Buddhist Destinations India
Talking about important Buddhist Destinations in India, the name that supercedes others is that of Bihar. Bihar is a state in east of India with its capital at Patna. The city of Bodhgaya is one of the four holy pilgrimage destinations in Buddhism. It was here that a prince in search of truth attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. Bihar also has a number of other Buddhist attractions in store which you can discover during your trip to the state.
Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Jammu Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh are other destinations which make for worthvisting destinations in India. The first of these, Uttar Pradesh, is home to Sarnath and Kushinagar which are other two of the four holy Buddhist sites. Sarnath was the place where the Buddha delivered His first sermon after attaining enlightenment whereas in Kushinagar, He attained Mahaparinirvana. Buddhist places like Sravasti, Sankisa, and Kaushambi are also located in Uttar Pradesh.
Dharamsala in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh is where the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is settled with his followers and other countrymen. Apart from this, Himachal Pradesh also houses a number of Buddhist monasteries as well. The Ladakh region of Jammu Kashmir is predominantly Buddhists and here, too, a number of Buddhist monasteries can be seen. These monasteries are located in stunning locations, very often clinging to a hillside. The prime Buddhist attraction in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are the Buddhist Monuments of Sanchi.
The significance of Orissa in Buddhism is that it was here that an ambitious Indian king, Ashoka, realised that violence could be of no benefit to mankind. Inspired by the teachings of the Buddha, he renounced violence and took upon himself to spread dhamma. His efforts yielded fruitful result as the teachings of the Buddha not only spread to different parts of India, but also crossed boundaries to reach foreign land. Today, worthseeing in Orissa are the Buddhist Monuments of Udayagiri, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Dhauli.
The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are also treasure trove of Buddhist heritage. Being close to Tibet, people here is influenced by the Tibetan form of Buddhism. Influence of Theravada Buddhism is also seen in the region.
Buddhist Destinations in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, today, is one of the oldest continually practising Theravada Buddhist country in the world. For a tourist desirous of exploring Buddhism in this island country, the most important destinations are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy and Dambulla. The first three have served as the capitals of Sri Lanka at one or the other point of time in history. When Buddhism reached Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura was the capital of the country. Later, after its fall, Polonnaruwa became the capital city. During this period a lot of religious reforms were carried out for the benefit of the people on the whole.
Kandy, that has also served as the capital city of Sri Lanka in the bygone era, is best known for its Temple of Tooth. The temple, as per its name, is famous for its sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. The rock caves of Dambulla are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Huge images of standing, reclining and sitting Buddha can be seen here.
Buddhist Destinations in Thailand
Thailand is a major Buddhist destination with around 95% of people following Buddhism in the country. It, infact, ranks first when it comes to countries with highest percentage of total population practising Buddhism in the world. The actual number of Buddhists in the country also makes Thailand amongst the top three Buddhist nation of the world. Due to this, wherever you go in Thailand, Buddhism invariably makes its presence felt. However, destinations which you should not miss out exploring are Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Bangkok is the current capital of Thailand and has a number of wats to be seen on your visit. Primary amongst these are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Arun. Ayutthaya too has a number of worthvisiting wats, however, it has more of a historical significance in Thai Buddhism. It was once a Buddhist Kingdom.
Buddhist Destinations in Nepal
Important Buddhist destinations in Nepal include Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Kathmandu. The first two of these are a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and are directly related to the life of the Buddha. It was in Lumbini that Lord Buddha was born to a Sakya chieftain, Sudhodhana. Kapilavastu was the place where He spent early part of His life. In Kathmandu, there are a number of Buddhist temples and shrines which unravel a whole lot of information about Buddhism in Nepal.
Buddhist Destinations in Tibet
The Himalayan kingdom of the world, Tibet is quiet popular amongst the Buddhist tourists. The Tibetan form of Buddhism is also called the Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism. You can know more about this form of Buddhism by visiting important Buddhist destinations like Lhasa, Shanna, Shigatse and Ngari. Some of the most interesting as well as revered Buddhist attractions are located in the city of Lhasa. These include the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, the Ganden Monastery, the Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. Shanna is home to the first monastery of Tibet, the Samye Monastery while Shigatse is known for Tashilunpo and Palkhor Monastery. The most important attraction in Ngari is Mt Kailash.
Buddhist Destinations in Japan
Kyoto and Nara are two important Buddhist destinations that you must visit on your Buddhist tourism to Japan. Nara was the capital of Japan when Buddhism actually started to spread rapidly in the country. Today, there are a number of Buddhist temples in the city which reveal the past of Buddhism in the area. Kyoto is known as the city of thousand temples, however as a matter of fact, the actual number of temples in the city far exceeds this figure.
Buddhist Destinations in Mongolia
Ulaanbatar is the prime Buddhist destinations for anyone visiting Mongolia for a Buddhist tourism. The city has a number of Buddhist attractions in store for you. Some of these are Gandan monastery, Choijin Lama Monastery and Bogd Khan Palace Museum.