Cultural connections: Nepal and India highlight importance of religious circuits to promote cultural ties, tourism promotion

While launching the book "Religious Circuits between Nepal and India" in the capital on Monday, both sides highlighted the importance of cultural connections that exist between the two countries for centuries.

From left, Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, NICCI President Shreejana Rana, Indian ambassador to Nepal Naveen Srivastava and Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati launching the book in Kathmandu.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Scholars as well as minister and diplomat from Nepal and India have stressed on the need of further enhancing cultural and religious ties between the two countries for bilateral tourism promotion and strengthening the people-to-people ties. While launching the book Religious Circuits between Nepal and India in the capital on Monday, both sides highlighted the importance of cultural connections that exist between the two countries for centuries.

In the book launch program organized by Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) and Indian embassy to Nepal, Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati said that Nepal-India relations date back to the times of ancient rishis and sages. “Words fail to describe the age-old ties dating back to the times of rishis between Nepal and India,” said the minister while addressing the book launch event. “People can travel to each other’s country without visas and passports. This makes Nepal-India relations unique in the world.” He further shared the hope that the book will contribute to enhancing tourism between the two countries. “I hope the book will raise curiosity among religious tourists of two countries and help promote and develop religious and cultural sites of India and Nepal,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Navin Srivastava, the Indian ambassador to Nepal, lauded the initiative of NICCI to come up with such a book. “Various religious circuits reflect our common religion and cultural heritage,” he said. “The book which is a joint contribution from scholars from Nepal and India will contribute to enhancing people-to-people ties and tourism promotion.” On the occasion he also shared the hope that Nepal will soon send proposal for Ramayana circuit. “I hope Nepal government will send Ramayana circuit proposal to India,” he said.

The book deals with five religious circuits–Shiva-Shakti Circuit,  Mahabharat Circuit,  Ramayan Circuit,  Buddhist Circuits and   Sikh Circuit.

Shreejana Rana, President of Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NICCI), highlighted the importance of religious and cultural ties between Nepal and India. “Nepal and India share a heritage and relationship that goes back for thousands of years. It remains as true and steadfast as it did at the time of the many stories recounted in this book,” Rana said. “It continues to do so today, and it will continue to do so in the days and years to come.”

She said that NICCI brought out the book in order to showcase incredible religious sites and further promote bilateral tourism between Nepal and India. “It is not enough to say ‘come visit our countries’. We must show ‘why’. This book does that,” she said.  “This book is not only a book to encourage religious tourism between our two nations but it is also a record of the richness and depth of our religious heritage, which spans the Sub Continent and many parts of South-East Asia.”

According to Rana,the book entitled Religious and Spiritual Circuits Nepal and India showcases the immense richness of the religious sites found in Nepal and India, and their great significance to three of the world’s major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. “It draws you in with the myths, legends and facts associated with each place,” she said.

The book features articles from Nepali and Indian scholars such as Neera Misra, Dr Ramesh Dhungel, Dr Basudev Krishna Sashtri, Ramesh Bhattrai Dr Hari Prasad Adhikari, Acharya Pandit, Tek Narayan Upadhaya, Gyani Gurubaksh Singh, Rajinder Singh Chadha among others.

Nepali and Indian scholars also shared their reflections about the religious circuits.