Buddhist Pilgrimge started after the death of Lord Buddha when disciples started to visit the places associated with the important aspects of Buddha’s life. Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar became the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. These sites are visited by a large number of tourists from all over the world, specially the countries where Buddhism is widely followed today. The Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. It may also be called the symbol of Buddhism in India. The temple is located right next to the Bodhi tree at the spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The structure of the temple is very impressive with a 52 meter dome and beautiful statues, and panels depicting Buddhist themes.
Rajgir is the ancient capital of the Marya kings. Lord Buddha started the second wheel of law from the Vultures peak in Rajgir and preached to his disciples here during the three rainy months. The Shanti stupa was constructed by the Buddha Sangh of Japan and it is an important Buddhist monument in India.
Nalanda used to be a famous University during the heydays of Buddhism in India. Great Buddhist thinkers like Nagarjuna, Dharmapala, and Padmasambhava were among the teachers of Nalanda. Lord Buddha is said to have delivered many sermons here. As many as ten thousand students were studying here when the Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang visited India.
Vaishali is another famous Buddhist Pilgrimage site in India. This place was often visited by Lord Buddha. He delivered his last sermon at Kolhua, near Vaishali. A stone pillar erected by emperor Ashoka commemorates the last journey of Buddha.
Kushinagar is revered by Buddhists from all over the world. It was here that Lord Buddha breathed his last. The cremation site is marked by the Muktabandhana stupa which is believed to house the relics of Lord Budddha. There are some other ruins of ancient monasteries and stupas in the complex.
The Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India are important for Indian tourism as they attract a large number of tourists every year.
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