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Buddha Pilgrimage Locations in India and Nepal

While Bodh Gaya, Kusinara, Sarnath, and Lumbini are regarded as the four most important pilgrimage sites associated with the Buddha (founder of Buddhism), there are other sites throughout India and Nepal that hold a special significance to his life. In this article, you will encounter a handful of locations to consider if you are interested in making a Buddhist pilgrimage.

Savattihi

Thriving during ancient Indian days, this city was one of the largest cities of Gautama Buddha’s lifetime. Located in the Gangetic plains, the fertile land is now situated in the present-day surroundings of the Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh. Many people, who make a pilgrimage to the city, also pay a visit to the Jetavana monastery , a well-known structure that is located close to Savatthi. Pilgrims often come to meditate and chant, which is mostly achieved at the Gandhakuti (known as Buddha’s hut) and the Anandabodhi tree.

Those who encounter the ancient city will find that the city walls still stand to this day. Walk about and you will find the remains of three ancient buildings that serve as a popular tourist attraction. It is here that you will find Angulimala’s stupa, Anathapindika’s stupa, and an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara. The city is also home to a range of Buddhist monasteries that represents a variety of different countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, South Korea, Tibet and China.

Pataliputra

Today, the ancient city of Patna is now called Pataliputra, which once served as the capital of various cultures of the past. With a history of learning and fine arts, the city flourished with about 400,000 people that lived during the Maurya period, which took place around 300 BCE. In history, Patna was also important to the Sikhs, as a sacred city. Patna additionally saw the birth of the tenth and last Sikh guru, named Guru Gobind Singh. Today, the city is the capital of an Indian state called Bihar. It has since gained recognition as one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world.

As for the city’s significance in terms of the life of the Buddha, he traveled through this location during the last year of his life. At that time, he made a prophecy that the city would prosper and enjoy a decent future. However, he also predicted that it would face destruction at the hands of fire, flooding, and disagreements.

Nalanda

Travel about 55 miles of Patna and you will find Nalanda, an influential location in the world of ancient Buddhism. From 427 to 1197 CE, Nalanda served as a Buddhist center of learning that has been dubbed “one of the first great universities in recorded history.” The ancient university is located in Bihar, India, where a handful of ruined structures survive to this day. A pilgrim may journey to the Hindu temple that is found nearly. Nalanda is no longer inhabited and the nearest place to find human life is a village named Bargaon. A visit to the Nalanda Museum will reveal a host of manuscripts, and highlighted objects that have been excavated over the years.