Foreign Tourists visiting Bodh Gaya reduced by 60% in 2013

Patna:  The number of tourists visiting Bihar’s temple town of Bodh Gaya has hugely reduced after last year’s serial bomb blasts, an official said on Friday.

“The flow of tourists, particularly foreigners, decreased after blasts (in Bihar), specially in Bodh Gaya,” tourism department director Umashankar Prasad said.

Foreign tourists to Bodh Gaya, in Bihar’s Gaya district, declined by 100,000 in 2013 compared to 2012.

“More than 2.7 lakh foreign tourists visited Bodh Gaya in 2012, the number came down to 1.10 lakh in 2013,” Prasad said, adding: “It is a clear that the serial blasts hit the flow of tourists.”

Not many tourists visited the place even from the Buddhist countries during the peak season (December) in Bodh Gaya as special prayers, meditation and other attraction mark this time of year. “It was less crowded in December,” said the official.

Ten bombs had exploded at or in the vicinity of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya July 7 last year.

Sudama Kumar, a hotelier in Bodh Gaya, said: “Blasts hit the hotel economy here (Bodh Gaya) as many foreign tourists did not visit the place after the blasts.”

Serial blasts at this abode of peace hit national and international headlines for days. It also created a fear and threat of security among tourists.

Mahabodhi Temple – a Unesco World Heritage Site – is where the Buddha, born in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,550 years ago.