Built at a cost of Rs 260 crore and spread in 3600 sqm, the Kushinagar Airport will handle 300 passengers during peak hours

With an aim to facilitate the air travel requirements of Buddhist pilgrims from abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Wednesday inaugurate the Kushinagar International Airport, lying in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The inaugural flight will land at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka carrying 125 dignitaries and Buddhist Monks, highlighting the convenience to Buddhists across the world to visit the Mahaparinirvana Sthal of Lord Buddha, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.

Kushinagar is an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where Lord Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. It is also the central point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya.

The airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of Buddhist theme based circuit.

With this airport, journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa and Vaishali of the Buddhist circuit will be covered in less time.

Inauguration of the Kushinagar Airport will facilitate the pilgrims from across different parts of the world by providing seamless connectivity to various Buddhist sites in the region.

Direct aviation connectivity with South Asian countries will make it easier for tourists arriving from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore to reach Kushinagar and experience the rich heritage of the region.

According to the Ministry, tourism inflow is expected to rise by upto 20% with inauguration of the flight.

The Kushinagar International Airport will not only put the pilgrimage site on the global aviation map but also give a boost to economic development of the region.

It will have a multiplier effect on the hospitality industry by promoting hotel business, tourism agencies and restaurants, the Ministry said.

It will create employment for local people by opening the immense amount of opportunities in feeder transport services, local guide jobs, the Ministry added.

Local industry and products will get global recognition. It will promote cultural awareness and will also help to preserve local culture and traditions.

The development of the airport at Kushinagar will help in developing Kushinagar as one of the four principal places of Buddhist Pilgrimage, the Ministry maintained.

It will help to impart Kushinagar the pre-eminence it deserves as part of Buddhist Circuit. Further, it will lead to development of India as the original Buddhist center and spread of principles of Buddhism across the world, the Ministry added.