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The Mulagandha Kuty Vihara is the prime place of worship for the Buddhist congregation of the world. It was constructed by Bodhi-Sattva Anagarika Dharmapala, a Sri Lankan who is the founder of the Maha Bodhi Society of India in the Isipatana Deer Park of Sarnath, at the very site where Sakyamuni Buddha preached his first sermon. The Mulagandha Kuty Vihara is said to be where Buddha spent a rainy season while in Sarnath.
The construction of the vihara commenced in 1904 with the major contribution from one Mrs Mary Foster of Hanolulu, and was declared open on November 11, 1931. The vihara enshrines the relics of the Sakyamuni Buddha which were discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India during excavations at Nagarjuni Konda of Madras and Taxhila of Punjab, and was presented to the Maha Bodhi Society during the rule of Wellington, Viceroy and Governor General of India representing King George, Emperor of India.
The internationally famous wall paintings of the vihara was done by renowned Japanese artist Kosetsu Nosu by assignment from the imperial government of Japan on the request made by Shri Devapriya Valisinghe, General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India. The paintings were opened to the public in 1936. There were renovations taking place inside when I visited, hence the polythene covering the statues and wall paintings.
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