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Significant Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: Tibet & Thailand

Outside of India and Nepal, history has seen an array of important places that serve as important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists looking to journey closer to their spirituality. This article will present destinations in Thailand and Tibet to consider if you are looking for a bit of Buddhist enlightenment.

Wat Phra Kaew , Home of the Emerald Buddha

It is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha that is viewed as the most sacred of Buddhist temples (often referred to as wats) in Thailand. If you are interested in paying a visit, you should seek out the historic center of Bankok, which is situated on the grounds of the Grand Palace. The temple was first established in 1785 when work on its construction began after King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (also known as Rama I) changed the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok.

This temple is quite different than other wats because it does not offer a place for the monks to live. Instead, it consists of elaborate buildings, pagodas, and statues. In the main building, you will encounter what is called the central ubosoth. Inside, the Emerald Buddha is kept. Despite its name, the sitting Buddha that measured 45 centimeters tall is comprised of green jade and gold features, and not emerald as its title suggests. The temple is also equipped with three main doors that one may gain entrance into the temple. However, only the King and Queen are permitted to pass into the temple using the central door. While the site is small, it still serves as a significant landmark for Thai residents.  

Lhasa , Home to the Dalai Lama

Located at the foot of Mount Gephel, you will encounter Lhasa, which also serves as the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. In the traditional world, the city is known as the seat of the Dalai Lama, as well as the capital of Tibet. All in all, Buddhists see the city as an important destination for pilgrimages , looked upon as the most holy center in Tibet. No wonder”¦the name of the city literally translates into “place of the gods.”

Mount Kailash

Not only does Mount Kailash serve as a sacred place for Buddhists, but is also of interest to Hindus, Jains, and those that follow the Bon faith. While this is a mountain, no one has been recorded as trying to climb it, as it is a place considered off limits out of respect to those of the Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. For this reason, it is considered one of the most significant peak sin the world that have not seen any climbing action. To the Tantric Buddhists, the mountain is viewed as the home of the Buddha Demchok, who is seen as a representation of supreme bliss. Every year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the mountain , a tradition that has a history tracing back thousands of years.