If you are a follower of Buddhism, then you must have heard about the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train introduced by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC). This remarkable tour takes travelers on a pilgrimage to some of the most sacred Buddhist temples, offering an opportunity to explore the rich spiritual heritage of India and Nepal.
Here are five Buddhist temples you must visit at least once in your lifetime on this unforgettable journey:
- Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya:
The journey begins in Bodh Gaya, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the spiritual heart of this town. This magnificent temple complex is an architectural marvel, and its sacred significance cannot be overstated. Pilgrims from all over the world come here to offer prayers and meditate in the serene surroundings. The Bodhi Tree, a direct descendant of the original tree under which Buddha meditated, stands as a symbol of enlightenment.
- Vulture Peak, Rajgir:
Rajgir, nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Bihar, is another essential stop on the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train. It is believed that Buddha spent many years in meditation here and delivered important sermons. Vulture Peak, or Gridhakuta Hill, was one of his favorite meditation spots. As you climb to the top of this hill, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The peace and tranquility here provide the perfect setting for contemplation and meditation.
- Mahaparinirvana Temple, Kushinagar:
Kushinagar is the place where Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, marking the end of his earthly journey. The Mahaparinirvana Temple, built in memory of this event, is a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Inside the temple, you’ll find a stunning reclining Buddha statue, which is a poignant reminder of Buddha’s final moments on earth. The temple complex is a place of deep reflection and reverence, where pilgrims pay their respects to the Enlightened One.
- The Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath:
Sarnath is the site where Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. The Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath is one of the most important Buddhist monuments, marking the exact spot where Buddha preached the Dharma to his first five disciples. The serenity of Sarnath, coupled with its rich historical significance, makes it a must-visit destination on the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train. Explore the Sarnath Archaeological Museum to view an extensive collection of Buddhist sculptures and artifacts.
- The Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, Nepal:
While not in India, Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, is an essential stop on this journey. Located just across the border in Nepal, Lumbini is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Maya Devi Temple, dedicated to Buddha’s mother is one of the most significant attractions here. Pilgrims and tourists flock to Lumbini to pay homage to the Buddha’s birthplace and explore the spiritual significance of this sacred site.
The Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train, with its comfortable accommodations and guided tours, provides a seamless and enriching experience for travelers. The journey not only takes you to these sacred temples but also offers opportunities for meditation and reflection at each site. It’s a spiritual pilgrimage that allows you to immerse yourself in the teachings and history of Buddhism, providing a deeper understanding of the path to enlightenment.
So, if you want to undertake a spiritual odyssey to these timeless temples of Buddhism, simply book your journey on www.irctcbuddhisttrain.com. Once you book your tour, you need not worry about details such as Buddhist temple timings, transportation, meals, etc. as everything is taken care of!