Millions of Sri Lankan devotees paid homage to the Sacred Buddhist Relics from Pakistan

Islamabad: The Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha brought from Pakistan were taken back to Pakistan today after conclusion of the exposition of these sacred relics in Sri Lankan. These sacred relics were sent by the Government of Pakistan on the special request of the Honourable President of Sri Lanka H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa, during the visit of the President of Pakistan H.E. Asif Ali Zardari to Sri Lanka, says a press release received here today from Sri Lanka.

During the 17 day exposition of the sacred relics in Sri Lanka Millions of people paid homage to these sacred relics. In addition to the million of devotees the President, the Prime Minister, Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament, several Parliamentarian and other prominent personalities paid homage to the sacred relics of Lord Buddha.

These relics included the sacred relics of the Lord Buddha, Kanishka Relic Casket from Shah-Ji-Ki-Deheri, stone reliquary in Stupa shape and a Golden Casket. The exposition of the sacred relics was declared opened by the Honourable President of Sri Lanka on 4th of this month at Maligakanda temple in Colombo where these sacred relics stayed for period of 4 days from 5th to 9th June, 2011 and over three hundred thousand people paid homage to these relics every day at the Maligakanda temple.

These relics were then taken to the Gangaramaya temple Hunupitiya where they stayed for public exposition for 3 days from 10th to 12th June, 2011, during which over three hundred and fifty thousand devotees visited these relics every day. On 13th of June, 2011, the sacred relics were taken to Tissamaharama temple in Hambantota to mark celebration of Poson Poya day on 15th of June. The sacred relics remained at Tissamaharama temple for a period of 3 days where they were visited by over a million devotees.

On 17th of June, the sacred relics were brought back to Colombo at Mahamewna Asapuwa Malabe from 16th to 19th of June where they were kept in the Inner chamber of the newly constructed stupa for sanctifying and conferring the blessing of the said sacred relics on the stupa and as a lasting testimony to this blessed event, this stupa was named as “Siri Gauthama Dharmarajika Stupa”.

Afterwards the sacred relics were exhibited at Mahamewuna Asapuwa, Malabe until 19th June, 2011.

The exhibition of the sacred relics in Sri Lanka has further strengthen the already existing deep rooted cultural relations between the two friendly nations as it has marked the 2600th Year of the attainment of Enlightenment of Lord Buddha.

Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries, the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art. Much of this legacy is visible even today in Pakistan. The Gandhara civilization was not only the centre of spiritual influence but also the cradle of the world famous Gandhara culture, art and learning. It was from these centres that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan, together with many private collections world over, as well as a vast collection in the museums of Pakistan.

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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