Dai Loc Pagoda (the Sivali Vietnamese Theravada Trust), the first Theravada pagoda recognised by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) in India, was inaugurated in Varanasi city, Uttar Pradesh State, on December 6.

Addressing a crowd of Vietnamese and Indian officials and 10,000 Buddhist followers, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh expressed his hope that Dai Loc Pagoda will become a destination for Vietnamese pilgrims, thus helping strengthen friendship between the two countries’ peoples.

He also took this chance to thank Varanasi authorities for supporting the construction of this spiritual facility.

Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, President of the VBS’s Executive Council, said India is currently home to 13 pagodas built by Southeast Asian countries. Among four Vietnamese temples here, Dai Loc is the first to be recognised as a facility of the VBS.

Head monk of Dai Loc Pagoda Venerable Thich Tuong Quang said the temple will also accommodate Vietnamese students who study Buddhism courses in India, open Buddhist courses, and run charitable activities.

Covering 5,170 sq.m., Dai Loc Pagoda was built since 2009 at a cost of 1.3 million USD mostly donated by philanthropists and followers. Notably, it houses a 18m-tall and 700-tonne marble statue of Buddha giving sermon.-VNA