Pilgrimage Destinations for Buddhist Tourist

Pilgrimage Destinations for Buddhist tourists have been carefully selected by IRCTC. The train takes them on an 8-day journey where tourists get to learn the Teachings of Buddhism. Everything that this religion embraces is felt up close to provide an enriching experience. On this destination trip, they travel to both India and Nepal where Buddhism took roots and thrived.

Everything from their monasteries, the facilities they had and the code of conduct they adhered to is there in these places. Upon completing this journey, we guarantee that you will emerge out more calm, optimistic and understanding of both humanity and mother nature. Below are the Key Pilgrimage Destinations


Gaya is an integral part of Buddhist legacy. It is famous for Vishnupad temple which is popular among all tourists for its tale that the demon gayasura must never go hungry. According to legend the demon gayasura sought only one thing which was that whoever saw him attains salvation. However Lord Vishnu was not pleased to see this as only men who lived their life in righteous manner should attain salvation. He then put his foot on gayasura’s head and sent him beneath surface so that he is at mercy of kindness. This stopped immoral people from achieving salvation and helped people who are kind and considerate achieve salvation by offering food to the place where Vishnu’s footprint is embedded. The food always disappears and if gayasura is not fed for a day then he may come out again and make achieving salvations easy.

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Bodhgaya: An Ideal Place of Buddhist Travel in India

Gautam Buddha attained his enlightenment in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi Tree. All pilgrims are asked to perform rites for their departed ancestors as it appeases them upon their visit to one of the main attractions of Buddhist tourism in India.

Maha Bodhi Temple

Maha Bodhi Temple is a significant attraction of Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and is in the shape of a slender pyramid that is 52 meters tall on a square base of 15 meters. There are four small towers at the corners of the square each wrapped in a spire. Inside the temple, Lord Buddha is seated in a meditative posture and is facing east. It is said that the idol is 1700 years old and is precisely how Buddha was sitting when he attained enlightenment. There is also a shrine made of diamond erected by Emperor Ashoka.

Bodhi Tree

When you take part in Pilgrimage tourism in India, you cannot miss the Bodhi Tree. It is a direct descendant of the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. According to legend, he walked while meditating and the path he walked on is surrounded with lotuses and is called Jewel Walk. A stupa is also situated right in front of it and goes by the name Animeschalochana.

Holy Buddha Tourism takes you to Niranjana River

IRCTC Buddhist Tourist Train takes you to the Niranjana River which is the old name of the Phalgu river. It needs to be on every itinerary of Buddhist travel in India. The river is extremely pious and is considered an ideal place for performing last rites. According to legend, it is said that a woman challenged Buddha's divinity. She gave him a golden bowl and claimed that it wouldn’t go upstream. All the previous bowls that were sent in the river by Buddha went upstream whereas those of ordinary people went downstream. When Buddha finally sent his dish, it went upstream erasing all doubt.

80 Ft Buddha:

This statue of Lord Buddha is the tallest in India and was instated by the Dalai Lama in 1989. It is a meditating Buddha resting on a giant lotus, constructed using intricately carved sandstone and red granite.

Thai Monastery:

Well known for its curved roof covered with exquisite tiles of gold, the Thai Monastery houses a bronze statue of Buddha in the garden.

Sujata Kutti:

Sujatha Temple is dedicated to a humble tribal woman named Sujatha who offered pudding (Milk Rice) to Gautam Buddha. It is said that the pudding was the first meal Gautam Buddha had consumed after years of starvation ever since he renounced the materialistic life including food to attain enlightenment. The temple is considered to be very important as the offering is believed to have saved Lord Buddha's life.

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Rajgir: Famous Buddhist Pilgrimage Destination

Rajgir is another holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. Devotees of Lord Mahavira and Gautam Buddha are known to visit Rajgir in huge numbers. In the Rajgir Buddhist sector tour, IRCTC covers Bimbisara Jail, Gridhakuta Hills and Venuvana Monastery.

Bimbisara Jail

Bimbisara Jail is an essential Buddhist travel destination. It is a ruin of big square stones where his son Ajashatru imprisoned King Bimbisara. Ajashatru did not like anything his father did and was easily persuaded by Devdutta who wanted to become Sangh Leader which was not possible if Bimbisara was king. He imprisoned his father as he ruled Magadh along with Devdutta.

Gridhakuta Hills

Gridhakuta hills are shaped like a sitting vulture hence the name. Buddha used to rest here after the day’s preaching frequently.

Venuvana Monastery

King Bimbisara built Venuvana as an offering to Buddha. It is a Japanese styled shrine surrounded in a bamboo grove and one of the famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India.

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Nalanda: Discover Nalanda on Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour in India covers Nalanda which was a significant town where Buddhism was practiced with sincerity. It was an esteemed center for learning and practicing Buddhism for over 800 years starting the 5th Century.

Nalanda Ruins

Nalanda ruins make one wonder what the university would have been in its prime. One can observe the vast arrays of compounds, dormitories, temples, meditation halls, library, and other educational infrastructures during Buddha Tourism.

Nalanda Archaeological Site

At the Nalanda Archaeological site one of the leading Buddhist Pilgrimage Destinations you can observe the salvaged items excavated from the Nalanda Ruins along with other preserved relics of that time.

Nalanda International University

Nalanda International University currently offers only masters programs with the promise of Ph.D. programs in the future. Now, three schools have been established a school of historical studies, School of Ecology and Environmental Studies, School of Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative religion.

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Varanasi is known as the spiritual capital of India. It is also known as Kashi since it is popular for funeral rites to give peace to the departed. It is known as Benares as a dip in the holy river of Ganges helps pilgrims absolve all their sins. Lord Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of the world and is revered hugely by devotees of Lord Shiva. A lot of smaller shrines and mosques are surrounded near the temple making the place a mecca of pilgrimage. Tha Japan Vali Well also known as the well of wisdom is believed to be dug by lord Shiva himself. Buddhists in the region can reap rewards of a lifetime of asceticism as Lord Buddha travelled 200 km on foot before he arrived at the Ghats of Ganga and attained nirvana.

Ganges Boat ride and Evening Aarti ceremony:

In the evening, enjoy a boat ride along the ghats of River Ganges to witness the Hindu rituals. Witness the grand Evening Aarti where thousands of locals and pilgrims gather together to offer their prayers to the Mother Ganges.

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Sarnath: Sarnath a must see Buddhist Travel Destination

Buddha religious tours and travels take you to Sarnath. It is located in Uttar Pradesh near the point where Ganges and Varuna river meet. Buddha gave his first sermon here.

Dhamekh Stupa

Emperor Ashok built Dhamekh Stupa in 249 BCE. It is a majestic and massive structure with a diameter of 28 m and height of 43.6 m. Buddhist pilgrims circumambulate the cylindrical red stone stupa while worshipping.

Sarnath Museum

Sarnath Museum contains vast relics and curios of Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. It also houses many artifacts, coins, and sculptures from the Maurya Dynasty including the Lion Capital sculpture as the centerpiece. It is best explored with Buddhist tours and travels.

Mulagandha Kuti Vihar

Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is a temple with a big bell at the entrance and prayer wheels which pilgrims can turn clockwise to offer their loyalty. It is surrounded by trees and was used as a monastery initially. Inside the temple are beautifully done frescoes on the wall and ceiling which often take one’s breath away.

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Kushinagar: Buddhist Religious Tours and Travels take you to Kushinagar

Kushinagar is a town in Uttar Pradesh and a Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is the place where Buddha attained parinirvana after his death.

Parinirvan Stupa and Temple

The Parinirvan temple is a small structure of the white building in the shape of a dome. Inside the temple is a big golden statue of Buddha lying down with a hint of a smile on his face.

IIt is surrounded by a small number of buildings and a lot of farmland which creates a stronger atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

Rambhar Stupa

Rambhar Stupa is one of the most sacred shrines of Buddhism and a play of Holy Pilgrimage for Buddhists. Lord Buddha is cremated here and throughout his life had many discourses at this place. The stupa is more than 50 meters tall and has a pond close by. It is on a mound facing the road connecting Kushinagar and Deoria.

Matha Kuar Shrine

Matha Kuar Shrine has a 3 m high statue of Lord Buddha which has been carved from a single stone. It displays an enlightened Buddha sitting under a Bodhi Tree.

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Lumbini: Buddhist Tours and Travel takes you to Lumbini

Lumbini is covered in the Indian Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours. It is the holy place where Buddha was born. The sacred site is 4.8 km in length and 1.6 km in width. No shops, restaurants, hotels are allowed in its vicinity under the religious law which states only monasteries will be allowed near the holy land.

Ashokan Pillar

The Ashokan Pillar is made from pink sandstone and stands at 6 meters. It stands next to Mayadevi Temple where Buddha was born. It is one of few Ashokan pillars to have an inscription.

Mayadevi Temple

Mayadevi Temple marks the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. It is surrounded by a sacred pool on one side and holy garden on the other side. Hop on the IRCTC Buddhist train to get here.

Inside the temple is stone with the characters of Buddha’s name engraved and paintings depicting his birth.

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Shravasti: Shravasti a mainstay of Buddhist pilgrimage tour in India

According to Legend Gautam Buddha spent 24 chaturmasya in Shravasti. It was also one of the largest cities in India at the time. It was a prosperous trading and religious center for both Jains and Buddhists and is a site of great interest when it comes to Buddhist Tourism in India.

Jetavana Monastery

Jetavana Monastery was a crucial part of Lord Buddha’s life as he passes 19 of 45 vases here. It has small stupas, buddha’s hut gandhakuti and anandabodhi tree for meditation respecting and preserving Buddhist pilgrimage in India.

Pakki Kutti

Pakki Kutti or angulimala’s stupa is an excavation site where idols and inscriptions of the Buddhist period can be found. Lord Buddha calmed the local dacoit Angulimala on his journey when he taught him that violence is wrong. The dacoit learned how wrong his conduct was and quickly accepted Buddhism to correct his behavior. This makes it one of the must-see Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in India as most of us seek redemption from time to time.

Sahet Mahet

Sahet and Mahet are separated by half a kilometer. Sahet has the foundations and bases of statues as the idols have been restored in a museum. Maher, on the other hand, has the remains of the massive gates. Buddhists built to protect their town from attacks. It is covered in the Buddhist Sector Tour.

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Agra: The Final Journey

It is impossible to think of Agra and not think of Taj Mahal. However, that is not all which tourists come to see when on pilgrimage tourism in India.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal was inspired by the great love story between Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The mausoleum is made from scintillating marble and is the main attraction in the complex. Other buildings include minarets, gardens and a reflecting pool.

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