India has a rich cultural heritage reflecting a glorious past in almost all spheres of life, social, economic, educational, academic, cultural and, most importantly, spiritual. India is the origin of Buddhism and is one of the most popular religions in the world. Buddhism started in India and the various sacred grounds are situated in this holy country. The message of Buddha spread rapidly, penetrating caste and class barriers. Buddha preached that the way to salvation was not dependent on God of Divine Grace, but on understanding the way things really are. It is essentially concerned with all living, suffering beings caught in the treadmill of desire and craving.
Buddha's life is based on various locations such as Bodhgaya, Kushinagar, Varanasi and Nalanda in India. It was in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi tree that Gautam attained enlightenment to become Buddha. King Ashoka erected a shrine near the Bodhi tree, which was replace by Mahabodhi Temple. And Kushinagar is where Lord Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. The famous sites are Mahaparinirvana temple and Ramabhar Stupa where Buddha was cremated. Nalanda University, established in the fifth century B.C., was one of the greatest monastic universities of the ancient world. But it was damaged or destroyed by the Turks in 12 century. There is also the city of Varanasi which is a city situated on the bank of the River Ganges. Varanasi is a holy city in Hinduism because it is one of the most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus of all denominations. Hindus believe that bathing in Ganga remits sins and that dying in Kashi ensures release of a person's soul from the cycle of its transmigrations.
And India has Bihar a cultural village of the country. To boost Buddhism Relates and complete the course of the Buddhism sacred ground tour, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Department of Tourism, Government of Bihar, with technical support of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara organized a two day International Buddhist Conclave entitled "Experience Buddhism - In the Land of Origin" in the vibrant environment of Nalanda and Rajgir, adjacent to Bodhgaya. The conclave will help wide-rage of people to enrich their experience with local culture and encourage and involve the local community to conceive, establish, and grow viable and sustainable livelihood through pilgrimage tourism ventures.
There is large number of other Buddhist sacred sites in India, and people from all over the world are eager to visit the destinations to follow the footsteps of the Buddha. India is obviously the most important country for Buddhism believers and many scholars keep study in order to complete the trace of Buddha's life. Also, the demands of Buddhism sacred ground tour packages are increasing in South Korea and several travel agencies have been operating the products for Korean Buddhists so it is expected that the number of the pilgrimage tourists will increase.
Thus, it will be a great opportunity to know real India if you visit the religious historical country exploring the sacred grounds of the Buddha.
Provided by the India Embassy