Patna: Authorities have decided to issue special identity cards to all Buddhist monks in Bodh Gaya in Bihar for security reasons, an official said on Friday.

“All monks belonging to different countries and staying in Buddhist monasteries in Bodh Gaya will get the cards to week out the fake monks,” Bodh Gaya temple advisory board secretary Vivek Kumar Singh said.

Vivek Singh, who is also the Magadh division commissioner, said it had been reported that some people in the garb of monks were found involved in petty crimes including theft in the temple complex.

He said the district administration will consult monastic heads of different countries before issuing the cards.

Hundreds of monks live in Bodh Gaya and daily visit the temple. The shrine also attracts thousands of tourists from across the world.

It was in Bodh Gaya where the Buddha attained enlightenment some 2,500 years ago.

Bodh Gaya is an integral part of the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit that usually starts in Delhi or Kolkata.

It includes places associated with Lord Buddha such as Lumbini in Nepal where he was born and places in India like Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, Sravasti, Rajgir and Nalanda.

The 1,500-year-old Bodh Gaya temple stands behind the sacred Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment.

The Mahabodhi Temple is a World Heritage Site.

(Agencies)