Pakistan on Thursday handed over relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, where they would be exhibited on the occasion of Vesakh Festival from 21st May to 30th June, all over Sri Lanka.Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui handed over the holy relics to Sri Lankan Minister for Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera at Taxila Museum.Chief Incumbent of Nalandaramaya Nugegoda Thiniyawala Palitha Thero, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan Maj Gen (R) CP Lokuketagodage, Secretary Ministry of Buddhasasana Wasanatha Ekanayae, High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka Gen (R) Shakeel and Secretary National History and Literary Heritage S. Mohsin Haqqani, Joint Secretary NH&LH Mashood Mirza and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the adviser to the prime minister said: “Today we are here to renew our deep rooted cultural relations by sending an exhibition of the holy relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka coinciding with the upcoming Vesakh festival from May 19th to 30th June at different venues in Sri Lanka for the Buddhist devotees,”. He said that the exhibition is the outcome of the visit of PM Sharif to Sri Lanka from January 4 to 6, 2016, wherein he offered to send the holy relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka on regular basis.He said that there has been an active and persistent cooperation between the government of Pakistan and the government of Sri Lanka in the field of art and culture.
Irfan Siddiqui said that the government of Pakistan has sent a number of such exhibitions of Ghandhara objects to Sri Lanka in the past.He said that “We are sending three holy relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, which include a stone reliquary in stupa shape, golden casket and two fragments of bones from the collection of the Taxila Museum.”
He said that government of Pakistan has specially invited a 50 member delegation comprising of Buddhist monks and pilgrims from Sri Lanka to Pakistan from May 29th to 1st June, 2016, for celebrating the Vesakh Festival in Pakistan.Sri Lankan Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera thanked the government of Pakistan for sending the holy relics. He said that thousands of people from across Sri Lanka would pay homage to the relics during the religious rituals of Vesakh Festival. He said that Sri Lanka gives high importance to its relation with Pakistan and both the countries are enjoying very friendly and cordial relations.
In order to be part of the most important annual Vesakh Buddhist Festival falling on May 21, the government of Pakistan is providing the most sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka for exposition throughout the country.The exposition is being organised on the request of the Sri Lankan government under the bilateral cooperation agreement in the field of culture.
The relics will be arriving in Sri Lanka for an extended period on the auspicious day of Vesakh on May 21, 2016 and will be exhibited until Full Moon Poson Poya Day.The exhibition will further strengthen the already existing deep rooted cultural relations between the two friendly nations.