Buddhism is now an important religion worldwide. In every part of the world there are followers of Buddhism. Prince Siddharta became Lord Buddha after gaining in divine enlightenment or nirvana under the Bodhi tree. His teachings on life and spirituality constitute the holy doctrines of Buddhism. The religion came into being around 5th Century B.C.E. in the ancient kingdom ‘Magadha’. After King Ashoka’s conversion from Chanda Ashoka to Dharma Ashoka the religion started spreading like wildfire. The king made Buddhism his own religion and started preaching about Lord Buddha’s teachings everywhere. In many parts of India Buddhism shows its strong influence. There are many relics associated with Buddhism such as stupas, monasteries, caves in these places. A standard Buddhist travel in India package will take you on a tour of the popular Buddhist destinations in India. Given below is a list of some of the most popular Buddhist destinations of the country
Located in Bihar’s Nalanda district, nearly 60kms southeastward from the capital city of Patna, Rajgir is a renowned Buddhist destination known for its Buddhist ruins, rock-cut caves, shell inscriptions, forts, monasteries. It is said that Rajgir had been one of the fond retreats of the Lord who is said to have delivered several sermons at this place. Shanti Stupa, Saptaparni caves, Gridhakuta Hills, Ancient ruins are some of the prime attractions of Rajgir for tourists and pilgrims alike.
Sarnath; Uttar Pradesh
11kms away from the famed Varanasi town of Uttar Pradesh, the holy town of Sarnath is situated. As per history, the first sermon on dharma was delivered by Lord Buddha at Sarnath. Some of the major tourist attractions associated with Buddhism that you get to see in Sarnath are Dhamek stupa, Sarnath museum, Chaukhandi Stupa, Mulagandha Kuti Vihar and Stupa built around 3rd Century BC by Emperor Ashoka.
Kushinagar; Uttar Pradesh
Kushinagar is another important Buddhist pilgrimage destination in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the vicinity of the Gorakhpur town. According to legends and history, this was the place where Buddha attained his Mahaparinirvana or highest form of salvation.
Bodhgaya in Bihar is one of the most revered and holy pilgrimage sites for the Buddhist community. The place is located at a distance of nearly 100kms from the capital city of Patna. According to historical, mythical and religious records, it was in Bodhgaya that Prince Siddharta attained his divine enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree and became the ‘Buddha’ nearly 2600 years back. There are many important Buddhist sightseeing places at Bodhgaya such as Mahabodhi temple, The great Buddha statue, Chaukramana. Each year thousands of pilgrims throng these sites to pay their tribute to the lord.
Sravasti; Uttar Pradesh
Sravasti, another city in Uttar Pradesh is a holy pilgrimage destination for the Buddhists. As per the tales, this was the place where Lord Buddha answered his critics the spiritual way by showing them innumerable divine manifestations of his own self. He showed himself seated on a magnificent thousand-petalled lotus and streams of water and fire shooting out from him. The World Peace Bell is an important tourist attraction of Sravasti.
Kapilavastu; Indo-Nepal border
The historical and religious significance of Kapilavastu is immense. This holy town is located on the Indo-Nepal border in eastern UP’s Siddharthanagar district. Kapilavastu is believed to be Lord Buddha’s birthplace. Stupa complex with Kanishka’s inscriptions, Palace Site, archaeologically excavated stone caskets bearing relics from the life of Buddha are the prime attractions of Kapilavastu.
Sikkim, the northeast Indian state shows a very strong influence of Buddhism. The Sikkimese culture and natives of the state are imbued with the religious philosophies of Buddhism. There are several Buddhist monasteries in the state of Sikkim and most of these monasteries belong to the Kagyu and Nyingma order of Buddhism. Some of the most renowned monasteries of Sikkim include Enchey, Rumtek, Pemayangtse, Tashiding, Labrang, Phodang, Phensang etc
The part of Ladakh that coincides with the area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir shows a strong influence of Buddhism. That region of Ladakh, in particular, shows a culture intricately connected with Buddhism. Several monasteries, gompas, fairs, festivals, art forms, oral literature make a part of Ladakh’s culture and in each of those, the influence of Buddhism is remarkably exhibited. The region is dotted with many renowned monasteries such as Thiksey, Hemis, Spituk, Shey, Rangdum, Lamayuru, Alchi, Phyang. Each of these monasteries come with an ambience charged with spirituality.
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