Patna, Bihar, India, 4 January 2013 - On arrival in the ancient Indian city of Patna yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was warmly welcomed at the airport by the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He was then driven a short distance to the State Guest House, where he retired for the night.
Patna, capital of modern Bihar state, is regarded as one of the longest inhabited places in the world. It first gained significance when the Magadhan King, Ajatashatru, a contemporary of the Buddha, shifted his capital here from Rajgir. Two centuries later, the great Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka, who in his maturity embraced and fostered Buddhism and who became the first ruler of a largely united India, made his capital here. The present government of Bihar, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has taken an active interest in Patna’s and Bihar’s Buddhist heritage and in May 2010 invited His Holiness to inaugurate the Buddha Smirti Park.
|HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Chief Minister's residence in Patna, Bihar, India, on January 4, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL|
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessing a Bodhi tree planted at Chief Minister Nistish Kumar's residence in Bihar, India, on January 4, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL|
|HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking with members of the press in Bihar, India, on January 4, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL|
|HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama joining in prayer before the new Buddha statue in Buddha Smriti Park in Patna, Bihar, India, on January 4, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL|