As Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India directly flew to Lumbini and announced that “I am honoured to be in Lumbini, to pay reverence at the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s birth,” a positive message has spread in the tourism sector of Nepal, which was reeling under the difficult situation of Covid – 19 pandemic. Modi’s announcement that he has come to the birth place of Lord Buddha, Lumbini, has for once and all put an end to the doubt, if any, that Buddha was born in Nepal around 2600 years ago, and this will have a significant contribution in promoting pilgrimage tourism of Nepal, remarked Bikram Pandey, tourism entrepreneur and goodwill ambassador for tourism of Lumbini Development Trust. Now all the Buddhist pilgrims around the world should get the message that they have to come to Lumbini first, where Buddha was born before going to Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar, and other important sites associated with Buddha’s life, he pointed out.
Modi has come to Nepal not only as the Prime Minister of India, but also as the leader and guide of 1.3 billion people India, remarked Pandey adding, PM Modi’s visit to Lumbini had added new dimension to Nepal’s religious tourism. After PM Modi visited Muktinath in North-West Nepal in May 2018, the pilgrimage site has become centre for attraction among India visitors, he recalled and added Nepal and India both can benefit if we work together in developing a combined package involving the important sites associated with Buddha’s life. The newly constructed Gautam Buddha International Airport 20 km distance from Lumbini, will help further boost religious tourism in Nepal, he pointed out.