Top 10 Must Visit Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in India

Buddhist Tourism in India is a pilgrimage tour to the world famous sites related to Gautama Buddha, These religious sites and Buddhist place of pilgrimage are the most important holy place for Buddhists in India.

There are three main pilgrimage sites in India for Buddhist Tourism, Bodh Gaya, Kushinagar and Sarnath, Lumbini is in Nepal and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along with Bodh Gaya in Bihar.

1. Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Mahabodhi_Temple

Bodh Gaya with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex is an important site and most holy place for Buddhists in India. Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top four tourist destination for Buddhists in the world.

2. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh

Sarnath is an important pilgrimage site in Uttar Pradesh, located 10 km from Varanasi near the confluence of Ganges and Varuna rivers. The impressive structure of Dhamek Stupa along with Chaukhandi Stupa, Sarnath Archeological Museum and 80 Ft Statue of Standing Buddha in Sarnath are popular tourist attractions.

3. Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh

Kushinagar is one of the most important international Buddhist pilgrimage site i Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Parinirvana Stupa, Ramabhar Stupa, Nirvana Chaitya,colossal statue of Lord Buddha and statue of reclining Buddha are few popular tourism in Kushinagar.

4. Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh

Shravasti ancient city is located in Uttar Pradesh near the Rapti river and associated with the life of Gautama Buddha. The monastery of Jetavana is located outside city of Savatthi and listed as one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries of ancient India.

5. Nalanda, Bihar

Nalanda was a famous learning centres and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bihar. The ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara are very popular tourist destination and also important stop on the Buddhist tourism circuit in India.

6. Vaishali, Bihar

Vaishali city has an important place in Buddhist religion, home to Pillars of Ashoka, Lion Capital of Ashoka and many important sites and places of pilgrimage with the life of the Buddha.

7. Sankassa, Uttar Pradesh

Sankassa ancient city house ruins of the temples, stupa and one of famous Pillars of Ashoka with elephant. The city of Sankissa in Uttar Pradesh is located about 250 km from Kanpur.

8. Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati is located on the banks of Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh,
named after the ancient Amaravati Stupa.The historic Buddhist town is now part of the HRIDAY scheme and home to
Dhyana Buddha statue.

9. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

Dharamshala is an important Buddhist tourist destination in India, along with suburb of McLeod Ganj. It is the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh and also one of the famous bird watching spots in India, located in the Kangra Valley and part of the Tea Tourism industry known as Kangra tea.

Tsuglagkhang or Dalai Lama Temple Complex near Mcleod Ganj is the official home of the 14th Dalai Lama and a must visit place in Dharamshala.

10. Deekshabhoomi, Maharashtra

Deekshabhoomi stupa in Nagpur is a sacred monument and also a pilgrimage center of Buddhism in India. Deekshabhoomi along with Chaitya Bhoomi are famous for historical importance and its architectural beauty in Maharashtra.

Buddhist Tourism in Ladakh

Buddhist tourism in Ladakh is now part of the Buddhist circuit with tourist interests like the Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, Shanti Stupa in Leh and Lord Buddha statue.

Shanti Stupa, Leh – Ladakh

shanti-stupa-leh

Shanti Stupa in Leh is a primte tourist attraction of Ladakh, offers mesmerizing Views of surrounding mountains and providing panoramic views of the village and landscape.

Diskit Monastery, Nubra Valley

Diskit Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, located deep into the Nubra Valley region and has large statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok river.

  • Hemis Monastery
  • Thiksey Monastery
  • Diskit Monastery
  • Likir Monastery
  • Phugtal Monastery

There are 35 Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh visited by tourists every year, also one of the bigger attraction for Buddhist tourism in Leh Ladakh.

7 World Peace Pagoda in India

There are seven well known white Buddhist stupa in India, collectivitly known as Peace Pagoda or Vishwa Shanti Stupa. These shanthi stupas are located at different Buddhist places of India, Delhi, Darjeeling, Rajgir, Dhauli Giri, Vaishali, Wardha and Shanti Stupa in Ladakh.

  • Shanti Stupa, Leh – Ladakh
  • Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Rajgir – Bihar
  • Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling – West Bengal
  • World Peace Pagoda, New Delhi – Delhi
  • Dhauli Giri Stupa, Bhubaneswar – Orissa
  • Peace Pagoda, Vaishali – Bihar
  • Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Wardha – Maharashtra

Rajgir Stupa, Bihar

Rajgir ancient city is located in Nalanda district and home to Vishwa Shanti Stupa, one of the seven Peace Pagodas in India. The city is part of state Buddhist tour along with Kesaria stupa and Vaishali city.

Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai

Global Vipassana Pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagoda of Myanmar, serve as a monument of peace and containing relics of the Buddha.
The golden monument is one of the most unique attraction of Mumbai.

Tallest Statues of Lord Buddha

India is also home to list of Buddhist complex, temples, parks and statue for
boosting the pilgrimage and tourism in the region. Here is the list of tallest Buddha statue in India by height and location.

  • Tathagata Tsal Statue (39m) of Buddha, Ravangla – Sikkim
  • Dhyana Buddha Statue (38.1m), Amaravathi – Andhra Pradesh
  • Mindroling Buddha statue (32.6m), Dehradun – Uttarakhand
  • Diskit Monastery Buddha statue (32m) – Ladakh
  • Great Buddha Statue in Bodhgaya (25m), Bodhgaya – Bihar

Sarnath is home to tallest standing statue of Lord Buddha (80ft) in the premises of Thai Buddha Vihar, followed by Buddha Statue of Hyderabad and Abhaya Buddha Statue in Eluru Buddha Park.

Famous Buddhist Stupa in India

Chaukhandi_Stupa

Buddhist stupa in Kesariya is the largest stupa in India at height of 104 feet, located in the Champaran district of Bihar. The Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath and Ramabhar Stupa are also massive stupa in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Kesaria Stupa, Bihar
  • Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath
  • Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
  • Ramabhar Stupa, Kushinagar
  • Amaravati Stupa, Andhra Pradesh

Sanchi Buddhist complex is an important monument in Madhya Pradesh house some of the oldest stone structures in India. The Great Stupa, carved torana, Torana gateway and Ashoka pillars are the major attractions of Sanchi complex.

Famous Buddhist Monasteries in India

Monastery_in_Ladakh

Tawang Monastery of Arunachal Pradesh is the largest monastery in India, situated on the top mountain and the complex has 65 residential buildings.

  • Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
  • Mindrolling Monastery, Uttarakhand
  • Ghoom Monastery, West Bengal
  • Namdroling Monastery, Karnataka
  • Tabo Monastery, Himachal Pradesh

Bylakuppe town is situated around 80 km from Mysore city in Karnataka, second largest Tibetan settlement in India after Dharmashala. Namdroling Monastery also known as Golden Temple is located in Bylakuppe and one of the lesser known Buddhist Monasteries in India.

Ancient Buddhist Sites in India

Here is the list of ancient and impressive Buddhist sites, a tourist place and sites for Buddhist Tourism in India, you should visit.

Lalitgiri, Odisha

Lalitgiri Buddhist complex in Odisha contains ruins of stupas, rock-cut sculptures and was part of Puspagiri University. The complex of Lalitgiri was a major center of Buddhism and also one of the oldest sites in the region.

Vikramashila, Bihar

Vikramashila along with Nalanda was two most important Buddhist learning centres in India also listed as one of the largest Buddhist universities in the world.

Pushpagiri, Odisha

Pushpagiri Vihara was an important site of ancient India for Buddhist mahavihara and now a popular tourist place in Odisha for Buddhist Tourism in India.

Dhauligiri is one of the seven Shanti Stupa in India, located on the banks of Daya river near the temple city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

Buddhist Sites in Andhra Pradesh

Nagarjunakonda is another important historic site near the Amaravati Stupa, also one of the India’s richest Buddhist sites containing monasteries and Buddhist universities.

  • Nagarjunakonda
  • Bojjannakonda
  • Lingalakonda
  • Thotlakonda
  • Salihundam
  • Bavikonda
  • Chandavaram site

Buddha Statue of Hyderabad is the tallest monolith of Gautama Buddha, situated in the middle of Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Buddhist Rock-Cut Caves in India

There are list of Buddhist rock cut caves in India such as Belum Caves,Elephanta Caves, Badami cave temples and Aurangabad Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.

  • Badami Cave
  • Bhaja Cave
  • Bedse Cave
  • Elephanta Cave

There are group of more Buddhist rock-cut monuments in the Lonavala area including Bedse Caves, Bhaja Caves, Karla Caves, Patan Buddhist Cave and Nasik Caves.

Karla Caves, Maharashtra

Karla Caves is a protected monument and one of the ancient Buddhist Indian rock-cut caves, located near Lonavala in Maharashtra.

Bojjannakonda, Andhra Pradesh

Bojjannakonda along with Lingalakonda in Andhra Pradesh are Buddhist rock-cut caves and the area also contain numerous stupas, caves and ancient Buddhist monasteries.

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves are very popular rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments, located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with near by Ellora Caves.

Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh

Belum Caves in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh were used by Buddhist monks and there is a big size Buddha statue on a hillock near the Belum caves.

Belum Caves are largest and longest cave system in India and a protected Monuments of National Importance, A very popular and best destination in Andhra Pradesh for Tourism.