The Top Buddhist Sites To See In India

Mahaparinirvana
Mahaparinirvana | © myself/Wiki Commons
Sridevi Nambiar

India has much to offer anyone curious about the life of the Buddha and his teachings. From the ancient tree under which he attained enlightenment to the park where he first preached his teachings, from ancient Buddhist cave temples to gigantic statues of the Buddha – here’s a list of the most impressive Buddhist sites you should visit in India.

Gaya, Bihar

Located some 110 kilometers from the state of Bihar’s capital city Patna is Gaya district – home to one of the holiest pilgrimage sites revolving around the life of Gautama Buddha for followers of Buddhism. The Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment while sitting under a large peepal tree known as the Bodhi tree at a location which is today known as Bodh Gaya. The Maha Bodhi Temple which features a huge statue of the Buddha in a deep meditation, is another major attraction in Gaya which attracts numerous Buddhists and those curious about the life of the Buddha.

Bodh Gaya

Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh

Sarnath

Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh

This small town in Uttar Pradesh is where Buddhists believe the Buddha attained Parinirvana – the highest stage of salvation – following his death. The Parinirvana Stupa at Kushinagar is particularly well known for featuring a 6.1-meter-long reclining statue of the Buddha. Made of monolith red sandstone and placed on a large brick pedestal, the statue is considered to represent the dying Buddha. The nearby Ramabhar Stupa is where the Buddha is cremated.

Kushinagar

Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh

This ancient town in ruins today was one of the six largest cities in India during the Buddha’s lifetime. The city is the place where the Buddha lived for the longest amount of time. Ancient remains indicate that his teachings had a great following in Shravasti. Several age-old stupas and temples from the Buddha’s times still remain in the town, attracting tourists and followers from around the globe.

Angulimala’s Stupa, Shravasti

Barabar Caves

These Buddhist cave temples are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India – dating back to the 3rd century B.C.E. Located some 24 km north of Gaya in the state of Bihar, these caves were used by generations of Buddhist ascetics as well as by Jains. The caves are said to have been built by the famous Buddhist Emperor Ashoka. Featuring four major caves, called Karan Chaupar, Lomas Rishi, Sudama, and Visva Zopri, each of which are detailed with inscriptions and elaborate sculptures, these cave structures are said to have greatly influenced the likes of the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra.

Barabar Caves
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article