A total of 108 Buddhist pilgrims from the Republic of Korea will walk over 1,100 km over 43 days as part of a walking pilgrimage being organised by Sangwol Society of South Korea. This news was shared by Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra. He added that the occasion gains importance as India and South Korea celebrate 50 years of establishment of diplomatic ties. The pilgrimage aims to increase friendship and collaboration between the two countries. The tourists will visit Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India and subsequently move to Nepal.
Chandra further stated that it was the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Buddhist tourism circuit in India be taken to the world. The circuit seeks to help tourists experience first-hand the teachings of Lord Buddha and traces the footsteps of Buddha during his lifetime. The sites to be covered during the pilgrimage span the life of Buddha from his birth to his Parinirvana.
The Secretary welcomed the pilgrims and assured all assistance from the Government of India and hoped that the pilgrims would gain a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy from this visit. The tourists will be on a 43-day tour to Buddhist holy sites in India and Nepal from February 9 to March 23, 2023. With the slogan Oh, We! Oh Love! Oh, Life!, the pilgrimage, organised by Sangwol Society, aims to spread Buddhist culture of devotional activities through a pilgrimage to India where the life and footsteps of the Buddha are preserved.
The Ambassador of Republic of Korea to India Chang Jae-bok said that the year 2023 is special for the bilateral relation between the countries as the two celebrate this historic milestone of 50 years of diplomatic relations. This occasion coincides with India’s G20 Presidency and South Korea is committed to India’s success at G20, he added. The Ambassador further remarked that Buddhist teachings are similar to the motto of India’s G20 presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.
Speaking on the religious ties between India and South Korea, the Ambassador said that it evokes strong emotion and generates immense goodwill among the two peoples that fuels the bilateral relation. He further said that every year thousands of tourists visit India from Korea and this walking pilgrimage is being hosted by Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The walking pilgrimage will begin from Sarnath in Varanasi and will culminate at Shravasti after traversing through Nepal.
Informing the media about the significance of this event, the Ambassador said that the mega Buddhist pilgrimage is a befitting tribute to our shared Buddhist heritage. This will go a long way in further deepening the people to people contact. He added that the pilgrims, which include monks, will pay homage to eight major Buddhist holy sites, experience Indian Buddhism and culture, and have a bilateral meeting of religious leaders and hold a prayer assembly for world peace and a blessing ceremony for the dignity of life.