Punya wrote:You have to assume that. From a purely commercial point of view they are sitting on a huge asset attracting many tourists but as far as I could see they're doing very little to capitalise on it to the benefit of the residents of Bihar. For all that, it's still an awesome place.
That's just it. If the foreign monasteries ran the place, it would be spotless and all the locals would be readily employed keeping the place tidy and serene looking. Every street in that side of town would be paved and free of litter. There would be potted plants, statues and rest places all over the place. There would be clean and sanitary eateries.
However, the local government is clearly incompetent like much of the rest of India's government. They can't even manage to keep the important thoroughfares in town in decent shape.
Even Mahabodhi Temple can be a bit dumpy looking for lack of housekeeping. In one corner of the complex I spotted a large pile of damp cardboard boxes. There are also old metal poles tucked away behind one of the platforms, but you can still see it. They don't wash the marble enough given the amount of bird droppings you see collecting on it throughout the day.
They have tons of money and could easily get locals to wash it continually. During the tourist season (winter) they seem to do a better job. However, you can't wear your shoes inside, so you need to dodge all the bird droppings unless you want it on your bare feet.
There's a lot of corruption in Bodhgaya actually, like the Bodhi Tree getting branches hacked off and sold:http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 57,0,0,1,0
There is so much money going into the place and a lot of the artwork inside is likewise priceless. Things go missing apparently.
In any case, I don't anticipate things will change much. There is so much potential there to benefit the local economy, but the government and the local businessmen as well are just inept. It is a typical attitude you find all around India where long-term planning is lacking.
The real shame is that Buddhists have to tolerate it because Mahabodhi Temple belongs to the government and is run by a committee not entirely Buddhist.