The Mahabodhi Vihar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is located about 96 km from Patna, Bihar state, images of the site include Avalokiteśvara, Tara, Yamantaka and Vajravārāhī. Images of Vishnu, Shiva and other Vedic deities are associated with the site. The site contains a descendant of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment, there he sat in meditation under a peepul tree which became known as the Bodhi tree. According to Buddhist scriptures, after three days and three nights, Siddharta attained enlightenment and the answers that he had sought, in that location, Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in around 260 BCE. The Buddha spent the seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. Several specific places at the current Mahabodhi Temple relate to the traditions surrounding these seven weeks, during the second week, the Buddha remained standing and stared, uninterrupted, at the Bodhi tree.
This spot is marked by the Animeshlocha Stupa, that is, the stupa or shrine. There stands a statue of Buddha with his eyes fixed towards the Bodhi tree, the Buddha is said to have walked back and forth between the location of the Animeshlocha Stupa and the Bodhi tree. According to legend, lotus flowers sprung up along this route and he spent the fourth week near Ratnagar Chaitya, located near north – east side. During the fifth week, Buddha answered in details to the queries of Brahmins under Ajapala Nigodh tree and he spent the sixth week next to Lotus pond. He spent the week under Rajyatna tree. The Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya is directly connected to the life of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, the temple was built directly to the east of the Bodhi tree which is supposed to be a direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree. According to Buddhist mythology, if no Bodhi tree grows at the site, through the ground around the Bodhi tree no being, not even an elephant, can travel. According to the Jatakas, the navel of the lies at this spot.
Tradition claims that a lotus will bloom there, and if a Buddha is born during that the new kalpa, according to legend, in the case of Gautama Buddha, a Bodhi tree sprang up on the day he was born. It is said that four weeks after the Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi Tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty king of serpents, came from beneath the earth, when the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace
Piprahwa is a village near Birdpur in Siddharthnagar district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Kalanamak, a scented and spicy variety of rice is grown in this area, Piprahwa is best known for its archaeological site. A large stupa and the ruins of several monasteries are located within the site, ancient residential complexes and shrines were uncovered at the adjacent mound of Ganwaria. Others suggest that the site of Kapilavastu is located 16 kilometres to the northwest, at Tilaurakot. A buried stupa was discovered by William Claxton Peppe, a British colonial engineer and landowner of an estate at Piprahwa in January 1898, Peppe led a team in excavating a large earthen mound on his land. Having cleared away scrub and jungle, they set to building a deep trench through the mound. Eventually they came to a large stone coffer which contained five small vases containing bone fragments, ashes, in the following decade or so epigraphists debated the precise meaning of the inscription. One scholar, John Fleet, challenged the opinion of fellow academics as M.
Senart and M. Barth. However, Harry Falk agrees with the interpretation as translated by Georg Buhler. The style of writing is poor, and there is nothing in it that speaks of the hand of the Asokan scribes. He concludes that the inscription may be dated to the earlier half of the second century B. C. In 1978 the Indian government allowed their share of the discovery to be exhibited in Sri Lanka and they were exhibited in Mongolia in 1993, Singapore in 1994, South Korea in 1995 and Thailand in 1996 and again in Sri Lanka in 2012. From 1971-1973, a team of the Archaeological Survey of India led by K. M, srivastava resumed excavations at the Piprahwa stupa site. The team discovered a casket containing fragments of charred bone, at a several feet deeper than the coffer that W. C. The bone fragments recovered by Srivastavas team are located at the National Museum. The main stupa at Piprahwa, one of the earliest so far discovered in India, was built in three phases, in the 6th-5th century BCE it was raised by piling up natural earth from the surrounding area.
In the centre there was a chamber of burnt-bricks to keep sacred relics, phase II is consisting of filling thick clay over the structure and of having two tiers to reach a height of 4. 55m. In phase III, during the Kushan period, the stupa was enlarged and reached a height of 6. 35m
Kosambi was an important city in ancient India. It was located on the Yamuna about 56 kilometres southwest of Prayaga, renamed Ilahabad, Kosambi was one of the greatest cities in India from the late Vedic period until the end of Maurya Empire with occupation continuing until the Gupta Empire. As a small town, it was established in the late Vedic period, during the Shunga Empire, Kosambi was the capital of Vatsa, a vassal state of the Shungas. After their decline, Vatsa became an independent kingdom, ) one of the Mahajanapadas, Kosambi was a very prosperous city by the time of Gautama Buddha, where a large number of wealthy merchants resided. It was an important entrepôt of goods and passengers from north-west and it figures very prominently in the accounts of the life of Buddha. The excavations of the site of Kosambi was done by G. R. Sharma of Allahabad University in 1949. Carbon dating of charcoal and Northern Black Polished Ware have historically dated its continued occupation from 390 BC to 600 A. D.
Kosambi was a town with an irregular oblong plan. Excavations of the ruins revealed the existence of gates on three sides-east and north, the location of the southern gate can not be precisely determined due to water erosion. Besides the bastions and sub-gates, the city was encircled on three sides by a moat, though filled up at places, it still discernible on the northern side, at some points, there is evidence of more than one moat. The city extended to an area of approximately 6.5 km, the city shows a large extent of brickworks indicating the density of structures in the city. The Buddhist commentarial scriptures give two reasons for the name Kausambi/Kosambī, the more favoured is that the city was so called because it was founded in or near the site of the hermitage once occupied by the sage Kusumba. Another explanation is that large and stately neem trees or Kosammarukkhā grew in numbers in. In the time of the Buddha its king was Parantapa, Kosambī was evidently a city of great importance at the time of the Buddha for we find Ananda mentioning it as one of the places suitable for the Buddhas Parinibbāna.
It was the most important halt for traffic coming to Kosala and Magadha from the south, the city was thirty leagues by river from Benares. The usual route from Rājagaha to Kosambī was up the river, though seems to have been a land route passing through Anupiya. Near Kosambī, by the river, was Udayana/Udenas park, the Udakavana, the Buddha is mentioned as having once stayed in the Simsapāvana in Kosambī. Mahā Kaccāna lived in a woodland near Kosambī after the holding of the First Buddhist Council, already in the Buddhas time there were four establishments of the Order in Kosambī - the Kukkutārāma, the Ghositārāma, the Pāvārika-ambavana, and the Badarikārāma. The Buddha visited Kosambī on several occasions, stopping at one or other of these residences, the circumstances are narrated in connection with the Māgandiya Sutta
Sankassa was an ancient city in India. The city came into prominence at the time of Gautama Buddha, according to a Buddhist source, it was thirty leagues from Savatthi. After the Gautama Buddhas Mahaparinirvana king Ashoka developed this place and installed one of his famous Pillars of Ashoka in the city and he built a stupa and a temple commemorating the visit of the Buddha. This temple exist even today and the ruins of the stupa are present as a temple of Vishari Devi. It is said that the name Visahari Devi is given to the mother of the Buddha, currently it has ruins of old monasteries and Buddhist monuments. It is rarely visited by pilgrims since it is difficult to go to, after a long time Alexander Cunningham discovered the place in 1842. Eighty-seven years Sir Anagarika Dharmapala came here on spiritual quest, in 1957 Panditha Madabawita Wijesoma Thero came to Sankassa for few years and started a Buddhist school for poor people. It was known as Sankasya Nagar and was ruled by king Kushadhwaja, was a brother of Janaka, the father of Sita.
Once Sudhanva, supposedly an evil king of Sankasya Nagar, demands the hand of Sita from Janaka, in a war that ensues, Janaka defeats and perhaps kills Sudhanva. He bestows the kingdom of Sankasya to Kushadhwaja, Sankassa received its fame from statements and claims recorded in the ancient commentaries to the Tipitaka. However, in the Tipitaka itself the events that are supposed to have occurred at Sankassa are not mentioned at all. It was at Sankassa that the Buddha returned to earth, after preaching the Abhidhamma Pitaka in Tavatimsa and they made their way to Sankassa. The descent of the Buddha took place on the day of the Mahapavarana festival, the assembled people covered the earth for thirty leagues round. There was a view of the nine Brahma worlds above. The Buddha was accompanied by Pañcasikha, Mátali, Mahá Brahmá, on this occasion was preached the Parosahassa Játaka to proclaim to the multitude the unparalleled wisdom of Sáriputta. He therefore asked of Sáriputta questions which no one else could answer, the opening words of the Sáriputta Sutta are supposed to refer to this descent from Tusita.
The site of the city gate of Sankassa is one of the spots of the world. All Buddhas descend at that spot to the world of men after preaching the Abhidhamma, from Sankassa the Buddha went to Jetavana
Hindi, or Modern Standard Hindi is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Along with the English language, Hindi written in the Devanagari script, is the language of the Government of India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India, Hindi is the lingua franca of the so-called Hindi belt of India. Outside India, it is a language which is known as Fiji Hindi in Fiji, and is a recognised regional language in Mauritius and Tobago, Guyana. Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, apart from specialized vocabulary, Hindi is mutually intelligible with Standard Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani. Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with Official Language, under Article 343, official language of the Union has been prescribed, which includes Hindi in Devanagari script and English. Gujarat High Court, in 2010, has observed that there was nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a language of India.
Article 343 of the Indian constitution states The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script, the form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals. It was envisioned that Hindi would become the working language of the Union Government by 1965. Each may designate a co-official language, in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, depending on the formation in power. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of language in the following Union Territories, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu. National-language status for Hindi is a long-debated theme, an Indian court clarified that Hindi is not the national language of India because the constitution does not mention it as such. Outside Asia, Hindi is a language in Fiji as per the 1997 Constitution of Fiji. It is spoken by 380,000 people in Fiji, Hindi is spoken by a large population of Madheshis of Nepal. Hindi is quite easy to understand for some Pakistanis, who speak Urdu, apart from this, Hindi is spoken by the large Indian diaspora which hails from, or has its origin from the Hindi Belt of India.
Like other Indo-Aryan languages, Hindi is considered to be a descendant of an early form of Sanskrit, through Sauraseni Prakrit. It has been influenced by Dravidian languages, Turkic languages, Arabic, Hindi emerged as Apabhramsha, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th century A. D. By the 10th century A. D. it became stable, Braj Bhasha, Awadhi, Khari Boli etc. are the dialects of Hindi
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE, who achieved Enlightenment some time around 528 BCE, became the Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism. Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of Gautama Buddha, Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi Temple and several others which are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, the Lumbini International Research Institute, are within the holy site, there is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddhas mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he had his first bath. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, achieved ultimate Enlightenment, Lumbini was made a World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1997. In the Buddhas time, Lumbini was situated in east of Kapilavastu and it was there, that the Buddha was born.
A pillar discovered in 1896 is believed to mark the spot of Ashokas visit to Lumbini, the site was not known as Lumbini before the pillar was discovered. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the in charge of the park to commemorate Ashokas visit. The park was known as Rummindei,2 mi north of Bhagavanpura. The Sutta Nipáta states that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada, the Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta. In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists discovered a stone pillar at Lumbini. Führer postulated that the pillar was placed at the site by Ashoka circa 245 BCE, records made by the Chinese pilgrim Faxian in the early fifth century CE were used in the process of identifying this religiously acclaimed site. The layout of the Ashokan shrine closely follows that of the timber structure. Lumbini is 4.8 km in length and 1.6 km in width, the holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shops, hotels or restaurants.
It is separated into an eastern and western zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries. From early morning to evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting. The venture was a China-UN joint project, a broader Lumbini Development National Director Committee under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed on 17 October 2011. The six-member committee included Communist Party of Nepal leader Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, Forest Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman, nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the park in 2001, which is visited by many different cultures and religions every day
The spiritual capital of India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur and Delhi, Varanasi is one of 72 districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the 2011 census, there were a total 8 blocks and 1329 villages in this district, Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma, at nearby Sarnath. The citys religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Ramas life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir, Guru Nanak Dev visited Varanasi for Shivratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of Sikhism.
The kingdom of Benares was given official status by the Mughals in 1737, silk weaving and crafts and tourism employ a significant number of the local population, as do the Diesel Locomotive Works and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited. Varanasi Hospital was established in 1964, Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a centre for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead. The Ramnagar Fort, near the bank of the Ganges, was built in the 18th century in the Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards. Among the estimated 23,000 temples in Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Kashi Naresh is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi, and an essential part of all religious celebrations.
One of Asias largest residential universities is Banaras Hindu University, the Hindi-language nationalist newspaper, Aj, was first published in 1920. The old city is located on the shores of the Ganges, bounded by Varuna. The name was used by pilgrims dating from Buddhas days. Hindu religious texts use many epithets to refer to Varanasi, such as Kāśikā, Avimukta, Ānandavana, according to legend, Varanasi was founded by the god Shiva. It is regarded as one of seven cities which can provide Moksha, Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Gayā, Kāśi, Kañchi, Avantikā
Shravasti was a city of ancient India and one of the six largest cities in India during Gautama Buddhas lifetime. Earlier, it was a part of the Bahraich district, Shravasti is located near the West Rapti River and is closely associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, who is believed to have spent 24 Chaturmases here. Age-old stupas, majestic viharas and several temples near the village of Sahet-Mahet establish Buddhas association with Shravasti and it is said that the Vedic period king, founded this town. Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom during 6th century BCE to 6th century CE and this prosperous trading centre was well known for its religious associations. Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath in Jainism, according to Nagarjuna, the city had a population of 900,000 in 5th century BCE and it even overshadowed Magadhas capital, Rajgir. As mentioned in the Bruhatkalpa and various Kalpas of the fourteenth century, there are subsequent mentions showing that the name of this city was Sahet-Mahet.
It is mentioned that a vast fort covered this city in which there were many temples with idols of Devkulikas, today a great rampart of earth and brick surrounds this city. During excavation in Sahet-Mahet near Shravasti City, many ancient idols and they are now kept in museums at Mathura and Lucknow. At present, the department of the Indian Government is excavating the site to perform allied research. Jetavana monastery was a monastery close to Shravasti. According to the Mahabharata, Shravasti is named after the legendary king Shravasta, according to Buddhist tradition, the city was called Savatthi because the sage Savattha lived there. As per the Ramayana, the king of Kosala, installed his son Lava at Shravasti, Shravasti was located on the banks of the river Achiravati. It was the city of the kingdom of Kosala, and its king was called Pasenadi. It is a city with vast amounts of agriculture and diversity. He stated the population of Shravasti to have been 180 million, the road from Rajagaha to Shravasti passed through Vesali, and the Parayanavagga gives as the resting places between the two cities, Kapilavatthu, Kusinara and Bhoganagara.
Further on, there was a road running southwards from Shravasti through Saketa to Kosambi, between Saketa and Shravasti was located Toranavatthu. The Buddha passed the part of his monastic life in Shravasti. His first visit to Shravasti was at the invitation of Anathapindika, the main monasteries in Shravasti were the Jetavana and the Pubbarama
Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha in India. The site is located about 95 kilometres southeast of Patna near the town of Bihar Sharif and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site According to Xuansang and Yijing Nalanda was built in honor of the Lotus Sutra - and various Lotus Sutra symbolism can be found in the Nalanda Museum. Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and under Harsha, the liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century. The subsequent centuries were a time of decline, a period during which the tantric developments of Buddhism became most pronounced in eastern India under the Pala Empire. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling all the way from Tibet, Korea, Archaeological evidence notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex.
Much of our knowledge of Nalanda comes from the writings of pilgrim monks from East Asia such as Xuanzang and Yijing who travelled to the Mahavihara in the 7th century, vincent Smith remarked that a detailed history of Nalanda would be a history of Mahayanist Buddhism. Many of the listed by Xuanzang in his travelogue as products of Nalanda are the names of those who developed the philosophy of Mahayana. All students at Nalanda studied Mahayana as well as the texts of the eighteen sects of Buddhism and their curriculum included other subjects such as the Vedas, Sanskrit grammar and Samkhya. Nalanda was very likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Mamluk Dynasty of the Muslim Delhi Sultanate under Bakhtiyar Khilji in c. 1200 CE, systematic excavations commenced in 1915 which unearthed eleven monasteries and six brick temples neatly arranged on grounds 12 hectares in area. A trove of sculptures, coins and inscriptions have discovered in the ruins many of which are on display in the Nalanda Archaeological Museum situated nearby.
Nalanda is now a notable tourist destination and a part of the Buddhist tourism circuit, a number of theories exist about the etymology of the name, Nālandā. According to the Tang Dynasty Chinese pilgrim, Xuanzang, it comes from Na al, another Chinese traveller, derives it from Nāga Nanda referring to the name of a snake in the local tank. Nalanda was initially a village by a major trade route that ran through the nearby city of Rajagriha which was the capital of Magadha. It is said that the Jain thirthankara, spent 14 rainy seasons at Nalanda. Gautama Buddha too is said to have delivered lectures in a mango grove named Pavarika. This traditional association with Mahavira and Buddha tenuously dates the existence of the village to at least the 5th–6th century BCE, not much is known of Nalanda in the centuries hence. Taranatha, the 17th-century Tibetan Lama, states that the 3rd-century BCE Mauryan and Buddhist emperor, Ashoka and he places 3rd-century CE luminaries such as the Mahayana philosopher and his disciple, Aryadeva, at Nalanda with the former heading the institution.
Taranatha mentions a contemporary of Nagarjuna named Suvishnu building 108 temples at the location, while this could imply that there was a flourishing centre for Buddhism at Nalanda before the 3rd century, no archaeological evidence has been unearthed to support the assertion
Mathura is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 50 kilometres north of Agra, and 145 kilometres south-east of Delhi, about 11 kilometres from the town of Vrindavan and it is the administrative centre of Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh. During the ancient period, Mathura was a hub, located at the junction of important caravan routes. The 2011 census of India estimated the population of Mathura to be 441,894, Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of Krishna which is located at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna Janma-Bhoomi, Lord Krishnas birthplace. It is one of the seven cities considered holy by Hindus, the Keshav Dev Temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishnas birthplace. Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kansa the maternal uncle of Krishna, Mathura has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
Mathura has an ancient history and homeland and birthplace of Krishna who was born in Yadu dynasty, according to the Archaeological Survey of India plaque at the Mathura Museum, the city is mentioned in the oldest Indian epic, the Ramayana. In the epic, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slays a demon called Lavanasura, the place came to be known as Madhuvan as it was thickly wooded and Mathura. In the 6th century BCE Mathura became the capital of the Surasena mahajanapada, the city was ruled by the Maurya empire. Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a city under the name Μέθορα. It seems it never was under the control of the following Shunga dynasty as not a single archaeological remain of a Shunga presence were ever found in Mathura. However, this corresponds to the presence of the native Mitra dynasty, in Mathura. After a period of rule, Mathura was conquered by the Indo-Scythians during the 1st century BCE. The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the Northern Satraps, as opposed to the Western Satraps ruling in Gujarat, mathuran art and culture reached its zenith under the Kushan dynasty which had Mathura as one of their capitals, the other being Purushapura.
The city was sacked and many of its temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018 CE and again by Sikandar Lodhi, sikander Lodhi earned the epithet of Butt Shikan, the Destroyer of Hindu deities. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, built the Shahi-Eidgah Mosque during his rule, in 2016,24 people including 2 police officers were killed in the Jawahar Bagh clash, when the police tried to evict a large number of squatters from the public park. Mathura is located at 27. 28°N77. 41°E /27.28,77.41 and it has an average elevation of 174 metres. The 2011 census of India estimates the population of Mathura to be 441,894, males account for 54% and females for 46% of this population