India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the construction of the King Ashoka's Pillar of Dharma at the Rajaguru Sri Subuthi Temple in Sri Lanka's Wadduwa.
A spiritually elevated ceremony took place at the temple on Sunday, where the country's inaugural Ashoka Pillar was laid, according to an official release.
Reinforcement of the deep cultural connect! HC @santjha laid the Foundation Stone for the construction of King Ashoka's Pillar of Dharma at the sacred RajaGuru Sri Subuthi Waskaduwa Maha Viharaya. He also paid his respects at the sacred Kapilavastu Relics in the Temple. pic.twitter.com/HoxiXlhf1X— India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) January 28, 2024
The event marked a momentous occasion in the cultural and spiritual ties between India and Sri Lanka. Distinguished dignitaries graced the occasion.
Apart from Jha, the Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) Shartse Khensur Jangchup Choeden Rinpoche was also present at the ceremony.
The Chief Incumbent of the temple, Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Maha Nayaka Thero, delivered a speech at the event, setting the tone for the sacred event.
Following the stone-laying ceremony, the guests visited the shrine that houses the sacred Kapilavasthu relics and received blessings through traditional rituals, as per the release.
During the Anushasana, Waskaduwe Thero narrated the historical journey of the authentic relics, emphasising King Asoka's pivotal role in preserving Buddhist teachings.
In his address, High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha expressed sentiments about deep-rooted ties between India and Sri Lanka, commending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to strengthen bilateral relations. He highlighted a generous USD 15 million grant dedicated to promoting Buddhist ties.
Secretary General, IBC, Jungchup Choeden, blessed the occasion in the Tibetan language, while Dr. Damenda Porage expressed gratitude to King Asoka, pledging to establish nine pillars in each province as a tribute to his contributions to Buddhism, as per the release.
This ceremony symbolises a commitment to preserving and promoting Buddhism, with the rising pillars serving as bridges that connect the two nations in shared heritage and spiritual devotion. The event not only strengthens historical ties but also marks the first official ceremony attended by the newly appointed Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka.