As part of efforts to boost ties of friendship and culture between India and China, a majestic Indian-style Buddhist stupa on the pattern of the World Heritage Sanchi Mahayana stupas, is taking shape in Luoyang, a historic temple town in Henan province.
Located on the western side of the ancient White Horse Temple, it is a joint venture as part of an agreement inked between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao during the latter's visit in April last year.
The idea was first mooted by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he visited Bai Mai Si Temple on a trip to Luoyang City in 2003.
Besides funding 10 million yuan for construction, India is providing architectural design, landscape planning and other related material while the Bai Ma Si has allotted 2,667 sq m.
China is offering official cooperation and permits to facilitate the travel of Indian architects and other construction experts.
"Stupa construction began in June this year and will take 310 days for completion," says Honglu Temple Abbot Shi Yin Le. A UNI correspondent visiting the site found construction progressing in top gear. Work on outer corridors and the 27-ft-high stupa is underway simultaneously. Foundation beams have been completed while iron rods have been fixed for columns.
The shrine will be formally declared open on April 26 next year in the presence of senior Indian and Chinese officials, besides monks.
Buddhists in China hold India in high esteem and ordinary Chinese, who cannot afford to make a trip to India, can now have a glimpse of 'little India' there.
The Chinese government is taking encouraging steps for revival of Buddhism, which is considered panacea for all problems related to the country's rapid social and economic development.