Buddha Mahotsava begins amidst fanfare in Arunachal

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Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), Nov 23 (UNI) Chilly winter could not deter visitors from various parts of the country and abroad to throng Tawang, the picturesque town in Arunachal Pradesh, where the seventh Buddha Mahotsava is being held.

Union Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh declared the Mahotsava open today.

Religious processions, chanting of mangalacharan (prayers) for global peace, tribal folk dances and songs, local sports, ethnic cuisines trekking and adventure sports besides cultural programmes would be some of the highlights of the three-day tourism extravaganza.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks took part in ''Serbang and Choeskhar'', a religious procession followed by chanting of hymns.

Other features of the festival would include heritage show on tribes, costumes, jewellery and hairdo, flower and fireworks' shows and exhibitions. The festival being celebrated every year since 2001 is aimed at exposing the tourism potentials of the state besides bringing all tribes of the state together. It would serve as an ideal platform for showcasing the splendor of the region with respect to culture, practices, crafts and art.

''Through this festival we want to address myths and attempt to change the stereotype notions about the region. This will be a platform for cultural exchange and to generate youth participation in all activities and consequently kick- start a movement for tourism development of the state,'' commented Yalik Jerang, a government official.

''Tawang is ready to welcome the world,'' commented Mr. Joe, an American tourist.

UNI

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