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The 2nd edition of the International Buddhist Conference will be held in Gujarat between September 17-23 with an aim to promote the state as an important place in the global Buddhist circuit, organisers said today. Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Cambodian Prince Thanaro Norodom will be among the chief guests for the inaugural session, which will be held at Gandhinagar. Gujarat Governor O P Kohli will be present for the inaugural session. The week-long conference, being organised by the Sangha Kaya Foundation, will see participation from around 1,000 international delegates, around 200 Buddhist monks and around 6,000 followers of Buddhism. "The conference aims to establish the long elapsed linkage between Gujarat and Buddhism.
Recently-unveiled Buddhist heritage sites of Gujarat clearly speaks of the profound Buddhist and Asokan legacy here," said president of Sangha Kaya Foundation, Bhante Prashil Gautam. "If accurately exhibited along with the international Buddhist community, they will enhance the uncharted cultural and spiritual tourism in Gujarat," he added. The delegates along with the group of Buddhist monks will visit different places across Gujarat which are closely associated with Buddhism, like Devni Mori in Aravalli district where a 2,000 years old monastery is submerged in Mesarvo dam; Vadnagar in Mehsana, where Buddhist monastery was found;Khambhalida caves near Rajkot; and Khapra Kodiya caves in Junagadh. The group will then visit Vadodara where they will hold programmes at Sankalp Bhoomi, where the architect of Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar, had spent some time in 1917 before embarking on his fight against untouchability.