In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Vedas were thrown into the background. There was much priest craft everywhere. The insincere priests traded on religion. They duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were quite irreligious. In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of the cruel priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed innocent dumb animals and did various sacrifices. The country was in dire need of a reformer of Buddha's type. At such a critical period, when there were cruelty, degeneration and unrighteousness everywhere, reformer Buddha was born to put down priestcraft and animal sacrifices, to save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere. Buddha's father was Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas. Buddha's mother was named Maya.

Buddha was born in B.C. 560 and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480. The place of his birth was a grove known as Lumbini, near the city of
Kapilavastu, at the foot of MountPalpa in the Himalayan ranges within Nepal. This small city Kapilavastu stood on the bank of the little river Rohini, some hundred miles north-east of the city of Varanasi. As the time drew nigh for Buddha to enter the world, the gods themselves prepared the way before him with celestial portents and signs.

Flowers bloomed and gentle rains fell, although out of season; heavenly music was heard, delicious scents filled the air. The body of the child bore at birth the thirty-two auspicious marks (Mahavyanjana) which indicated his future greatness, besides secondary marks (Anuvyanjana) in large numbers. Maya died seven days after her son's birth. The child was brought up by Maya's sister Mahaprajapati, who became its foster-mother.

-: To make your search easy, here is a list of Budhist tourism packages at reasonable rates :-

»»Lumbini Tours

The Lotus Path is travel guide for all the people interested in visiting the eight important sites associated with the life of Buddha. In the subsequent pages, we will provide you with very well researched information on the eight most revered pilgrimage centres for the Buddhist. The Lotus Path takes you on the tour of the eight destinations are Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sankasya, Vaishali and Rajgir and Sravasti. All these destinations have some deep relevance with Lord Buddha right from his birth till his death. On the day before his death Buddha included Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar as the four places he considered to be sacred to his followers.


»»Bodhgaya Tours

Bodhgaya is 13 km from Gaya in Bihar. It is the site where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment under a pipal tree after years of search for the truth and knowledge. He attained the supreme enlightenment and became 'The Buddha' or 'the Enlightened One'. Bodhgaya is the most sacred pilgrimage center for Buddhists from all over the world. The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya is listed in the World Heritage Site.


»»Sarnath Tours

Sarnath, 10 km from the holy city of Varanasi, is an important site of the Buddhist Circuit. Buddha came to Sarnath soon after he attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya. He delivered his first sermon or Maha Dharma Chakra Pravartan (To Set in Motion the Wheel of Law) at the Deer Park in Sarnath. Emperor Ashoka visited Sarnath 234 BC and erected a stupa here. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD.


»»Kushinagar Tours

Kushinagar is 51 km from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Kushinagar is significant because it is the place where Buddha attained the state of Mahaparinirvana or Permanent Bliss at the age of 80. The pilgrims as well as the tourists from all over the world visit Kushinagar for its historical significance. Three great Chinese scholars Fa-Hien, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsing, who traveled to India, also visited Kushinagar.


»»Sankasya Tours

Sankasya is 47 km from Farrukhabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is more popularly known as Sankisa. According to Buddhist mythology, it is believed that Buddha descended at this very place along with Brahma and Devraj Indra after giving discourses to his mother in heaven. The Buddhist traditions also say that all Buddhas descend to earth at this place.

The tour of Sankisa will enlighten you about the significance of the place and its association with the events of Buddha's life. It is believed that future Buddha, Maitreya Buddha or Arya Maitreya was born here during the lifetime of Buddha. Today the place is known as the village of Basantpur near the ruins of a fort. Emperor Ashoka erected a pillar with an elephant capital as a mark of reverence to the holy spot. Short distance from here is a Bisari Devi temple and the statue of the Buddha. Chinese Pilgrims, Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang visited Sankasya and wrote about what they witnessed there.


»»Vaishali Tours

Vaishali is 36 km from Muzzafarpur in the state of Bihar. Lord Buddha often visited this place and preached his last sermon at Kolhua, a nearby place. Emperor Ashoka erected one of his famous lion pillars here in the 3rd century BC commemorate the event.


»»Rajgir Tours

Rajgir is located at a distance of 15 km from Nalanda in Bihar. It was the capital of the Magadh Mahajanpada when Patliputra was not established. In the ancient times, Rajgir was called Rajgriha, which means the 'Home of Royalty'. This place is significant because Buddha spent many years in Rajgir and also delivered some important discourses here. Buddha converted Emperor Bimbisar to Buddhism at the Griddhakoota Hill in Rajgir. The teachings of Buddha were written down at Rajgir and it was also the venue for the First Buddhist Council.


»»Sravasti Tours

Sravasti is located 34 km from Balrampur and 134 km from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. The city believed to be founded by the mythological king Sravast. Lord Buddha preached here after he got his enlightenment. Buddha has 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens at Sravasti and has performed some miracles here. After the death of Buddha, this monastery got royal patronage.


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