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Buddhist Destinations in Bihar
 
IMPORTANT BUDDHIST CIRCUITS IN BIHAR

Bodhgaya
Is 15 kms. from Gaya and 112 km from Patna. About 2500 years ago, Gautam the prince of Kapilvastu attained enlightenment under the Peepal tree to become Buddha ,the founder of one of the greatest religion of world "Buddhism". The tree that stands today is said to have grown from the original Bodhi tree under which lord Buddha meditated. River Niranjana is the river where lord Buddha bathed after attaining enlightenment. The places where Lord Buddha spent seven weeks are now seven sacred shrines.

Rajgir
10 kms south of Nalanda is located in a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills .An Arial ropeway provides the link with the hill-top Stupa called "The Peace Pagoda " built by the Japanese .This is sacred to the memory of founder of both Buddhism and Jainism . Lord Buddha spend many months of retreat , used to meditate and preach on Griddhkuta, the "hills of vultures " .Lord Mahavir spent 14 years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda . It was in Rajgriha that lord Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons and converted King Bimbisara of the Magadha kingdom and countless others to his creed .

Nalanda
Literally means the place that confers the lotus. Just 90 kms south of Patna ,the university of Nalanda , founded by Gupta Emperors, was one of the oldest universities of the world which reached its zenith between 5th and 12th century AD . It had nine million books ,ten thousand students ,two thousand teachers and was a great center of learning which attracted many students from foreign countries. Hieun Tsang spent 12 yr. both as a student and teacher The ruins of the great university, the votive stupa and beautiful sculpture, a large Steinway, decorated panels, lecture halls, dormitories and images of Buddha reveal the glimpses of the past glory. Emperor Ashoka built a vihara, king Harshavardhana gifted 26-meter high copper image of Lord Buddha and Kumaragupta endowed a college of fine arts. The remains carefully excavated revealed stupas. At Nalanda one must see Nalanda University ruins, Archaeological Museum, International Center of Buddhist studies, Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall.

Vikramshila
Vikramsila is a town situated in the state of Bihar, India. It lies at a distance of approximately 40 km from the city of Bhagalpur. One of the popular Buddhist destinations in India, Vikramshila cannot boast of a direct relation with Lord Buddha. It is mainly renowned for being one of the most significant centers of Tantric Buddhism, in the 8th century AD. It also houses the famous Vikramasila University, the main intellectual as well as learning center of Tantric Buddhism.

IMPORTANT BUDDHIST CIRCUITS NEAR BIHAR
KHUSHINAGAR (Uttar Pradesh): KhushiNagar is 53 Kms. east of Gorakhpur . Gorakhpur is also a convenient base for visiting KAPILAVASTU(110 kms.) , LUMBINI (108) Kms. (both in adjacent NEPAL) & SRAVASTI (195 Kms.) which are also important Buddhist center . The Shakyamuni , Gautam Buddha breathed his last (Mahaparinivana) at KhushiNagar . KhushiNagar is the place where Tathagata , the reciter of truth passed away . The remains lie in three groups : NIRVANA TEMPLE which enshrines statue of Buddha in a reclining position . MATHA KAUR shrine has a 10th century blue schist image of the Buddha . ANGAR CHAITYA , which is popularly known as the spot where Lord Buddha was cremated by the mallas .

SARNATH
Sarnath is the shorter form of 'sarang Nath' where by Sarang means Deer & Nath means Lord . Lord Buddha , after attaining enlightenment , came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon here , 2500 years ago . DHAMEKH STUPA of 5th century AD is the biggest & the most important place where the Lord Buddha first proclaimed his faith . In front of the Dhamekh Stupa is the ASHOKA PILLAR which records the visit of emperor Ashoka to Sarnath . The great brick CHOUKHANDI STUPAS , raised by Emperor Akbar in 1555 A.D , is the actual place where Lord Buddha met his five disciples who had earlier deserted him .

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