Buddhist Circuit in India: Explore Sacred Buddhist Sites


The Buddhist Circuit is a route that follows in the footsteps of the Buddha from Lumbini in Nepal where he was born, through Bihar in India where he attained enlightenment, to Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh in India, where he gave his first teachings and died. This iconic route only includes places where the Buddha actually spent time, and these sites – all of which are over 2500 years old – are among the most significant and revered for all Buddhists. The Buddhist Circuit is an important pilgrimage destination for the 450 million practicing Buddhists as well as travellers interested in history, culture or religion.


In India, Buddhist Circuit is in :

  • Lumbini (in Nepal) – where he was born.
  • Bodhgaya (in Bihar) – where he attained enlightenment under the
    Bodhi Tree.
  • Sarnath (in Uttar Pradesh) – where he delivered his first sermon.
  • Nalanda and Rajgir (in Bihar) – where he lived and taught, and
    Nalanda, in particular, became the center of Buddhist learning and
  • Kushinagar (in Uttar Pradesh) – where he died.
  • Kapilavastu (on India Nepal Border) – Kapilvastu is deeply endowed
    with the Buddha’s origins. It is believed that Buddha spent his first early
    years here before embarking on the long journey to enlightenment.
  • Vaishali (in Bihar)– Buddha’s last sermon delivered.
  • Sravasti (in Uttar Pradesh) – Buddha spent twenty four rainy seasons
    here at the Jetavan monastery, built by his disciple Sudatta
  • Kausambi (in Uttar Pradesh) – Buddha is believed to have stayed and
    preached at Kausambi.
buddhist circuit in India map
                                                                                                                  Image source: www.irctcbuddhisttrain.com 
  1. Bodhgaya: Located in Bihar, this is the place where Prince Siddhartha
    found enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. After meditating for 49 days,
    he became Lord Buddha, the Enlightened One. In Bodhgaya, the
    important tourist attractions are Bodhi Tree, Mahabodhi Temple,
    Vajrasana Throne donated by King Ashoka, Muchalinda Lake, Animesh
    Lochan Chaitya, some other holy trees like Ratnachankramana,
    Ratnagaraha, Ajapala Nigrodha and Rajyatna. It also has a number of
    monasteries, established by Buddhists of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Japan,
    Thailand, etc. Hence, it is a major attraction for foreign tourists.
  2. Sarnath: This is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. This
    was given after he achieved enlightenment. Sarnath is about 10 km from
    the holy city of Varanasi. It was at Sarnath that Buddha established his
    sangha or first disciples to promote his new doctrine. The proud symbol
    of India, the famous lion capital pillar or the Ashoka pillar was erected by
    King Ashoka originally at Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath. You also can see
    Chaukhandi Stupa, Mulagandha Kuti Vihar and Sarnath Ashram here.
  3. Kushinagar: This place is located in the Gorakhpur district in eastern
    Uttar Pradesh, India. It is en route to Kapilavastu, the place where Lord
    Buddha fell ill and died in 543 BC. It is said that the mortal remains of
    Lord Buddha were distributed by King Ashoka into more than 80,000
    stupas across his kingdom and outside. Important places to see here are
    Mukatanabandhana Stupa and the reclining Buddha statue in red
    sandstone. Other attractions are Wat Thai Temple, Chinese Temple,
    Japanese Temple, Mahanirvana Temple, etc. This is the place where Lord
    Buddha attained salvation.
  4. Vaishali: This was the place where Lord Buddha gave his last sermon.
    The place is 60 km away from the capital of Bihar, Patna. It is said that
    Buddha told his disciple Ananda about his imminent demise in this place.
    The place is also known for the second Buddhist Council, which took
    place about 110 years later.
  5. Rajgir: Rajgir, about 70 km from Bodhgaya, was the Lord’s monsoon
    retreat for 12 years. While spreading his doctrine, He preached about the
    precepts of Lotus Sutra and the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra. The location
    was Gridhakuta Hill in Rajgir. The first Buddhist council was held at the
    Saptaparni Caves on Vaibhar Hill in Rajgir. The teachings of Buddha
    were compiled after his death and preached in the council. The worldrenowned university of Nalanda is another important site to visit in
  6. Shravasti: Shravasti was Buddha’s favourite rainy season retreat. It was
    located about 150 km from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and it was at this
    place Buddha performed his first miracle.
  7. Lumbini: Situated in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, Lumbini is the place where Lord Buddha was born. Today, it is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. Being a neighbour country, Lumbini is also sometimes included in the Buddhist Circuit in India by tour operators.

Buddhist Circuit Route:-

Lumbini→ Bodhgaya→ Sarnath→ Kushinagar
From Lumbini in Nepal, where Lord Buddha was born, to Bodhgaya, where He
attained enlightenment, to Sarnath, where He preached, to Kushinagar where He
achieved salvation.

Plans for Development:-

  • In July 2014, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the
    route and areas covering important Buddhist destinations of the country,
    popularly termed as Buddhist Circuit, will be developed into a high class
    tourist centre with all modern amenities.
  • The objective is to attract more tourists from all over the world and
    increase the growth of the tourism industry.
  • It is considered a great initiative by tour operators, with the expectation of
    a big boom.

Other Buddhist Destinations in India:-

  • Arunachal Pradesh – Bomdila and Tawang.
  • Sikkim – Kalimpong and Rumtek.
  • Jammu & Kashmir – Ladakh, Harwan, Ambarani and Parihaspura.
  • Himachal Pradesh – Spiti, Kinnaur and Dharamshala.
  • Haryana – Stupa at Sugh, Yamunanagar and Asangh (Jind).
  • Madhya Pradesh – Sardarah, Sanchi and Murakott.
  • Maharashtra – Karala, Ellora, Kanheri, Ajanta Caves, Pitalgora and Nasik
  • West Bengal – Darjeeling and Kolkata (Indian Museum).
  • Andhra Pradesh – Amravati, Salihunda, Borrah Caves and

Types of Tourism Impact:-

  1. Economic Impact
  2. Socio and Culture Impact
  3. Environment Impact


The Buddhist Circuit contains the most valuable & unique location in India.
These are often neglected and need special attention from tourism perspective.
However, Buddhist Circuit has potential for large foreign currency, maximize
economic growth & create employment opportunities as well.

Buddhist Circuit In India Notes pdf



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