Gulbarga, Karnataka, India, 20 January 2009 (The Times of India) - Religious fervor and gaiety marked the unveiling and consecration of the gold-coated, 400-kg Buddha idol in a sitting posture, at the newly-constructed Buddha Vihar on the city's outskirts here on Monday.
Nobel laureate and spiritual leader Dalai Lama offered prayers and unveiled the statue inside the massive central hall. The huge crowd numbered around a lakh (100,000). The ceremony was telecast on digital screens amid thunderous applause and chants of "Buddham sharanam gacchami".
Many people from districts across the state, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra attended the event. Religious leaders chanted "Sarva dharma sammelan" before the consecration ceremony started. Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living led Dalai Lama into the massive structure built on 75 acres and assisted the latter in completing the ritual.
Dalai Lama said: "In this growing era of materialism, it is the responsibility of everybody in the world to revive the spirit of Buddhism that taught tolerance, ahimsa (non-violence), peace and truth. It is India that led the world in tolerance, peace and non-violence and once again, it is India that should revive the `ahimsa' philosophy to make this world a garden of peace and tolerance."