Buddhism is one of the most prevalent religions in India. It is widely believed that Buddhism was born in India with the enlightenment of Buddha. The sacred state – Bihar is the place which witnessed the process of enlightenment of Buddha. At present, Bihar still echoes the same sentient Buddhist essence like it did 2,600 years ago. Bihar is the most significant destination of the Buddhist circuit. Buddhist circuit primarily comprises of four destinations and without covering Bihar the circuit would not be accomplished. There are special train tours which let the travelers follow the footsteps of Buddha via these destinations that are significantly related to Buddha’s enlightenment and Buddhism.
The train tour will take travelers to four prime destinations – Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar are in Indian Territory whereas Lumbini falls under the territory of Nepal. However, Lumbini is also covered via the train tour as travelers get an extended bus trip to Lumbini. Apart from Lumbini, the train tour commences from Delhi and takes travelers to Bodhgaya which is the first destination of the Buddhist train tour circuit.
The visit to Bodhgaya in Gaya takes the pilgrim to the Mahabodhi Temple, which is the epicenter of Buddhism. The temple, originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka is an important archaeological and a recognized world heritage site. The temple, over the centuries has evolved as an architectural amalgam influenced by many culture and features tall stone lotuses, figures of Lord Buddha sitting in different postures on temple walls, his footprints etched on the stone and a colossal golden Buddha statue inside the temple’s sanctum. The highlight of the place is the illustrious presence of Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Besides the presence of the revered Bodhi Tree, there are other canopied attractions in Bodhgaya where Lord spent his seven weeks in meditative trance. These include Chankramana, Animesh Lochana Chaitya, Muchalinda Lake, etc. Also, the 80 ft long Buddha statue in the meditative state overlooks the city. Another Buddhist attraction in Bihar is Rajgir. Here atop the Griddhakuta or Vulture’s Hill, Lord Buddha used to meditate and preach his followers.
The next stop is Sarnath which was once a great city but now is a sacred destination that still reminds a pilgrim of the many journeys and sermons of Lord Buddha. Sarnath has an eternal association with Buddha that makes it a prime Buddhist destination. Kushinagar, the next destination is regarded as one of the favorite resorts of the Buddha. Places of Buddhist importance here include Ashokan Pillar and two Buddhist stupas.