One among the prime religions in the world, Buddhism has become one of the greatest philosophies worldwide.
The religion originated in India, but was spread across the globe by the disciples of Lord Buddha.
At present, Buddhism is the moral backbone across most of the east and Southeast Asian countries. There are several destinations in India where Buddhism emerged and flourished. Each destination has a distinct center for the religion, which is home to a number of tourist attractions telling different legends related to the birth and growth of Buddhism in India.
Important buddhist sights in and around India:
Although in Nepal, Lumbini is among the most significant Buddhist sites as it is the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. In 249 BCE, King Ashoka visited Lumbini and constructed a stupa. However, the influence of Lumbini deteriorated over time and was neglected for many centuries. In 1896, the stupa was re-discovered by a Nepalese archeologist who brought Lumbini back into the limelight of Buddhist patronage. It received the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
Bodh Gaya or Bodhgaya:
This is the place where prince Siddhartha turned into the Lord Buddha after undergoing enlightenment. Situated 10 km away from the popular Hindu holy city of Gaya, Bodh Gaya is a small place on the banks of the Niranjana River. Bodh Gaya is the most sacred site for followers of the Buddhist faith across the world.
The town has now turned into a real multi-monastic zone city where one can find monasteries from several different Buddhist countries. The place enjoys wonderfully developed infrastructure and features a number of classy hotels that make it a perfect spot for visiting tourists. Along with a magnificent Mahabodhi temple with a Bodhi Tree inside, the town also owns an 80-foot idol of the Lord Buddha.
Situated 13 km North-East of the holy city of Varanasi, Sarnath is a popular Buddhist city positioned close to the confluence of the Ganges and Gomati rivers. The deer park in Sarnath is the place where Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon and taught about the Dharma. In Sarnath, Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the clarification of Kondanna. Lord Buddha underwent his six rainy seasons at this place. Emperor Akbar constructed three memorial stupas here and made this a popular pilgrimage spot for Buddhist followers.
The city of Rajgir is equally important for followers of Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Gautama Buddha spent several months here while meditating and sermonizing at Gridhra-kuta, ('Hill of the Vultures'). He delivered some of his most famous sermons here, which lead to the spread of Buddhism. It was the first active center of Buddism.
Pippala Cave is a popular spot for devotees of the religion. There is another popular Buddhist attraction in Rajgir – Shanti Stupa, which is located at an altitude of 400 meters. A ropeway connects it with the ground and helps people trying to reach the top.
Kushinagar is the place where the Lord Buddha spent his last days and took his last breath. For this reason, it's an important site for Buddhists. The most notable thing about Kushinagar is that the Lord Buddha chose this place for his last sermon and the attainment of Parinirvana, attaining the ultimate nirvana.