all set to host 4,000 UK troops in Bodh Gaya

December 21, 2012 12:14 IST

Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, one of Buddhism's holiest shrines, plans to provide a peaceful environment for meditation to 4,000 visiting troops of the Royal British Army, who will start arriving in the second week of January 2013.

The Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee and the Bihar government officials are working to ensure best arrangements for the visiting troops.

"The temple management committee has decided to help them in every respect to enjoy their visit to Bodh Gaya for peace and spirituality," the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee secretary N Dorjee said.

Bihar Tourism Minister Sunil Kumar Pintu said on Friday that the government priority is to provide them good environment the Holy Bodhi tree behind the Mahabodhi temple to impress them to visit again.

"We will ensure that no one disturbs them during their mediation under Bodhi tree," the minister told Rediff.com in Patna.

He said that the first group of troops of the Royal British Army, all practicing Buddhists, will arrive in the second week of January in Bodh Gaya. The first group is likely to comprise of 100 to 125 troops followed by others.

He said additional security forces would be deployed in Bodh Gaya in view of their visit.

He said they will be reaching Bodh Gaya from London by a special plane via New Delhi.

The minister recalled that last month when he was in London to attend World Tourism Mart, it was a mere coincidence that some officials of the British Royal Army approached him and offered to send their troops to Bodh Gaya.

He informed that state tourism department had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British army that would bear all costs incurred in a 10-day tour of Buddhist places by the troops. During the tour, the troops will stay in Bodh Gaya for seven days and in the remaining days they will visit other places of Buddhist interest, including Rajgir in Bihar's Nalanda district and Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.

M I Khan in Patna