ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Five Sacred Buddhist Destinations

Updated on April 19, 2014
Resplendent Buddha, Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya
Resplendent Buddha, Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

Buddhists round the world dream about visiting the sacred sites graced by The Buddha..The most significant of these are Lumbini where The Buddha was born, Nepal, Bodh Gaya in India where he attained enlightenment, Sarnath where he preached his first sermon, and Kushinagar where he died. There are also places sacred to Buddhists in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia .



Nepal is proud of its link to The Buddha. Even the airport in the town of Bhairahawa near Lumbini is known as Gautam Buddha Airport. You’ll find the exact location of The Buddha’s birth in the inner shrine of the Maya Devi Temple. The temple is dedicated to Mahamaya, the mother of Lord Buddha. Until 1886 The Buddha’s birthplace was a mystery. Then along came Dr. Alois A Fuhrer, a German archaeologist who discovered the stone pillar erected by King Ashoka the Great. The inscription on the pillar mentioned Lumbini as the birth place of The Buddha.


Bodh Gaya

To Buddhists, perhaps Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage destination. It was here that Siddhartha Gautama became The Buddha (The Awakened One). The descendant of the bodhi tree beneath which he meditated and attained enlightenment still stands today on the premises of the MahabodhiTemple. You’ll see green, red and white prayer flags fluttering from the branches and seven shrines that represent The Buddha’s seven weeks in this small town. The Buddha preached his famous dramatic Fire Sermon in Bodh Gaya. Interestingly, T.S. Elliot included part of this sermon in his poem, The Wasteland’.

While in Bodh Gaya, don’t forget to visit other places linked to The Buddha. There’s Rajgir where the First Buddhist Council was held three months after The Buddha’s death. Visit the serene cave on VulturePeak where The Buddha meditated and the bamboo grove where he spent cool afternoons in the heat of summer.

Nearby, Nalanda was famous for the world’s first international Buddhist university. A visit to the ruins of NalandaUniversity is a must. Today there is still an international center for Buddhist studies here and 40% of the students come from overseas.


Five weeks after his enlightenment, The Buddha traveled to this deer park to preach his first sermon. On the very spot where he preached, stands the enormous Dharmekh Stupa in tranquil green surroundings. It was built by Emperor Ashoka and is said to house a relic of The Buddha.

There are many monasteries around Sarnath, home to monks from all over the world.


A large number of Buddhists come to Kushinagar every day. The Buddha died here at the age of eighty after eating a dish of poisonous mushrooms offered by a well meaning devotee. Inside the MahaparinirvanaTemple, you can see the Nirvana statue which is among the most famous images of The Buddha in the world. This 5th century sandstone statue of the dying Buddha is covered with gold and shrouded in silk. The stupa next to the temple is said to mark the place of The Buddha’s cremation.

Sri Lanka


When Buddhism arrived here in the 4th century BC, Anuradhapura was the capital of this island country. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit the eight main places of worship here, including the holiest of them all – the Sri Maha Bodhi temple. This temple boasts the world’s oldest recorded tree It is a fig tree said to be descended from the original bodhi tree in India beneath which The Buddha attained enlightenment.


Polonnaruwa became the capital after the destruction of Anuradhapura. You can see wonderful statues of The Buddha in Gal Vihare, including one which is 46 feet tall.

The 11th century Atadage (House of Eight Relics) here is said to be the first temple built to house the tooth relics.


Kandy, famous for its Temple of the Tooth (it houses a tooth of The Buddha) was also the capital of Sri Lanka at one time.


At Dambulla, the rock caves with huge images of The Buddha are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


You’ll find Buddhist places of interest across Thailand where Buddhism is the major religion. The best places to visit are Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand today has numerous Buddhist temples worth seeing. Among these, the most interesting are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Arun.

In Ayutthaya you can find the most well preserved medieval monuments such as stupas with typical Thai "lotus bud" domes in the AyutthayaHistoricalPark.


Buddhism is a minor religion in Indonesia, but the country possesses the largest Buddhist monument in the world – the stupa of Borobudur on the island of Java. The massive 9th century stupa carved from volcanic stone is embellished with 1460 reliefs and 1212 decorative panels.

Bodh Gaya - the Place of The Buddha's Enlightenment by Lama Dorje


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Anita Saran profile imageAUTHOR

      Anita Saran 

      4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Many thanks for reading Arun!

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      4 years ago from KOLKATA

      The sacred sites graced by The Buddha have been very neatly described. I have enjoyed going through the nice hub. Thank you.

    • Anita Saran profile imageAUTHOR

      Anita Saran 

      4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Thank you Sunil!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Good article. I loved and enjoyed. Also shared. Thanks for sharing your knowledge here.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)