In a bid to develop Buddhist tourist circuit in the region, Tourism Department on Saturday organised a series of events at ancient Buddhist Ambaran, Akhnoor on Buddha Purnima.
The ancient Buddhist site was discovered during excavations by Srinagar Circle of Archaeological Survey of India. However, it remained in shambles due to lack of the state and central governments.
It was for the first time, Tourism Department has organised a special event at Ambaran to attract both domestic as well as international tourists.
“Department is making every effort to promote State’s historical places which have tourism potential. Besides this, in view of upcoming Amarnath Yatra target would be to divert people to local Jammu destinations,” said Director Tourism, Om Prakash Bhagat.
“Ambaran has potential and will promote it at international level amid growing Buddhist tourism,” he added.
As per department’s spokesperson, over 200 people including students of Buddhist faith, who originally hailing from flung areas like Paddar- Kishtwar, Zanskar-Kargil and Leh-Ladakh, residing in winter capital participated in the celebrations with locals.
The team of Tourism Department started a heritage walk to Ambaran, locally known as ‘Pambaran, which culminated at historical Jio Pota Ghat.
The importance of Ambaran lies in the fact that it is the earliest recorded Buddhist site in the entire region of Jammu. The site has already been visited by his holiness the Dalai Lama on November 9, 2011 while starting point at Bank of Chenab River where under a tree; coronation of Raja Gulab Singh was performed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh on 17th June, 1822.
Buddhist students in colourful traditional dresses participated in 2 kilometers long walk along with locals chanting religious hymns.
The site was decorated with colourful Buddhist prayer flags were the participants offered prayers along with fruits, flowers, lamps etc. Traditional folk cultural programme was also organised to mark the celebrations.
Participants were also made aware of historic details about the site by Jai Karan Singh Assistant Archaeologist from Archaeology Survey of India, Srinagar Circle.
During the walk participants were also made aware about the historical and cultural importance of monuments like Jio Pota Temple and other landmark monuments like Pandav Gufa, Gurudwara Tapo Asthan Sant Baba Sunder Singh Ji Alibegh, Parshuram Temple etc. by KP Singh. Ansuya Jamwal Deputy Director Tourism, Jammu was also presented on the occasion.