Buddhist shrine a world heritage site


BODHGAYA (India): Buddhism's holiest shrine was formally dedicated as a world heritage site yesterday, with Indian officials saying it would one day rival the Vatican or Mecca. 

Officials from India's tourism ministry and the Unesco, which declared the Mahaboddhi Temple a world heritage site in June 2002, sponsored the dedication, attended by Buddhist monks from around the world. 

The Mahabodhi temple is the holiest of the four sacred sites related to Buddha, who was born in Lumbini, Nepal, and is said to have attained enlightenment in this eastern Indian pilgrimage town. 

Experts believe the Mahabodhi temple dates from the fifth or sixth century. – AFP

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