Buddhist Temples
The Buddha was born in 563BC as Siddhartha Gautama, a Shakya prince, but his life upto the time he was 29 remains largely mythical. Since ancient past India has had an unbroken tradition of being the fountainhead of spiritual knowledge in the world. Great seers, masters and incarnations have been born here to spread the true knowledge from time to time. The Sanskrit word "Bodh" literally means knowledge. Buddha thus means "The one who has attained all knowledge". The cessation of conflicts at both the internal the external levels is possible only when one is armed with the right knowledge. Once the conflicts recede, peace blooms and one attains bliss. There are four principal Buddhist pilgrimage sites where most of the buddhist temples and shrines are located. The most important of these are located primarily in the Ganges Valley of India.
Bodh Gaya , Bihar
This is where Prince Gautama attained enlightenment under the sacred Asvatta tree (Bodhi tree) and became known as Lord Budha. This is one of the four most sacred pilgrimage places for the Buddhists. The other three important places are his place of birth at Lumbini, Nepal; the site of his first lecture at Sarnath, near Varanasi; and the place where he left his body at Kushinagar, near Gorakhpur. Buddhists from all over the world have built temples here in Bodh Gaya. The Dalai Lama often spends time here. Tibetan pilgrims come here for the winter from Dharamshala. Bodh Gaya is located about 13 km from Gaya, 450 km west of Calcutta, and 90 km south of Patna.
Magnificent Buddhist Sculptors
The teachings of the Buddhism were adopted by Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 255BC as the religion that he as well as most of his subjects would follow. Towards this the king undertook steps to awaken and enlighten his people about the teachings of the Buddha, and to make sure that they would not forget how important it was for them to be Buddhists Ashoka took certain measures. These are the most early Buddhist sculptors, and were mainly of six types: stone pillars with inscriptions on them called edicts; stupas; monolithic pillars; shrines; a vast palace and a group of rock cut chambers. Out of these the most important ones were the edicts and the stupas and can still be seen today.
Nalanda , Bihar
This contains the ruins of the world's oldest university. This was also a place where the Buddha and Mahavira stayed and preached. The remains of 11 monasteries and several Chaityas, built over a period of time, in red brick stone have been excavated, as well as a large stairway, a library, lecture halls, dormitories, cells, ovens and wells. Buildings were multi-storied and multi-tiered, built on massive terraces of solid brick, decorated with Buddhist and Hindu divinities and warriors, dancers, musicians, animals and birds.
Rajgir , Bihar
A sacred place for both the Buddhists and Jains. There is Gridhakuta, where the Buddha, converted a Magadhan King. Also worth visiting is Saptaparni Cave, where the first Buddhist council was held. The Pippala Stone House or Machan is a huge structure, with cells around it. At Maniyar Math is an old Jain Shrine. Then there is Venuvara, the bamboo grove, where the Buddha meditated. The Jivakamanana Monastery is of interest, since it was one of the Buddha's favourite retreat.
Vaishali , Bihar
Vaishali was one of the Buddha's favourite resorts and he visited it on several occasions It was here that he had his famous encounter with the prostitute Ambapali, the incident is recounted in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta in The Long Discourses. Another discourse he delivered here is the long but interesting Mahasihanada Sutta from The Middle Length Discourses. According to the Mahayana tradition the famous Vimalakirtinedesa Sutra was preached here too.
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The Buddha was largely mythical.There tourists are going for peace.,
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