Famous Destinations for Buddhist Pilgrimage: Lumbini, Kaushambi, Kushinagar
Most Visited Place : Sarnath
Known For : Exquisite Architecture and Carvings
What To See : Monasteries, Temples, Archaeological Ruins
Though modern-day Buddhism tends to be associated with countries such as Japan and Tibet, the thrill of following the Buddhist trail through the land of its origin, India, remains an unsurpassable experience. The ancient state of Uttar Pradesh, caressed by the holy waters of river Ganga, still reverberates with the spiritual aroma of nirvana. It is here that Prince Siddharth attained enlightment and founded Buddhism. Come with us for a divine safari through the land of Buddha, where you can feel your consciousness scaling new heights of spirituality with every unknown destination.
Lumbni The Birthplace of Budhha
Lumbini grove, the sacred site of Lord Buddha's birth, is
today in Nepal, 27 km from Sonauli on the Indo-Nepal Border, north of
Gorakhpur in UP. Today, no trace remains of the ancient village of
Lumbini. However, you can see a stately Ashokan coloumn, the famous
Rummindel Pillar, which commemorated the emperor's visit in 249 BC, still
standing to mark the sacred spot of Buddha's nativity. Spend some time
with yourself on the banks of the serene canal that flows through the
International Monastic Zone. Walk around the tranquil ambience and visit
the numerous Buddhist monasteries that dot the terrain for a complete
Buddhist holiday experience.
Tourists can get multiple plying options from all over UP and Delhi to reach Nepal border at Sonauli. You cannot enter Nepal at night, therefore, if for any reason you are delayed, you can stay at the UP Tourism's guesthouse at the border. From the border, the Nepalese town of Bhairwa is just 5 minutes drive away. From Sonauli to Lumbini is 27 km.
Intimately associated with the life of Buddha, Sravasti,
the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, is the setting for the
Lord's greatest miracle. Feel a distinct flavour of spirituality in the
Jetvana Garden where Buddha spent 24 rainy seasons. This important city
emerged as a nucleus for Buddhism during the life of the Buddha, and
later. Hire a cycle-rickshaw and roam amidst the strewned age-old stupas,
majestic monasteries and several temples near the villages of Sahel-Mahet.
Don't miss to see the famous 'Anandabodhi' tree nestling in an exquisite
garden, believed to be an offspring of theone that was planted by Buddha's
chief disciple, Ananda.
From Lucknow, take the road to Barabanki (27 km). This tree-lined boulevard is a nice road to drive. From Barabanki, the single road to Sravasti (141 km) via Bahraich is a little bumpy and you might not speed up beyond 70-80 kmph. There are plenty of Buddhist temples near the ruins that offer to put up visitors. Staying in one of them might prove to be memorable.
Perhaps the most revered place for Buddha devotees in India is Kushinagar, where Siddarth Gautam attained Mahaparinirvana in his 18th year. A temple dedicated to this event stands amidst a serene sal groove. You will be amazed to see the huge statue of reclining Lord Buddha made in red sandstone. Excavatated in 1876, the 6.10 m long Buddha represents the last phase of his life, reclining on his right side with his face turned towards the west. Remember to see the magnificent black statue of Buddha carved out of one block representing Buddha in the Bhumisparsh Mudra. Besides the complex is peppered with innumerable international monasteries that add to the hallowed pleasure of visiting this place. Transport facilities in Kushinagar is limited to cycle-rickshaws, but they charge a nominal fare for a complete trip of Kushinagar.
Sarnath, where the Buddha preached his first sermon called the Dharmachakra Pravartana (Turning of the Wheel of Law), contains the most impressive remains, as well as a modern temple. The decaying ruins of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara mark the place where the Buddha spent his first rainy season while to the east is the modern Mulagandhakuti Vihara with its beautiful wall paintings and elegant frescoes. Behind it, is the Deer Park, where you can still see dancing deer amidst virgin bushes. Don't miss to visit the exquisite archaeological museum housing the Ashokan column's famous lion capitol, and many other handsome works of art in stone. Sarnath is 18 km from Varanasi downtown and can be easily reached from the sacred city. To enjoy the full charm, plan your holiday stay at Sarnath itself, and relax amid a quieter, cleaner and definite Buddhist atmosphere.
Buddha visited Kaushambi in the 6th and 9th years after his enlightment. He delivered several speeches here, elevating it to a centre of learning for Buddhists. The archaeological excavations here have yeilded a large number of sculpters and figurines, punch-marked and cast coins and terracotta sculptures, which show the reverence the city was held in by the devout. Walk amidst the ruins that still sing of the bygone glory. From Varanasi, take NH 2 to get to Allahabad (100 km). The GT Road from Varanasi to Allahabad is wide enough, and overlook bottlenecks. From Allahabad, Kaushambi is about 60 km.
Many of these places can also be accessed by air and rail through nearest airport or railway station. For example, airports at Patna, Varanasi and Lucknow can be convenient access options. Though many of these places do not have direct air connections, you can always use the nearest airport to commute to the site. Most of these sacred places can be accessed by air from Patna, Varanasi and Lucknow airports, approximate distance being about 200 km.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Buddhist Sites
Where Nirvana Is A Way of Life
Lumbini The Place of Buddha's Birth
Sarnath Change Your Time
The Reclining Buddha At Kushinagar
Sravasti Gardens of Heaven
Pilgrimage Spiritual Tour
» Splendrous Taj Mahal
Glorious Golden Triangles (I & II)
Delhi : Capital of Hearts
Jaipur : The
Power and Valor of Rajputs
Pradesh : Ecstasy in Hills
Chandigarh : Tradition