Buddha Purnima 2022: Must-Visit Popular Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites In India

Buddha Purnima 2022: Must-Visit Popular Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites In India

New Delhi: Today the followers of Lord Buddha across the world are celebrating the 2584th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  The day is also known as Buddha Purnima or Vaisakhi Buddha Purnima or Vesak. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Java, Indonesia, Tibet and Mongolia also observe this special day.

On this day, Buddhists visit common Viharas to observe a rather longer-than-usual, full-length Buddhist sutra, similar to a service.

It is believed that on this day Lord Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment (nirvana), and attained parinirvana (nirvana-after-death of the body) when he died. 

Gautam Buddha is regarded as a philosopher, spiritual guide, meditator and religious leader. Born around 563 BC at Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, Gautam Buddha grew up in the kingdom of Kapilavastu, which was ruled by his father.

Lord Buddha is considered the ninth Vishnu avatar (reincarnation), as per the Hindu belief.

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On this auspicious occasion, let us take you through some of the most pilgrimage sites of Lord Buddha in the country. These sites are must-visit locations for those who are interested in architecture, and history and looking to understand the deep connection of these popular sites to Lord Buddha. 

Bodh Gaya, Bihar: Bodh Gaya is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Gaya district of Bihar and is known for the Mahabodhi Temple. The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient Buddhist temple. It is the location where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

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The temple stands in the east of the Mahabodhi Tree. The impressive architecture has a basement of 48 square feet that rises in the form of a cylindrical pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical in shape. The temple stands at a total height of 170 feet and on the top of the temple are Chatras which symbolize the sovereignty of religion.

Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh: Sarnath, which is 10 km from Varanasi, is one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage centres. It is believed that after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, it was here that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, sanctified as Maha Dharm Chakra Parivartan. The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures have a great significance for followers of Buddhism. The Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where Lord Buddha met his first five disciples during his first visit to Sarnath.

Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh: Located 51 km east of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Kushinagar is a tourist place visited by many international tourists for its association with Lord Buddha. It is one of the four sacred places of Lord Buddha. Buddha delivered his last sermon, attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC and was cremated at Rambhar Stupa. The reclining nirvana statue of Lord Buddha inside the temple is 6.10 metres long and is made of monolith red sandstone from the 5th century AD. It represents the ‘Dieing-Buddha’ reclining on his right side with his face towards the west.

Sravasti, Uttar Pradesh: It is an ancient city which holds immense significance for its history, and the most popular tourist attraction in the city is Miracle Stupa, where Lord Buddha is said to have spent his time after attaining enlightenment.

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The site is where people believe Buddha performed several miracles, one being where his upper body emitted flames and lower half water.

Rajgir, Bihar: Rajgir is known to be the Magadhan Empire prior to Pataliputra and is popular for its curative hot springs. This is a revered place for Buddhist followers because Lord Buddha is believed to have lived here during the rainy season. He also delivered significant sermons here. The place also comprises a Buddhist cave of Saptaparni where the first Buddhist council was held after his death.

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