Open Learning Buddhist Studies
Bodhgaya News
Founded: March 15 2002
Last updated: July 26, 2002
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World Heritage Site Stories

Proposal to Demolish buildings over 33ft in 1 KM radius of Temple
Melbourne, 26 July. There is an article in the hclinfinet website which states that it was a proposal of the Bihar Government to demolish buildings over 33ft in height in a radius of one km from the Mahabodhi temple in order to help in the efforts to get the temple listed as a world heritage monument. In the article of the 8th of January which is a report by a journalist called Imran Khan in Patna about the efforts being made to get the Mahabodhi temple onto the World Heritage list which says that in this regard that in the contacts between the state government and UNESCO. "Official sources said the information sought by Unesco include details about the ownership and management of the temple, a detailed map of the shrine and its adjoining areas, status of the buffer zone to preserve the monument and nearby surroundings, and future development plans. In view of Unesco’s interest, the state government has proposed to demolish all buildings more than 33 feet high within a 1 km radius of the temple." Link to story

UNESCO activities in South Asia
Melbourne, 26 July. There is an account of the various UNESCO activities in South Asia on its Delhi Office website. These main aims for its cultural programs include: "1) Reinforcing normative action in the field of culture with emphasis on the promotion of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and meeting new demands in the area of standard-setting, in particular concerning the underwater and the intangible cultural heritage; 2) Protecting cultural diversity and promoting cultural pluralism and intercultural dialogue; 3) Strengthening links between culture and development." It is interesting in this regard to see how these intentions will be put into practice in Bodhgaya. link to page

Mahabodhi Temple "Awaiting World Recognition" Melbourne, 23 July. There is an article on the-South-Asian website for May 2002 which includes some discussion of the nature of the buffer zone proposed at that time. The article includes this note.
"Fortunately for the conservationists this is one monument which has been spared the anarchy in present-day Rabri Devi governed Bihar. It is protected and enclosed by an outer boundary wall of a height varying between 10 and 15 feet. Beyond it, the Bodhgaya Temple Advisory Board has declared an area of one kilometre radius from the boundary wall of the temple to be a protected buffer zone wherein no encroachments or illegal structures will be allowed."
This clearly invites the question of how much of the town buildings are technically encroachments or illegal structures? Take the instance of the Congress Party Office which was declared an illegal structure, or any of the buildings which are technically on PWD land, including many in the old market area. What is to happen to such structures within the buffer zone? Link to article

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Unesco Listing

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.