Indo-ASEAN relations get a big boost as Golden Pagoda in Namsai gets precious Buddha

Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh; October 31, 2017: Initiating a people-to-people connect between the South East Asian nations and India, the Tai Khamti people in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh received a Buddha Relic from Thailand’s Sangharaja on Monday.

TheBuddha relic was presented to the Kongmu Kham (Golden Pagoda) in theNamsai district of Arunachal Pradesh by Somdet Phra Mahamuniwong, theSangharaja of Thailand. The Holy Relic was received by the people of Namsai asthousands gathered to welcome the delegates from Thailand on Monday.

ArunachalPradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein received the relic from the airportat Mohanbari in Dibrugarh. The deputy chief minister and the Abbot of GoldenPagoda Ven. Vimalatissa Mahathero had earlier written to the Sangharaja forblessing the region.

A delegationfrom Golden Pagoda had earlier on October 19 received the relic from theSangharaja in Bangkok. It has been brought by a 13-member Thai delegate team.

Sponsored bychief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and patronized by deputy chiefminister Chowna Mein, the permanent enshrining of the Holy Relic at Kongmu Khamopens doors for a spiritual relationship between the people of the twocountries. “People following Buddhism in eastern Arunachal share a strongspiritual connect with those residing in the South East Asian region. The giftingof the Relic by none other than the Sangharaja puts focus on the scenic KongmuKham. We believe that this will now lead to many people from the ASEAN visitingthe Kongmu Kham,” said Chowna Mein, deputy chief minister ofArunachalPradesh who was present on the occasion.

As theArunachal government puts focus on tourism in the eastern part of the state,the growing popularity of Kongmu Kham will serve as a big boost. “Kongmu Khamis presenting itself as a beautiful location for spiritual tourism in theregion. Besides the number of smaller temples and places of worships in theregion, Kongmu Kham at Noi Chenam in Namsai district has emerged as one of themain attraction for visitors,” said Miss Guntalee Boonvorasset, noted Thaiactress who was part of the Thai delegation, while adding that the placeis now seeing film shoots and witnessing a flow of tourists and devotees. 

Being apopular symbol of the Buddhist culture, Kongmu Kham can initiate internationalrelations with South East Asian countries that follow Buddhism. “It will be aboost to the government’s Act East Policy as a robust people-to-people connectwill ease policymaking and aid the government in its quest for better relationswith the ASEAN,” a chief minister’s representative said.

With therelic enshrined permanently at Kongmu Kham, future flow of foreign devotees andmonks will lead to the growth of the local economy. The Kongmu Kham boosts ofan eco-tourism complex which was built at the cost of Rs 469.26 lakh aid fromthe union tourism ministry. It includes four special suits, eight executivesuits (twin-sharing), two dormitories to accommodate 20 people each, arestaurant, multipurpose hall, an administrative block and flower garden. 

TheSangharaja of Thailand holds the decision to donate such precious Buddha Relicand the decision to grant one to Kongmu Kham in Namsai is being seen as a greatstep forward for the people of the region.

Earlier, in2013, sacred relics of the Buddha housed at the National Museum in New Delhiwere temporarily moved out to Arunachal Pradesh for display at Kongmu Kham andother Buddhist monasteries in Tawang and Bomdila. The treasure trove wasdisplayed for a week each at the three remote monasteries in Arunachal markingthe importance of Kongmu Kham in the spiritual map of the region. This led toregular flow of tourists as the destination in eastern Arunachal became one ofhighly regarded devotional venue for other Buddhists from variouscountries. 

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