Devni Mori was in ancient times an important Buddhist destination in Gujarat, dating back to the 3rd-4th century AD. In more recent times, the findings of remains of a stupa, a chaitya and a vihara of a Buddhist Monastery have corroborated this with the excavations conducted by archaeologist S N Chaudhary in 1959. The relics found here are now kept in M S University, Vadodara.
To retrieved the lost importance of this great Buddhist site and holy place, then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi conceived the idea of building a grand vihara, which would be a significant destination for followers of Buddhism, tourists and scholars of theosophy, religious art and architecture.
An MoU was signed to this effect between the Gujarat Tourism Department and the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). Architects started shaping this project from 2011. Presentations of the designs were made in front of His Holiness Dalai Lama, Mahanayakas of Sri Lanka and, recently, in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 417 Buddhist delegates from all over the world. Architect Ojas Hirani has developed two options for the same.
The first emphasises Buddhist symbols like Lotus, Dharmachakra, Eight Cardinal directions and envisages one of the biggest stupas of the world (108 metres), which will contain the relics of the Buddha. The second option emphasises the life of the Buddha. A 108-metre high sitting Buddha statue will have ramps going upwards, on which the life of the Buddha will be depicted.
To be created in the lap of the nature, the iconic statue of the world’s tallest sitting Buddha is being proposed with unique idea of a Shesh Naga behind the statue. The Mukh Darshan Path, in the form of connecting bridges, emphasises the central statue and enhances the grandeur of the structure.
The four spires create an axis, giving a sense of centralisation to the Statue. The relics of Buddha will be kept on top of the structure which will be the apex point of the structure. The Tourism Department of Gujarat has now taken this project on a fast track mode as the Prime Minister has indicated that the project should be completed in the coming six to seven years.
The Tourism Department and the International Buddhist Confederation has accordingly planned all the future activities for easy implementation and fast completion.