President Pratibha Patil Visits Luoyang

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President Pratibha Patil
Beijing, May 29: After spending three days interacting with the Chinese leadership here, visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil visited Luoyang City in China''s Henan Province, where she dedicated to the Chinese people an Indian-style Buddhist temple inspired by the Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh.

The Chinese proposed the idea for such a temple in 2003 when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Luoyang. Vajpayee accepted the idea as a means for promoting people-to-people contact.

The Indian style temple has been built next to the famous White Horse Temple known in Chinese as Baima Si, which Patil is scheduled to visit.

This (White Horse ) temple was built in the first century A.D. by the Chinese Emperor Ming in honour of two Indian monks -- She Moteng and Zhu Falan -- came back with the delegation from the West bringing with them a white horse carrying Buddhist sutras and Buddhist figures on its back. This was the first time that Buddhism appeared in China.

The temple took a year to be built and in that time the two Indian monks translated the Buddhist sutras in the temple into Chinese. Their work attracted many monks and the temple became a center for Buddhist activity in China.

It is for this reason that the temple is honored as the ''Founder''s Home'' and the ''Cradle of Buddhism in China''.

The temple is located about seven miles away from the city of Louyang, is covered with green ancient trees and is both solemn and tranquil.

To the east and west of the gate are the tombs of She Moteng and Zhu Falan. These tombs are one of the six most famous sights in the temple. In the east corner stands a tablet pavilion. The Chinese characters written on the tablet are the work of a Chinese calligrapher abbot Shamen Wencai, designed during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-368).

They are written in his familiarly free and easy style and describe the history of the temple.

The temple boasts great antique architecture which has remained intact for over 1,900 years. The Hall of Heavenly Kings, Hall of the Great Buddha, Hall of Mahavira, Hall of Guidance and the Cool and Clear Terrace appear in proper order in the temple, as they were when it was first built.

During her four-hour stay in Luoyang city, Patil also met the Governor of Henan Province, Guo Gengmao. She then emplaned for Shanghai.

In Shanghai, she will address the Indian community and visit the Indian and Chinese pavilions at the Shanghai Expo.

Patil will spend three days in Shanghai before returning to New Delhi on Monday evening.

ANI

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