India is a place where thousands of god and goddesses are worshiped. Further, India is a place of origin of Buddhism and is thus replete with several holy Buddhist sites. There are four main sacred cities of Buddhists pilgrimage in India which includes Lumbini- the place of birth of Gautama Buddha, Bodhgaya- the place where he attained enlightenment, Sarnath-where he delivered his first teaching and Kushinagar-where he attained Mahaparinirvana or salvation. These pilgrimage tours are exceptionally well-planned and well taken care of by government bodies and several devotees also come forward to offer their services to help pilgrims in their long and taxing journey.

Lumbini: Birthplace of Buddha

Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha and is now located near the Nepal-India border north of Gorakpur. A large number of ancient Buddhist establishments, stupas, chaityas, temples and monastery sites have been excavated and they show that this was one of the most important Buddhist centers of worship and culture.

Bodhgaya: Site of Buddha's Enlightenment

Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. It is also an important Buddhist center. This is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. Buddhists from all over the world flock to Bodhgaya, along with non-Buddhists who come to learn about Buddhism and meditation. Bodh Gaya is located about 13 km from Gaya, 450 km west of Calcutta, and 90 km south of Patna. Some of the places to see are Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree.

Sarnath: First turning of wheel of Dharma

Sarnath is the place where Buddha felt the first turning of wheel of Dharma. All the 1,000 buddhas of this aeon, after demonstrating the attainment of enlightenment at Vajrasana, proceed to Sarnath to give the first turning of the wheel of Dharma. This is the place where he delivered his first teaching and Kushinagar-where he attained Mahaparinirvana or salvation.

Furthermore, the most attractive feature of the landscape of India are the Buddhist Pilgrimages . These aesthetically pleasing and architecturally interesting gompas provide the focus for the faith of the highly religious Buddhist people. These are the places which are for worship, isolated meditation and religious instructions for the young. Hemis is the biggest Gompa of Ladakh, was established by king Singe Namgyal in the 17th century. It is famous for its magnificent summer festival, which the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Moreover, the annual festival celebration held at the Buddhist Pilgrimages are a colorful sight with masked dances and religious ceremonies drawing both pilgrims and tourists in large numbers.

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