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27Dharamshala: After wrapping up his 15 day tour of the US, Tibet’s exiled leader the Dalai Lama, flew to Patna, capital of the Indian state of Bihar, on Wednesday to inaugurate the highly anticipated Buddha Smiriti Park.

Upon arriving at the Patna airport, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was welcomed by Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and he expressed his enthusiasm to take part in the ceremony.

“I am very happy to come here to participate on the consecration of this temple at a holy place. And the Chief Minister really tends to Buddha dharma (religion), one of the important India’s tradition and particularly the Sanskrit tradition. So he is very keen to revive, not necessarily Buddhist religion, and rather Buddhist concept and Buddhist signs. So I’m very very happy to come here," said the Dalai Lama to waiting reporters.

His Holiness has inaugurated the Buddha Smiriti Park today, to mark the occasion of Buddha Purnima or the full moon day of Saka Dawa. This is a special day which commemorates Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana. The memorial park is dedicated the Lord Buddha to commemorate his 2,554th birth anniversary, covers 22 acres and cost approximately Rs 125 crore to create.

The ceremony was attended by delegates from Buddhist countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan and Mynanmar, who will bring presents of holy relics, urns and other gifts.

Chief Minister Nitish met with Tibetan leader at His Holiness’s private residence in Dharamshala in February of this year, where he formally invited His Holiness to visit Patna to inaugurate  Buddha Smiriti Park.

After the inauguration ceremony, His Holiness was welcomed back to his home in Dharamshala, where he has been living in exile over the past 50 years.

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