Modi inaugurates Kushinagar Airport; says it will boost Buddhist tourism

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport in the district which is the final resting place of Lord Buddha. The inaugural flight, carrying a Sri Lankan delegation, headed by Sri Lankan Minister for Youth and Sports Namal Rajapaksa, including over 100 Buddhist monks, landed this morning

Oct 20, 2021
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Modi inaugurates Kushinagar Airport

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport in the district which is the final resting place of Lord Buddha. The inaugural flight, carrying a Sri Lankan delegation, headed by Sri Lankan Minister for Youth and Sports Namal Rajapaksa, including over 100 Buddhist monks, landed this morning.   

Built in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh stte, the airport will connect Buddhist pilgrimage sites around the world and boost religious tourism in India. Gautama Buddha where he attained Mahaparinirvana after his death and is considered as one of the most important Buddhist sites. 

Dedicating the airport to Buddhists worldwide, Modi said, “India is a center of Buddhist faith and beliefs.” The airport, he added, will facilitate pilgrimage to the sacred city. 

Spread across 3600 square metres, the airport, built at an estimated cost of $34.5 million, is developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in association with the Uttar Pradesh government. The new terminal can handle 300 passengers during peak hours.

Kushinagar is also the centre point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath, and Gaya.

“The airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of Buddhist theme-based circuits,” the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. 

“Journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa, and Vaishali of Buddhist circuit will be covered in lesser time,” the statement added. 

The government has been prioritizing the development of sites associated with Lord Buddha, Modi said in his speech, adding they are committed to improving connectivity, and facilities for pilgrims. 

The lack of connectivity and infrastructure has always hindered India from fully utilizing its potential for cultural and religious tourism. The new airport will bridge these gaps to some extent, attracting Buddhist tourists from South-East countries as well as from China.  


(SAM)