Conference on Buddhist heritage begins

Jajpur: A three-day international conference on Buddhist heritage of Odisha was kicked off with much fanfare at Udayagiri, a famous Buddhist site in Jajpur district on Friday.
About 200 delegates comprising scholars, historians, archaeologists, tour operators, travel writers and hoteliers – 20 of them from USA, besides those from Sri Lanka, Poland, Nepal, Japan, Bhutan, Korea and UK are attending. About 100 scholars from within the country including Buddhist monks are also participating in the conference, organisers said.
The key objective of the mega event is to highlight the neglected Buddhist sites and treasures of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri, considered the 'Buddhist diamond triangle' of Odisha and to promote tourist flow to the areas, state Tourism and Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty said on the occasion.
He said 108 out of 324 Buddhist sites of the state have remains in the form of stupas, chaityas or monastic complexes.
19 Buddhist sites in the state have been excavated of which four have been explored extensively, he said.
There is a need to highlight the cultural heritage and natural beauty of the famous Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Ratnagiri, he added.