Buddhist Temples, Monuments & Stupas

The Originator of Buddhism: Lord Buddha
Renowned Buddhist Festivals:Buddhist Jayanati, Sindhu Darshan Fesival, Hemis Festival
Famous Buddhist Temples: Bodhi Temples, Ajanta Caves, Sanchi Stupa
Buddhist Sites in India: Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Lumbini

"To the Blessed One, the Lord who fully attained perfect enlightenment, We render with offerings, our rightful homage"

Buddhist Temple, Sanchi It was during the sixth century BC, when a solitary, wandering ascetic, sat to meditate beneath a shady tree, resolving not to rise until he had attained the ultimate knowledge of spiritual enlightenment. Thus began Buddhism, one of the world's great religions and pilgrimage traditions.

King Asoka, the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan dynasty had a great influence on the growth of Buddhism in India. His life is a story of a cruel and ruthless king who converted to Buddhism.

Temples store and display sacred Buddhist objects, and some of them used to or still function as monasteries. Structures typically found at Buddhist temples are:

Main hall: The sacred objects of worship, such as statues, are displayed in the main hall.

Lecture hall: Lecture halls are for meetings and lectures and often also display objects of worship.

Gates: Gates mark the entrance to the temple grounds. There is usually one main gate, and possibly several additional gates, for example, along the temple's main approach.

Bell: On New Year's eve, temple bells are rang 108 times, corresponding to the Buddhist concept of 108 worldly desires.

There are many places which are associated with the Buddhist mysticism for example. Bodhgaya, where Gautam Buddha attained "Enlightenment" under the sacred Bodhi tree, Sarnath, Kushinagar. There are numerous Buddhist Monastries in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Tripura , Ladakh. It is said that Buddha traveled widely preaching his philosophy. At the age of 80, in the forest of Kushinagar, he entered perfect tranquility-the state of "Parinirvana"(death). Every year visitors from all parts of the world come here to visit these places, where Gautam Buddha preached peace, purity and love.

Some of the famous Buddhist Temples in India are:
Bodhi Temple
This place is famous for the holy bodhi tree where Buddha attained supreme enlightenment in the 6th century BC. This massive tree is encircled by creepers and a grassy woodland surrounded by pure waters of the Neranjara river. Once Buddha achieved enlightenment, he never looked back, and never visited this place again. But he did recommend it as one of the four memorable places worth visiting for inspiration. The 5 essential parts which display the essence of Buddhism can still be found, they are the tree, throne, jewel walk, temple and stone railing. You can easily spend weeks on touring this ancient place, reliving the golden moments at your leisure, with delightful rest houses and monasteries, spread across Bodhgaya.    more...

Sanchi Stupas
Sanchi, 68 kilometers north of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, has one of the most well protected and uniquely designed Stupas. Apart from this, one can also see and analyze the life cycle of Buddhist art and architecture during a period of about 1500 years which almost covers the entire range of Indian Buddhism. Built by king Ashoka, the most famous Buddhist rulers of India. Ashoka built a total of eight Stupas on the hilltop of Sanchi including the Great Stupas.    more...

Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi TempleBuilt by emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, this temple has an exquisite architect, the central attraction of this site being a huge Idol of Buddha in the 'Bhumisparsa Mudra'. The temple is a fifty-meter tall pyramidal tower, crowned with a bell like Stupa. The base is a fifteen-meter square two-storey structure supporting four smaller towers identical to their central counterpart. Inside the temple sits a large Idol of Buddha in the 'Bhumisparsa Mudra'. This image is said to be 1700 years old and is facing east exactly at the place where the Buddha, sitting in meditation with his back to the Bodhi tree, was enlightened.    more...

Tabo Monastery
Tabo Monastery Founded more than a millennium back in 996 AD, Tabo Monastery is popularly known as "Ajanta of the Himalayas". Located 46-km east of Kaza, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, it holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns' chamber. The Temple of the Enlightened Gods, also known as the Assembly Hall and forms the core of the complex. The monastery temples house a priceless collection of manuscripts and Buddhist scroll paintings, historical, exquisite statues in stuccos, frescos and murals depicting tales from the Mahayana Buddhist sect. The walls are decorated with fine paintings.    more...

Ellora Caves Ellora Caves
Ellora caves lay in the lap of the Chamadari hills extending over a mile and a quarter in the north-south direction and are situated 18 miles northwest of Aurangabad. Ellora caves are finest specimens of cave temple architecture. They house elaborate facades and exquisitely adorned interiors. The themes are intensely religious in tone and Centre round Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha.    more...

Ajanta Caves
Situated 52 kms from Jalgaon Railway station, the caves consist of 30 Caves including the unfinished ones, of which five are chaitya-grihas and the rest are viharas (monasteries). These are dated back from 200 BC to 250 AD and have two basic type of monastic. Buddhist architecture preserved at Ajanta are the Chaitya or prayer hall and Viharas or monastery These caves suggest a well defined form of architecture, broadly resolving into two phases with a time gap of about 4 Centuries from each other.    more...

Karla Caves
The Karla mountains, probably dating back to 160 BC, harbor the largest cluster of Chaitya caves. Their sheer rock faces provide the appropriate terrain for a rock climber to reach up to the white, fluffy clouds. Karla caves are 2,000 years and it is a very easy trek where one can explore old rock-cut Buddhist architecture. Early Buddhist rock-cut caves can be found all over the Sahyadris. They served as monasteries and were built along the region's ancient trade routes connecting important inland towns.    more...

Bhaja Caves
Situated 12km from lonavla station, this is a high-water mark of Buddhist architecture. The principal cave is the largest Chaitya among Buddhist cave in the country, Being 15meters wide and 16 meters high. The most remarkable feature of the cave is its arched roof supported by wooden beams which have astonishingly survived the onslaught of elements for more than 2,000 years. The Wooden Umbrella above the Chaitya is unique in the Buddhist caves around the world. The whole system of lighting depends on the enormous sun windows through which cleverly diffused light with its light and shadows gives a great sense of solemnity   more...

Kanheri Caves
Buddhist caves at Kanheri are about 42-km away from Mumbai, situated on Salsette Island amidst wooded hills and valleys. These caves are an excellent work of architecture. According to the historians the caves were caved between 200 BC and 600 AD. Few sculptures excavated in these caves are amazing and beautiful. In these Buddhist caves or monasteries, which are Spartan and bare, monks practiced their austerities around the second century AD. The complex contains 109 caves cut by hand on the flank of a hill; each fitted with a stone plinth that evidently served as a bed.    more...

Junnar Caves
Junnar, the birth place of the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji, is 177 kms from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Aurangabad route. The hills surrounding the plains of Junnar are honeycombed with a cluster of Buddhist caves. These caves are divided into three distinct groups, the Tulija Lena Group which has a circular dome ceiling in the Chaitya Hall, the second group of caves are located 1.5 kms south of the town, towards the Manmodi Hills and the third group, Ganesh Lena Group is located 4 kms south of Junnar.

Hemis Gompa
45-km Southeast Of Leh, Ladakh Region, J&K, Hemis is the most famous Gompa in Ladakh. Every year in mid-July hundreds of foreign visitors join the huge crowds of locals, dressed up in their finest traditional garb, that flock to watch the colorful two-day pageant. Hemis Gompa is the largest and one of the most important in Ladakh quite apart from its annual festival. It was founded about 350 years ago by Stagtshang Rinchen, who was invited to Ladakh by king Singe (also spelt as Sengge) Namgyal.    more...

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