Luoyang, May 29: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who is on a six day visit to China, today dedicated the Indian-style Buddhist temple in the White Horse Temple complex to the people of China in order to strengthen the existing bilateral relationship.
After spending three days interacting with the Chinese leadership, President Patil visited Luoyang City in China's Henan Province and the temple inspired by the Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh to Chinese people.
The temple is dedicated to two Indian monks - Ksahyapamatanga and Dharmaratna-who travelled on horseback to China, carrying with them religious texts and an image of the Buddha.
President Patil was welcomed by Buddhist monks in yellow robes, as she entered the temple premises.
"The Indian-style Buddhist Temple is a gift from the people of India to a sister civilization - one with which we share so many valuable associations and memories of interaction," she said in her speech.
"It is particularly appropriate that this inauguration takes place during the 60th Anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China," President Patil added.
Luoyang is widely considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. The White Horse Temple, being one of the first Buddhist Temples in China, has been a cultural and spiritual centre for centuries.
"Historically, it has the unique distinction of symbolizing an inter-mingling of Indian and Chinese cultures. As the resting place of two great cultural ambassadors from India, the monk-scholars Kashyapamatanga and Dharmaratna, it is a reminder of how our civilizations enriched each other," President Patil said.
She said that contact between India and China, in the field of civilization, dates back several millennia and Indian monks have contributed significantly to Buddhism in China.
"Equally remarkable was the role played by Chinese travellers and scholars such as Fa Xian, Xuan Zang and Yi Jing, whose writings not only enriched Chinese literature, but also proved to be a remarkable source of understanding of India's own ancient history," President Patil added.
The temple has a dome that 63 feet high and 80 feet in diameter and has a 16-feet tall statue of Buddha in a preaching position. Indian officials say it is modelled on lines of the Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh.
Patil is on a six-day visit to China. The visit ends May 31. By Praful Kumar Singh