Sri Lankans flock to Lumbini

Bhairahawa, April 27:

Number of foreign tourists visiting Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, has been increasing in past five years.

Among the South Asian tourists, number of tourists from Sri Lanka has been increasing steadily. Number of tourists coming to visit Lum-bini had decreased due to conflict some years back. The number of Buddhist devotees coming to visit Lumbini from Sri Lanka has started increasing since 2003.

According to the figures, the number of Sri Lankan Buddhists coming to visit Lum-bini was 2,657 in 2001, 2,453 in 2002, 8,673 in 2003, 12,217 in 2004 and 15,523 in 2005.

Out of a total 49,595 tourists visiting Lum-bini in 2006, 21,563 were Sri Lankan. Similarly, out of 71,053 in 2007, 30,375 were Lankans. As Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage, the numbers of Sri Lankan visiting Lumbini has seen a healthy rise in recent times, Sri Lankan Tour operator Hereth Dambadibha Bandana Charkika said.

“Out of 32,340 tourists during the current fiscal year, 10,800 are Sri Lankan tourists,” Keshav Cha-udhari, assistant at Information Centre of LDT said.