Founded in India, Buddhism exerted its noble influence all around
the world. The 2,500 year old faith is simply an accumulation of
philosophies of life. Being the birthplace of this system of belief, India
today boasts of a number of Buddhist sites that are scattered all around in
the country. Legions of tourists and devotees flock to India to pay a visit
to the sacred sites. Most importantly, the state of Bihar is a prominent
site of Buddhist pilgrimage. Bodhgaya and the Maha Bodhi Temple in Bihar are
the popular sites of the state. Leh-Ladakh is strewn with numerous ancient
monasteries. States of Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are the other worth
Bihar : Popular Buddhist Monasteries
Bihar happens to be the focal point of Buddhism in India. Bodhgaya, a small
quaint town in Bihar, is the most significant destination for Buddhist
followers all around the world. Bodhgaya is the place where Lord Buddha
attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple, which is said to have been
built by Ashoka during the 3rd century BC, is the cynosure of all eyes here.
Another worth visiting site in Bihar is the ancient Nalanda University. It
is the site of a huge monastic institution that flourished here between the
5th and 11th centuries. Around 2,000 teachers resided here at that time and
the total number of students came around 10, 000. Adherents from countries
like China, Bhuta, Nepal, Burma and Japan have constructed numerous Buddhist
monastic settlements here.
Himachal Pradesh : Popular Buddhist Monasteries
The state of Himachal Pradesh houses some important Buddhist monasteries.
The Tabo Monastery, one of the most sacred in India, lies here in the Spiti
region. Other famous Buddhist monastery is the Dhankar Monastery. The rugged
landscape heightens the religious aura all the more. The small town of
Dharamsala is the abode of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama and is the head
quarters of the Tibetan Government in exile. Prominent monasteries of the
region include the Namgyal Monastery, the Nechung Oracle Monastery,
Tse-Chok-Ling Monastery and the Norbulingka Monastery.
Ladakh : Popular Buddhist Monasteries
Leh, aptly called the 'Hermit Kingdom' is located at an elevation of 3,500
m in Ladakh. Tourists and devotees arrive here in hordes to explore the
ancient monastery circuit. The quaint town of Leh has a total of 13 gompas
or monasteries that truly represent the mysticism of the Buddhist faith.
Hemis Monastery, founded in the 17th century, is the largest of all the
gompas in Leh. At this monastery, you can see the ancient Buddhist
manuscripts and the largest tangka in India. Yet another popular monastery
is the Alchi Monastery that has a fascinating collection of Buddhist
artifacts belonging to the 11th and 12th centuries. Other renowned
monasteries of Leh include the Likhir Monastery, Stok Monastery, Shey
Monastery, Thiksey Monastery and the Spituk Monastery.
Sikkim : Popular Buddhist Monasteries
is located in the Eastern Himalayas and shares its borders with Tibet,
Bhutan and Nepal. Visitors flock to Sikkim to visit the gompas and to
partake in the Buddhist festivals. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is home
to the Research Institute of Tibetology. Sikkim has such famous monasteries
as the Rumtek Monastery, the Enchay Monastery and the Pemayangtse Monastery.
India is a wonderful mix of a variety of experiences. The Buddhist
monasteries are scattered all over the country. States like Arunachal
Pradesh, Orissa, Mahrashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh also do have a
lot to offer in terms of Buddhist centres and sites that inspire feeling of
deep respect in everyone who come to visit the pilgrimage sites. There is a
religious mystique that always surrounds the Buddhist sites. The ancient
monasteries are a storehouse of Buddhist teachings and knowledge.