The following are nine of the several Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and most of them are situated in the plains of Ganga in northern India.
Bodhgaya is the most important pilgrimage for Buddhists. It was known as Vajrasana or Uruvela. Bodhgaya name came up in 18th century. The main temple of Budhists was known as Bodhimandavihara which we now know as Mahabodhi tree dates during 7th century. It is said that Gautam Buddha obtained enlightment Bodhimandala here which means enlightment. The statue on Vajrasana inside Mahabodhi Temple was found in ruins and placed there by Cunningham in 1880.
It is located about 13 km north east of Varanasi. Gautam Buddha gave his first preaching here. It was an important centre of arts. It had one of the first school of Buddhists. Dhamek Stupa is an ancient monument of 128 feet high and 93 feet diameter. Ashoka Pillar is another monument built here.
Nalanda was the site of learning in ancient times in bihar. It is located 88 km south-east of Patna. Nalanda means ' insatiable in giving'. It was the site of Budhist learning between 5th or 6th century CE to 1197 CE. The university was built in an area of 14 acres with red bricks. Nalanda was one of world's first residential universities.
It is an important pilgrimage site of Buddhists. Buddha is said to have attained Parinirvana here after his death. Khushi Nagar is located in Kushi Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. In ancient times, it was known as Kushavati. The remains of Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple were discovered in high mounds of bricks surrounded by forests. This huge brickwork stupa is 2.74 m high.
It is a north eastern town in Uttar Pradesh. It is located near west Rapti river. Shravasti was the capital of Kosala kingdom during 6th century BC to 6th century AD. Gautam Buddha is said to have spent longest amount of time here and gave the largest number of preachings. It is said Shravasti was previously known as Mahid. The main monument which can be visited here are Angulimala's stupa, Anathapindika's stupa, Twin Miracle and Jetvana monastery.
Sanchi is a small village in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. It is located 46 km north east of Bhopal. The great Stupa is one of the oldest stone structure in India which was built by King Ashoka. It has four highly carved ornamental gateways and a railing encircling the whole structure. It is 36.6 m across excluding railing and umbrella is 16.46m.
Lumbini is situated in the foothills of Himalayas in Nepal. It is 10 hours drive from Kathmandu. Its nearest airport in Siddharthnagar. Lumbini is a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site since it is the birth place of Lord Buddha. He spent his early life till the age of 29 in Lumbini. Gautam Buddha was also known as Tathagata. King Suddhodana was the father of Gautam Buddha. He was of Shakya dynasty belonging to the Kshatriya or the warrior caste. Maya Devi, his mother gave him birth under a sal tree in the month of May in 642 BC.
Sankasya is located in Uttar Pradesh. It is 47 km from Farrukhabad and 315 km from Delhi and 175 km from Agra. Sankasya is popularly known as Sankisa. King Ashoka had built a pillar here also. The story of Buddha's descent from heaven at Sankasya is very popular. Sankasya was an ancient city in India.