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Top Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in India

Top Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in India

Of several spiritual leaders who were born in India and who spread the seeds of their thoughts and learning in the heart of common man through their sermons and instructions, Gautama Buddha has great significance and a following that cuts across continents. No wonder the India is sprinkled with Buddhist pilgrimage sites where one could pay obeisance to Buddha.

Centuries ago prince Siddhartha travelled an unknown path to seek answers to the meanings of life, to seek reckoning. He undertook a journey from Nepal and made several halts in the midst at various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where finally Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Buddha.

All these destinations witnessed several important events in Buddha’s life right from his attainment of nirvana to his first sermon on 'dharma' and finally when he left his mortal form (Parinirvana).

Mentioned below is the list of destinations that speak volumes about Lord Buddha’s miracles and resonates with the rich Buddhist heritage

Bodhgaya

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya
Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya where Buddha is said to have attained Nirvana
The place where Prince Siddhartha found the answers to overcome ageing, sickness and death, Bodhgaya saw his transformation from Siddhartha to Buddha-“The Awakened One”.

The city is famous for the Bodhi tree which is said to be the descendant of the tree under which Gautama Buddha said to have attained enlightenment after three consecutive days and nights of meditation.

The major attractions of Bodhgaya include Bodhi tree, Dungeshwari caves and the Mahabodhi temple complex which is also considered one of the top temples in India. Mahabodhi Temple is also inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in India.

[Read more about Mahabodhi Temple]

Sarnath

Buddhist Stupa, Sarnath
Sarnath is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma
Located just 13 kilometers away from Varanasi, Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta after the attainment of enlightenment.

Sarnath is one of the most visited sites for devout followers of Buddhism. And the stupa at Sarnath is one of  most spectacular monuments exhorting Buddhism. Sarnath also happens to be the place where famous Buddhist hymn ‘Buddham Sharnam Gacchami’ originated.

Considered one of the top Buddhist sites in India, Sarnath houses many stupas and monasteries which include Dhamek Stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa, Chaukhandi Stupa and Ashoka Pillar. The lion capital carved on the Ashokan Pillar at Sarnath was adapted as the National Emblem of India.

Kushinagar
Located in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, Kushinagar is one of the most beautiful Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in India.

The city is briefly mentioned in Ramayana epic which says that King Kusha, the son of Lord Ram, laid the foundation stone of this city. Kushinagar has great significance for Buddhist pilgrims as Tathagata (Lord Buddha) breathed his last here at the age of 80 years.

Several Buddhist stupas and Viharas dating back to 3rd and 5th century are still found alive in the precincts of this ancient town. The most famous attraction of this town is Parinirvana temple which houses a wonderful statue of Buddha in a reclining position.

Sravasti
One of the ancient Indian cities which gained prominence during the life span of Lord Buddha, Sravasti is a must visit destination for all Buddhist pilgrims.

Legend says that the city was named after a mythological king Shravasta. The city is known for playing host to Gautama Buddha for 25 rainy seasons and preached largest amount of sermons and instructions.

The city is dotted with relics and ruins of several ancient stupas and monasteries of which Jetvana Monastery and Ananda Bodhi tree are a must visit for all pilgrims.

Ajanta Caves

The World Heritage Rock Cut Caves of Ajanta
Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad are recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO owing to their immense cultural value
Set in the inner fold of Sahyadri hills, Ajanta Caves were cut off from the outer world for centuries until they were discovered by British army officer John Smith during a hunting expedition in 1819.

Although these caves are not marked by any important historic event relating to Lord Buddha or Buddhism but they can be rightly termed as the vast repertoire of Buddhist religious art carved out with the help of chisels and hammers.

There are around 29 caves whose wall paintings and sculptures narrate various events of the life of Lord Buddha right from being Prince Siddhartha to his attainment of Nirvana under Bodhi tree to Parinirvana.

Designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, Ajanta Caves are visited for their immense cultural and artistic values by travelers from all part of the globe. It is one of the best cave temples in India.

[Browse through Buddhist Tour Packages in India at Indian Holiday.com ]


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