Islamabad-The celebrations of three-day `Vesak Mela’ will begin here today (Monday) with participation of Buddhists monks from Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

It is an annual feature for Pakistan to host Vesak Mela (festival), which marks the celebrations of birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.

The arrangements for `Vesak Mela’ have been finalized by National History and Literary Heritage (NH&LH) Division.

Buddhists monks as well as a number of visitors from Sri Lanka and Bhutan reached Pakistan on Sunday to attend `Vesak Mela’.

Joint Secretary NH&LH Division along with Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan, Jayanath C.P. Lokuketagodage received the delegations.

The opening ceremony of the festival will be held today (Monday) at a local hotel, which will be attended by Secretary NH&LH Division Engineer Aamir Hasan, Joint Secretary Syed Junaid Ikhlaq and other officials.

After the opening ceremony, the Buddhist delegations will be taken to the historical Buddhist spot of Taxila. The officials of NH&LH Division will accompany the delegations and brief them about the historical significance of the place.

The Buddhist delegations will be taken to another historical place of  Takht Bai tomorrow (Tuesday). Buddhist monks will perform their religious rituals at the sacred places.

Talking to this agency, the Secretary NH&LH Division said the division had finalised all the arrangements to facilitate Buddhist monks visiting their sacred places to perform religious rituals.

He said Pakistan was signatory to UNESCO’s declaration on cultural diversity and committed to promote diversity of cultures. Pakistan was taking steps to attract Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka and other parts

of Asia, he added.

This was for the first time that a delegation from Bhutan would also be the part of Vesak Mela, he said.

The Vesak day is celebrated to commemorate events of significance to  the Buddhist of all traditions: the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. 

The festival is being observed across the globe by the followers of Buddhism. The Vesak festival, also known as Buddha Purnima (full moon) and Buddha Day, is a holiday observed traditionally on different days in  all Buddhist countries of Asia and other parts of the world.