<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The New Year will witness a sea of Buddhist monks and devotees at Bihar’s Bodh Gaya, where the 34th Kalachakra Puja is scheduled to be held from January 3 to 14. The Dalai Lama, who will preside over the ceremonies, is scheduled to reach Bihar, by the end of this month. “Kalachakra is one of the major religious festivals of Buddhists, and the preparations commenced almost four months in advance,” organising press officer Jamphel Shonu.Bodh Gaya, one of the most popular pilgrimage and tourist spots of Bihar which is home to the sacred Mahabodhi tree and temple, is set to host about two lakh national and international devotees, mostly Buddhists from Tibet, US and Europe, for the ceremonies.A major part of the preparation was construction of tent cities for accommodation of the visiting devotees and tourists, which is almost in its final phase. “We have also talked to the local district administration for public facilities and are getting all help,” he said. The construction of a mega-kitchen that can cook food for about one lakh persons every day is also underway.Several events such as prayer services, teachings, ritual dances and preliminary initiations are lined up from January 3, however, the main initiation ceremonies will be held between January 12 and 14. On the concluding day, there will be prayers for long life empowerment for the public and long life offering ceremony for the Dalai Lama.Strict security bandobast will be in place during the Kalachakra puja in the wake of 2013 Bodh Gaya serial blasts as well as the visit of the Dalai Lama, other dignitaries and lakhs of devotees and tourists. “Our political leader has already talked to the cops, who have assured us of taking foolproof safety measures,” the press officer said.As a number of tourists will be foreigners, the organising committee has also been in talks with the officials of the finance ministry to facilitate cash flow for devotees. “We have been assured that about 40-50 ATMs will be installed at the tent cities to avoid any cash crunch,” Shonu said.The Kalachakra Puja was earlier organised in Bodh Gaya in 2012 and 2003, and was thronged by about two lakh devotees on both occasions. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has instructed officials to leave no stone unturned for making the arrangements.
See original –