KATHMANDU, Sept 27: To mark the 38th World Tourism Day 2017, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Jeetendra Dev, unveiled world’s first spiritual sports and world’s first peace marathon – Lumbini Peace Marathon which is being held every year in Nepal on the full moon day of Falgu Poornima, the auspicious day when Siddhartha Gautam returned to his home country as an Enlightened Buddha. The event will be held in Lumbini on March 1, 2018.
The marathon is being organized by Buddhist Circuits.com in association with National Tourism Foundation and Adventure Sports Tourism Society (ASTS).
Speaking at the program, Minister Dev lauded the efforts of the private sector in promoting Buddhist heritage sites through sports. “I am hopeful that the marathon will become a popular tourism and sporting event in the country,” he added.
Concluding the unveiling ceremony of the Lumbini Peace Marathon booklet by the tourism minister, the concept man and script writer of the marathon event, Mr Bikram Pandey KAJI, said that today’s unveiling of this booklet is to mark the celebration of World Tourism Day by us tourism players in Nepal. “This unveiling event will go to the world as a Greeting and Gift of World Tourism Day celebration from the Nepali side to the rest of the world.
This spiritual sports peace marathon kick-starts from Kudan crisscrossing Buddhist heritage sites on life of Buddha and land of three Buddhas, of Gotihawa, Buddha Ganga (Ban Ganga) River, Kapilvastu Fort and Tilaurakot Palace, and then embarks on Mother Mayadevi Maternity Route to Niglihawa, Arorakot and Dohani, and concludes on the Mayadevi Temple Sacred Garden. The marathon will have three categories: Olympic Standard (42.195 kilometers), Half Marathon (21 kilometers), and Student Run (5/7 km).
The winner will receive a purse of Rs 100,000, while the first and second runners-up will become richer by Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively. The first prize has been named after Emperor Ashoka who confirmed that the present day Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha by erecting Ashokan Pillar. The second prize is dedicated to Chinese explorer Xuan Zang who visited Lumbini and Kaplivastu in the 7th Century and gave minute details of Lumbini and Kapilvastu Sakya Kingdom and Tilaurakot Palace in his travel account. It is because of his travel account that it could be possible to identify Kapivastu of Nepal as the real ancient Sakya Kingdom. Likewise, the third prize has been named after Former United Nations Secretary General Uthant who made a commitment in 1967 to develop Lumbini area as a sacred garden of haven. It is because of his contribution that we can see Lumbini Sacred Garden developed into the present form.
Commenting on Lumbini Peace Marathon event, Bikram Pandey KAJI of Buddhist Circuits.com, who conceived the event, said: “This event is our yet another effort to develop some new and innovative products for the Nepali tourism industry. It not only promotes Lumbini to the rest of the world, but also establishes Lumbini as the head start point in Buddhist Circuits map.”