We Nagpurians are proud of the magnificent monument ‘Deekshabhoomi,’ which has become the identification of Nagpur for many tourists worldwide. But, very few of us know that ‘Deekshabhoomi’ – the revered Buddhist pilgrimage centre – is the largest hollow stupa (Buddhist shrine) in the world.
When Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of Indian constitution, converted to Buddhism in Nagpur on October 14, 1956, more than six lakhs followers joined him and embraced Buddhism. The place, where he along with his followers, took the oath of Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and Five Percepts is the place where Deekshabhoomi stands today. Every year, millions of people from all over India and other parts of the world visit Nagpur on October 14 and Dhamma Chakkra Pravartan Diwas (Mass Conversion Ceremony Day) to celebrate Buddhism.
The construction of Deekshabhoomi started in 1978, but it took many years to complete it. On December 18, 2001, the 10th President of India – Late KR Narayanan, inaugurated Deekshabhoomi.
Deekshabhoomi, which is spread across four acres of land, was designed by Nagpur architect – Sheo Dan Mal Mokha. Mokha has also designed several other important buildings in the city i.e. Yeshwant Stadium, Panchsheel Theatre, Town Hall of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Guru Nanak auditorium at the Nagpur University and the building of Indian Medical Association, Nagpur.