Two senior BJP leaders on Thursday visited Indian Buddhist monk Kumarajiva's temple in China's Gansu province as part of a 11,050 km journey to connect with places traversed by him in the 4th century AD to spread Buddhism in the country.
Tarun Vijay and Tejasvi Surya visited the Kumarajiva Temple at Wuwei and offered prayers.
It is the most important Buddhist temple connected with the life and works of Kumarajiva, who lived for 17 years in Wuwei, creating some of the highly revered sutras, Vijay said in a statement.
They presented the sacred soil from Sarnath and Ganga Jal from Varanasi to the priest of the temple, Dao Rui, who received them in the main sanctum sanatorium with Buddhist prayers, Vijay said.
These holy offerings from India will be kept in the temple as a sacred gift from India, Dao said.
In return, the priest presented Buddhist scriptures translated by Kumarajiva, which Vijay and Surya said will be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dao said this was the first time any Indian delegation has visited the temple pursuing Kumarajiva.
Kumarajiva left a lasting influence on the Chinese society and culture, he said.
Vijay, a former BJP MP and Surya who is currently an MP from Bangalore South began their Kumarajiva Sutra Yatra on November 12 at the White Horse Pagoda, where Kumarajiva''s first arrival is recorded.
The pagoda commemorates Kumarajiva''s white horse which believed to have carried Buddhist scriptures from India to Dunhuang in China in the 4th century AD.
"This is the first historic Yatra undertaken by any Indian in the last many centuries reviving the memories of a great Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism and enriched China," Vijay said.
He said he and Surya will visit Xian where Kumarajiva wrote some of his famous treaties and move on to Beijing to participate in a Kumarajiva seminar.