Vizag to host Lumbini Festival
Visakhapatnam, April 8: In an effort to highlight the tourism potential of Visakhapatnam and its surrounding areas, the State government would organise Lumbini Festival in the district on May 7 and 8.
The main aim of the festival is to attract local and foreign tourists towards the Buddhist sites in the district. Similar festival is being held on Buddha Purnima day at Hyderabad every year. This year it will be extended to Visakhapatnam also.
The government has also decided to invite some 40 Buddhist monks from Srilanka and Japan to participate in the Buddhist festival.
Buddhist history and detailed information on other buddhist sites in the State would be shown during the two-day Lumbini Festival. As part of the festival, package tours would be organised to Buddhist sites like Thatlakonda, Bavikonda, Bojjannakonda and Pavuralkonda , which date back to third and seventh century BC.
Thatlakonda and Bavikonda would be the major venues of the festival. Thatlakonda and Bavikonda, located on the Bhimili Beach Road had no road communication facility till last year and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority constructed two roads on the ghat s to enable the tourists to reach the sites. One km long ring road was laid by Vuda to have a panoramic view of the Bay of Bengal from the hill top.
Thatlakonda, located on the picturesque beach road, would be given a face-lift. Parking facilities and restaurants would be constructed before the start of the festival. The Thatlakonda pond would be renovated. Similarly, landscaping would be done at Bojjannakonda near Sankaram in Anakapalle and the road leading to the site from Anakapalle by-pass road to Yeleru Canal would be blacktopped.
The government has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh for organising the festival and and additional resources would be mobilised from various sources. The festival will give a new impetus to the tourist industry in the district. Rs 500 crore would be spent in the next few years to develop the infrastructure in the district.
The Vizag-Bhimili road would be developed as a tourist circle with Ramakrishna Beach, Vuda Park, Kailasagiri, Tenneti Park, Thatlakonda and Bavikonda as major tourist attractions.
Proposals are afoot to expand the Beach Road into a four-lane road following MoUs on joint ventures with US-based companies for setting up beach resorts. The work is in progress at Indo-American Beach Resort, Senora and Brookefields at Yarada village.
Meanwhile, other Buddhist organisations are also making elaborate arrangements to celebrate the Buddha Purnima on a grand scale. The Andhra Buddhist Society in its annual general body meeting held here on Sunday has decided to organise Buddha Jayanti in a grand manner for three days from May 7 at three places in the city.
At Kancharapalem the Jayanti would be celebrated on May 7, at Siddhardhanagar on May 8 while at Ashoknagar on May 9. Society founder president M Arjuna Rao presided over the meeting. Chairman Prachand was present