The four holy sites refer to those destinations that have been witness to some important event in the life of Lord Buddha. They are intrinsically connected to the life of Gautam Buddha and have utmost significance in the development of Buddhism. Lord Buddha, himself, referred to these sites as most worthy of pilgrimage.
The first of these is Lumbini, the place where Gautam Buddha was born as Siddharta to Suddhodhana, the chieftain of Sakya clan. His name Sakyamuni owes its origin to the Sakya clan to which he belonged. The astrologers, on his birth had predicted that there were chance that the prince would abandon every thing and pursue a path of his own. Due to this Suddhodhana indulged prince Siddharta in pampering comforts of royalty and kept him away from the harsh reality of the life.
However, one fine day, Siddharta came face to face with the misiries of the life. This was the turning point in His life. He discarded worldly pleasures and set out in search of truth of life. Finally, in Bodhgaya, the second of the four holy sites in Buddhism, He attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. Post His enlightenment, the Buddha met His five friends/disciples and delivered His first sermon at Deer Park in Sarnath. Therefore Sarnath became the third holy site for Buddhist community. From here started a remarkable journey which not only elevated the Buddha’s status but also laid down the foundation of one of the greatest religions of the world, Buddhism.
The Buddha preached for the next 45 years and finally died at Kushinara, the last of the four holy sites in Buddhism. The death of Buddha is referred as Mahaparinirvana.
Location of the Four Holy Sites
Lumbini : Nepal
Bodhgaya : Bihar, India
Sarnath : Uttar Pradesh, India
Kushinagar : Uttar Pradesh, India
Buddhist Attractions of the Four Holy Sites
Lumbini : Sanctum-Sanctorum of the Birthplace, Maya Devi Temple, Puskarni, The Ashokan Pillar, The Buddhist Temple, The China Temple, Japan Peace Stupa.
Bodhgaya : Mahabodhi Temple, Mahabodhi Tree, The Chinese Temple Monastery, The Japanese Monastery,The Tibetan Monastery, Thai Monastery, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, Ratnagar,Animeshlochan Chaitya
Sarnath : Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath Museum, Choukhandi Stupa, Ashoka Pillar, Mulagandha Kuti Vihar.
Kushinagar/Kushinara : Mahaparinirvana Temple, Nirvana Stupa, Meditation Park, Mathakuar Shrine, Ramabhar Stupa, Japanese Temple, Kushinagar Museum, Japanese Garden, Myanmar Buddha Vihar, Wat Thai Temple, The Wat Thai, The Lin Sun Chinese Temple, Birla Temple, International Buddha Trust.