Buddhism in Bihar
Bihar is regarded as the holy land of Buddhism in India, which has many sites closely linked with the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha attained enlightened in BodhGaya in Bihar, performing heavy meditation in search of truth under the Bodhi tree. The tree under which he attained enlightenment is considered a sacred site of Buddhism in Bihar.
After his Mahaparinirvana, all major sites related to Buddha became major pilgrimage sites. Bihar became the last haven of Buddhism in India but Biharis still worship Buddha, considering him as reincarnation of Hindu deity, Vishnu. Prime Bihar Buddhist sites include
Gaya : Gaya is significant for Buddhists as Buddha preached His famous Fire sermon. A museum displays an excellent collection of Buddhist artifacts.
BodhGaya : BodhGaya is among prime Buddhist places in Bihar for pilgrims. Prince Siddharta attained Enlightenment here, becoming the Buddha.
Vaishali : Lord Buddha delivered his sermons frequently. The second Buddhist Council was held here, after almost a century of his Mahaparinirvana.
Nalanda : Nalanda developed as great center of Buddhist learning. In Nalanda, one can see ruins of the world’s greatest Universities of 5th century with many temples and monasteries.
Rajgir : Rajgir is another of important Buddhist sites in Bihar as Lord Buddha spent much of his time, preaching many sermons, here.
Barabar Caves : Barabar caves are famous for the earliest rock cut caves in India. Dating back to 200 BC, it was built by Ashoka, the caves including Nagarjuna, Pandava and Hut caves.
Gurpa : A small village atop a hill, Gurpa houses many Hindu and Buddhist shrines and their relics. It is associated with the successor of Lord Buddha, Maha Kassapa.
Ghosrawan : Ghosrawan village stands on the site of a major Buddhist monastery that once existed. A huge Buddha statue in sitting posture that is nearly 10 feet tall is carved out of shiny black stone.
Hajipur : Ashes of Ananda, disciple of Lord Buddha are preserved in a Stupa over which stands the Hindu temple, Ramchaura Mandir.
Jethian : In 7th century AD, Jethian served as the seat of power of Jayasena, the famous saint.
Indasala Caves : Indasala caves lies at the base of a cliff, halfway of Giriyek Mountain. Placed atop the mountain is the Hansa Stupa, which is the complete Stupa that still exists in India.
Kesaria : It houses the world’s largest stupa at 104 feet.
Patna : On his final journey to Kushinagar, Lord Buddha visited Patna where He delivered His final discourse.