- Architecture & Stupas
Being the country of origin of Buddhism, India is full of many Buddhist monuments. These impressive structures are glaring reminders of the great levels that Buddhist arts and culture had attained during the heydays of Buddhism in India. The Buddhist monuments of India are also major tourist attractions. Many tourists from all over the world visit these monuments every year. Sarnath, Bodh Gaya, Sanchi, Dhauli and Kushinagar are the locations of some of the best known Buddhist monuments of India. The monuments include Stupas, Viharas and Chaityas.

The Barhut stupa was built by emperor Ashoka. Later it was renovated by the subsequent Sunga rulers. The structure is a fin example of the fusion of Buddhist elements and architecture of the Mauryan period. The stupa is adorned by panels and statues depicting the many incarnations of Buddha.

The Mahabodhi temple is situated in Bodhgaya, one of the four most important Buddhist sites in the world. The temple is very important for Buddhist pilgrims as this was where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and realized the middle way, the core of Buddhist teachings. The original temple is said to have been built by emperor Ashoka. The structure ahs gone considerable changes and repairs in the 19th century. The major attractions of the temple are the 52 meter tall dome and the large gilded statue of Buddha next to the Bodhi tree. The temple has inspired many more similar temples in countries like Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar.

Dhamek stupa in Sarnath is an imposing structure. It is considered the largest and one of the holiest Buddhist monuments in the world. The structure has a diameter of 28.3 meters, and a height of 31.3 meters. The spot is important as this was where Lord Buddha delivered his first lessons on Buddhism to a group of five disciples.

The Mahachaitya stupa in Amravati is the largest stupa in India with a height of 95 feet. The stupa was built during the 2nd century BC. The simple structure was modified by the subsequent Satavahana rulers, finally giving it a grand appearance.

The Shanti stupa in Dhauli in Orissa is different from other structures because it has been built in 1971. it is modeled after the Shanti stupa in Rajgir. The stupa in Dhauli is a magnificent structure adorned by statues and panels depicting themes from the life of Lord Buddha. There are many more Buddhist monuments in India. These include the Dharmarajika stupa in Uttar Pradesh , the ruins at Nalanda in Bihar, the Itanagar Buddhist temple, the rock cut caves at Ajanta , Ellora, and Bhagalpur, and the Sanchi stupa in Madhya Pradesh.

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