Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh addresses during Congress' Kissan Rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, on April 19, 2015.. Image Source: IANS

Shimla, March 14 : No funds have been sanctioned by the Centre to set up an international learning centre in Tabo in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh told the assembly on Tuesday.

The state Language, Art and Culture Department has not received any sanction from the government of India, he said in a written reply to a question by Congress member Ravi Thakur on the allocation of Rs 40 crore for the Indian Institute of Bauddh Darshan in Tabo.

Tabo is an ancient seat of Buddhist religion and culture in the picturesque Spiti Valley.

He said the entire project was conceived and funded by the Culture Ministry.

The department has applied to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for diversion of land under the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 for this institute.

"The case is under process. The construction will be started after obtaining this approval and completion of other necessary codal formalities," he added.

The state government had announced in 2014 that the proposed centre would be set up with central funding to help preserve and expand Buddhist studies.

Founded in 996 AD, Tabo, known for a more than 1,000-year-old cave Buddhist monastery, is located at an altitude of 3,050 metres and 375 km from Shimla. It is also called the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'.

Protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, Tabo is one of the largest monastic complexes in India, with several caves and contemporary structures.

It attracts thousands of scholars and researchers from all over the world. It is the second most visited tourist place in the Buddhist circuit in India after Bodh Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhism where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago.

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