Nagpur: Dhammachakra Pravartan day was celebrated in a grand manner in Nagpur yesterday. 60 years ago, on this date, late great Dalit leader Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism at the historic Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended the diamond jubilee of the historic event.
On the occasion of dhamma chakra pravartan diwas , Dr. Babasaheb ambedkar smarak samiti nagpur had organised 60th dhamma chakra pravartan din celebrations. Many enthusiasts and Ambedkar followers were seen arriving in groups from not just all over the state, but all over the country.
Over the years, this ‘celebration’ of Budhism in Nagpur has attracted world wide attention. It is being seen as one of the most significant Budhist gatherings internationally and Budhist priests from Thailand, Japan etc. also travel to India for it.
This is the reason this day has been awarded Special International Tourism event by the Government and infrastructure created to handle rush of tourists apart from Neo Budhists who come here on ‘pilgrimage’.
The preparations were carried out on a grand scale as this was Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary year.
Central Railway organizes special super fast trains to bring to Nagpur devotees from all over the country.
The Stupa which was inaugurated by the President of India in 2001 was built later to commemorate this day.
It comprises a large two storied hemispherical buildings with gates resembling a Sanchi gate. Five thousand monks can stay in each storey The design of the stupa at Deekshabhoomi is based on the architecture of the world famous stupa of Sanchi But unlike the stupa of Sanchi, Deekshabhoomi stupa is completely hollow inside making it the largest hollow stupa among all Buddhist stupas in the world. The inner circular hall is spread across 4000 square feet with granite, marble and Dholpur sandstone used in its construction.
On the ground floor, there is a 211 x 211 feet large square hall. At the center of this hall, an image of Buddha is placed. This image was donated to Deekshabhoomi by Thai students studying at Nagpur University. There is a library and a photo exhibition of the events in the lives of Gautama Buddha and Dr. Ambedkar.
Above the hall, there is a hollow dome. This dome is surrounded by a veranda. On all four sides, fountains are placed. Above the dome, there is a small slab and a little decorative umbrella. The stupa has doors facing four directions. The doors open in large arcs, which are decorated with Ashok Chakras, and statues of horses, elephants, and lions.
Around the stupa, there is a garden that is maintained by the Nagpur Improvement Trust. Statues of Dr. Ambedkar and images of Gautama Buddha are in front of the stupa.
Vihar and the Bodhi Tree
In front of the stupa, on the right hand side, there is a Buddha Vihara with a bronze image of lord Buddha.
Besides the Vihara, there is the Bodhi Tree: a sacred fig tree. This Bodhi Tree was planted at Deekshabhoomi from three branches of the Bodhi Tree at Anuradhapurain Sri Lanka. Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan brought these branches from Sri Lanka as a memorial of Buddha’s enlightenment.
This year, several scaffolds have been erected across the premises of Deekshabhoomi.
A stage resembling a dome was built, where there was provision for seating about 40,000 people.
Many big names including Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, union agriculture minister Radhamohan singh and others attended the programme.
The event was presided over by Bhadant Arya Nagarjun Surai Sasai, president of the Param Pujya Dr Ambedkar Smarak Samiti.