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article imageWorld Bank team to fund redevelopment of Buddhist site Sarnath

By Sravanth Verma     Mar 5, 2015 in Travel
Varanasi - Sarnath in India, the site of Gautama the Buddha's first sermon, is set to receive a large sum of funds from the World Bank to finance redevelopment.
Sarnath is an important seat of Buddhist pilgrimage and also a major tourism spot in India. The World Bank funding will finance upgrading and developing the township and nearby villages, promotion of handicrafts, and development of Sarnath as a tourist and cultural hub.
The site was visited in February 2015 by a World Bank team, who checked living conditions of the villagers, the state of various monuments in the site, a nearby zoo, and the traffic situation in the locality.
One of the members of the visiting team Geetanjali said, "The team has come to review the area and explore the possibilities of integrating other areas to generate income for the locals. The major priority is to chalk out a development plan by inspecting the main areas."
Sarnath is located the confluence of the Ganga and the Gomti rivers, a few kilometers from Varanasi, one of the main sites of pilgrimage in the Hindu way of life. Both sites are located in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Sarnath is in focus because of the large number of Buddhists and foreign nationals who visit the pace. It is also of special significance to Buddhists because it marks the place where the Buddha gave his first sermon, and found his first followers.
In January 2015, Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay had also visited the place on the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is also a sacred place for Hindus, because a Shiva temple is situated here, and for Jains as Shreyamshanath, the eleventh Trithankara, was born here.
Government sources said the redevelopment plan was part of a $300 million USD World Bank project that would also fund development across the region, to develop the destination into a world-class tourist spot, and help locals augment their income through tourism-related opportunities.
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