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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
India 'to build biggest Buddha'
Computer-generated image of the Kushinagar Buddha statue
Computer-generated image of the Kushinagar Buddha statue
The authorities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have confirmed plans to build the world's biggest statue of the Buddha.

The site will be the town of Kushinagar where Buddha died 25 centuries ago.

The bronze statue is planned to be more than 150m tall, double the height of the 8th Century Tang dynasty Buddha in south-west China.

The Kushinagar statue will be co-funded by the Uttar Pradesh government and a Japanese religious trust.

'World's biggest statue'

The statue will depict a future incarnation, the Maitreya Buddha, in a seated position.

It will be three times higher than the 46.5m (151-foot) Statue of Liberty.

Local officials say it will be the world's biggest statue and that a 17-storey temple building with huge prayer halls will be housed inside it.

However, in the United States, plans are underway to build a statue in Houston, Texas, called The Spirit of Houston, that would be even higher.

Kushinagar was the place that the Buddha chose for his Mahaparinirvana, or final exit from earth.

The town was then known as the capital of the Malla republic, one of the republican states of northern India during the 5th and 6th centuries BC.

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