Modi to inaugurate Kushinagar International Airport on Wednesday
New Delhi, October 18, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Wednesday inaugurate the Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh that is expected to be a major boon for international Buddhist pilgrims.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia are amongst those who will also be present at the function.
"The international airport will get operational this week to ease cumbersome travel of earlier times and facilitate the air travel requirements of international Buddhist pilgrims in India," an official press release said.
The inaugural flight will land at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka carrying 125 dignitaries and Buddhist monks, highlighting the convenience to Buddhists across the world to visit the Mahaparinirvana Sthal of Lord Buddha.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the Kushinagar airport with a new terminal building spread across 3,600 sq metres at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore in association with the Uttar Pradesh government in view of the growing numbers of domestic and international visitors and pilgrims.
The new terminal is equipped to handle 300 passengers during peak hours.
Kushinagar is an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where Lord Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. It is also the centre point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya.
"The airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of Buddhist theme based circuit. Journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa and Vaishali of Buddhist circuit will be covered in lesser time," the release said.
The release said the airport, located about 50 km east of Gorakhpur, will provide connectivity to various Buddhist sites in the region.
"Direct aviation connectivity with South Asian countries will make it easier for tourists arriving from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, etc., to reach Kushinagar and experience the rich heritage of the region. Tourism inflow is expected to rise by upto 20% with inauguration of the flight," it said.
"The development of the airport at Kushinagar will help in developing Kushinagar as one of the four principal places of Buddhist Pilgrimage. It will help to impart Kushinagar the pre-eminence it deserves as part of the Buddhist Circuit. Further, it will lead to development of India as the original Buddhist centre and spread of principles of Buddhism across the world.
"The airport will serve a population of more than two crore, since the airport has a hinterland of around 10-15 districts and will be a great support for large migrant population of eastern Uttar Pradesh and western/northern part of Bihar. This will also boost the opportunities for export of horticultural products like bananas, strawberries and mushrooms," the release added.