Between the 5th century BC and 12th century AD, Buddhism proved to
be dynamic system of beliefs being renowned and accepted not only in India
but also in countries like China, Japan, Bhutan, Vietnam, Tibet, Combodia,
Ceylon, Burma, Sri Lanka etc. Having its genesis in India, Buddhism has its
adherents all cross the globe. Devotees and tourists flock to India in
hordes to pay a visit to the significant Buddhist sites that remain
scattered all over the country.
Buddhist monuments in India are a big draw for tourists and pilgrims from
all over. States like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh,
Maharashtra and Orissa are replete with Buddhist sites. These monuments are
firstly significant pilgrimages for devotees and secondly they are also a
window to Buddhist art and architecture in India.
Maha Bodhi Temple (Bodhgaya, Bihar)
Lying at a distance of 105 km from state capital Patna, Bodhgaya is one of
the major centres of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. The Maha Bodhi Temple
and the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment are the
cynosure of all eyes here. The temple dates back to the 3rd century BCE and
houses a gilded image of Lord Buddha which is a must see for all. The dome
of the temple is 52 metres tall. The walls are embellished with friezes that
depict scenes from Lord Buddha's life.
Sanchi Stupa (Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh)
Sanchi is strewn with numerous Buddhist stupas, temples and pillars. The
Great Stupa I was erected by Mauryan emperor Ashoka who became a follower of
Buddhism after what he experienced in the battle of Kalinga. The stupa was
built during the 3rd century BC. There were eight stupas at Sanchi in all.
Out of the total, however, only three stand today. The remains of pillars at
Sanchi have also much significance and bear proclamations from emperor
Stupa & Ashoka Pillar (Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh)
The Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath in Bihar is one of the holiest Buddhist sites
in India. The 31.3 metre tall stupa is the spot where Lord Buddha delivered
his first discourse in 528 BCE after he got enlightened. Sarnath is held in
high regard by the Buddhist community all across the globe. Besides, Sarnath
is also home to the Chokhandi Stupa and the all renowned Ashoka Pillar.
Amravati Stupa (Amravati, Andhra Pradesh)
Erected during the 2nd century BCE, the Amravati Stupa (also popular as
Mahachaitya Stupa) has the distinction of being the largest (95 feet high)
in India. The stupa lay into a state of oblivion until a British
archaeologist Colonel Collin Mackenzie rediscovered it in 1797. Amravati,
the erstwhile capital of the Satvahana Rulers, is also visited for
attractions like the Amareswara Temple, Potala and Dharankota. Scholars also
connect Amravati with the origin of many Tantric teachings.
Langudi (Jajpur, Orissa)
Langudi in the state of Orissa is considered to be one of the most
prominent Buddhist sites in India. Orissa (erstwhile Kalinga) is the site
that turned Ashoka into a Buddhist. Excavations have revealed a number of
Buddhist stupas and sculptures at Langudi.
Shanti Stupa (Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir)
The Shanti Stupa in Leh, capital of Ladakh, was built to commemorate the
2,500 years of Buddhism. The stupa was inaugurated by Dalai Lama himself. It
is situated atop a hill affording stunning views of the locales. Leh is
dotted all over with numerous ancient Buddhist monasteries and is a famous
The list of Buddhist monuments in India seems to be endless. With millions
of adherents worldwide, Buddhism is one of the major faiths in the world.
Tourists and devotees keep flocking to the Buddhist sites all over India
year after year. To gain an insight into the history and teachings of
Buddhism, one must visit the sites that have played a crucial role in the
spread and development of Buddhism.
popular Buddhist monuments are as follows :
¤ Barhut Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
¤ Pithalkhora, Maharashtra
¤ Hirapur, Orissa
¤ Animeshlochan Chaitya, Bihar
¤ Ratnagar, Bihar
¤ Itanagar Buddhist Temple, Arunachal Pradesh
¤ Dharmarajika Stupa, Uttar Pradesh