Indo-ASEAN relations get a big boost as Golden Pagoda in Namsai gets precious Buddha relic
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.
The Buddha relic was presented to the Kongmu Kham (Golden Pagoda) in the Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh by Somdet Phra Mahamuniwong, the Sangharaja of Thailand. The Holy Relic was received by the people of Namsai as thousands gathered to welcome the delegates from Thailand on Monday.
Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein received the relic from the airport at Mohanbari in Dibrugarh. The deputy chief minister and the Abbot of Golden Pagoda Ven. Vimalatissa Mahathero had earlier written to the Sangharaja for blessing the region.
A delegation from Golden Pagoda had earlier on October 19 received the relic from the Sangharaja in Bangkok. It has been brought by a 13-member Thai delegate team.
Sponsored by chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and patronized by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, the permanent enshrining of the Holy Relic at Kongmu Kham opens doors for a spiritual relationship between the people of the two countries. “People following Buddhism in eastern Arunachal share a strong spiritual connect with those residing in the South East Asian region. The gifting of the Relic by none other than the Sangharaja puts focus on the scenic Kongmu Kham. We believe that this will now lead to many people from the ASEAN visiting the Kongmu Kham,” said Chowna Mein, deputy chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh who was present on the occasion.
As the Arunachal 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 Kham is presenting itself as a beautiful location for spiritual tourism in the region. Besides the number of smaller temples and places of worships in the region, Kongmu Kham at Noi Chenam in Namsai district has emerged as one of the main attraction for visitors,” said Miss Guntalee Boonvorasset, noted Thai actress who was part of the Thai delegation, while adding that the place is now seeing film shoots and witnessing a flow of tourists and devotees.
Being a popular symbol of the Buddhist culture, Kongmu Kham can initiate international relations with South East Asian countries that follow Buddhism. “It will be a boost to the government’s Act East Policy as a robust people-to-people connect will ease policymaking and aid the government in its quest for better relations with the ASEAN,” a chief minister’s representative said.
With the relic enshrined permanently at Kongmu Kham, future flow of foreign devotees and monks will lead to the growth of the local economy. The Kongmu Kham boosts of an eco-tourism complex which was built at the cost of Rs 469.26 lakh aid from the union tourism ministry. It includes four special suits, eight executive suits (twin-sharing), two dormitories to accommodate 20 people each, a restaurant, multipurpose hall, an administrative block and flower garden.
The Sangharaja of Thailand holds the decision to donate such precious Buddha Relic and the decision to grant one to Kongmu Kham in Namsai is being seen as a great step forward for the people of the region.
Earlier, in 2013, sacred relics of the Buddha housed at the National Museum in New Delhi were temporarily moved out to Arunachal Pradesh for display at Kongmu Kham and other Buddhist monasteries in Tawang and Bomdila. The treasure trove was displayed for a week each at the three remote monasteries in Arunachal marking the importance of Kongmu Kham in the spiritual map of the region. This led to regular flow of tourists as the destination in eastern Arunachal became one of highly regarded devotional venue for other Buddhists from various countries.