A 111-strong entourage led by Minister of Youth Affairs – Namal Rajapaksa had left in the flight early today (20) morning.
The entourage included 95 Buddhist monks and also carried the sacred Kapilavastu relics of the Waskaduwa Rajaguru Sri Subhuti Maha Viharaya which will be displayed in several Indian cities, including Kushinagar and Sarnath.
In addition to minister Rajapaksa, several MPs including State ministers D.V. Chanaka and Sisira Jayakody as well as SriLankan airlines Chairman – Ashok Pathirage had also been in the entourage.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the International Airport in Kushinagar today coinciding with the sacred Vap Poya Day.
Kushinagar, where the Maha Parinirvana of Buddha took place, is a holy site to Buddhists worldwide. on Sep. 26, 2020, the Indian PM had announced during the Virtual Bilateral Summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart that the first international flight to Kushinagar will be for a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims.