The connection of Bihar with Buddhism and Lord Buddha is indeed very deep as the States boasts of several pilgrimage and religious centres associated with the religion and its founder.
To deepen and strengthen this link, the State intends to install Lord Buddha’s statue at the top of the Dungeshwari hill located at Pragbodhi. The hill is situated 12 kilometres northeast of Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya.
This hill occupies an important and crucial phase of Lord Buddha’s life as it is believed that he meditated here for six years before moving to Bodh Gaya. Among the seven Buddhist Stupas on the hill, five can still be seen.
On the way to the top, almost at the half-way mark there are caves called Mahakaala and this where Lord Buddha meditated for six long years before he achieved enlightenment. That is the reason this area is called Pragbodhi. Where he meditated in the cave, there is an image of his, which portrays an emaciated look due to fasting and meditation for years.
In order to mark this major incident in Lord Buddha’s life, the State tourism is planning to place a statue of the Lord on the top of the hill. Besides, the area will be developed in order to facilitate the visit of tourists.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times Narayan Prasad, the Bihar Tourism Minister said: "While Lord Buddha's site of enlightenment has already achieved UNESCO status, there’s the plan to develop his site of meditation. Pragbodhi is now gaining popularity and tourists, especially those from foreign countries make it a point to see Pragbodhi and the Mahakala cave at Dungeshwari hill. But the place needs tourist facilities.” He was addressing a meeting held last week at Gaya to review projects related to tourism in Gaya and Bodh Gaya.
The Minister also added that the commercial wing of the State tourism, the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC), was told to develop facilities of international standards at Pragbodhi, considering that it is favourite destination of foreign tourists. “They have also been directed to finish the pending works...before the onset of tourism season in October,” he said.
The Buddha statue, the Minister added, will increase an added tourist attraction. A ropeway too has been planned for this hill. Prasad remarked: “At present, visitors need to walk to the hilltop. Ropeway will make the trip to the hilltop easier and convenient.”