SA-WANG-BUN-BUDH-PHUM – A Journey to touch your soul
SA-WANG-BUN-BUDH-PHUM – is our genuine travel attempt to present the sacred sites as a traditional pilgrim circuit, following a time-honored trail with a hallowed history dating back two and a half Millenia. A visual exploration of information ranging from ancient legends from Buddha’s life to practical informations on the sacred sites, all can be achieved through SA-WANG-BUN-BUDH-PHUM – A journey to touch your soul. SA-WANG-BUN-BUDH-PHUM – A journey to touch your soul. Download the Package Itinerary in English here.
Through the remains of monasteries and gardens, through the dusty plans to the Himalayan foothills, treading the sites sanctified long ago by the Buddha’s footsteps, in an eternal quest to unravel the complex truths of life, lucidly and brilliantly enunciated by the Buddha twenty five centuries ago.
Bodh Gaya is located in Bihar, 115kms from Patna.
Here, more than 2500 years ago came Siddhartha, a young, ascetic, having renounced royal heritage. He was on the lookout for a quiet retreat to meditate upon the causes of human sufferings. As he gazed across the river Phalgu upon the serene landscape of Urevela Village (now known as Bodh Gaya), he knew that his quest has ended.
He spread Kusha grass beneath the Bodha or Bo Tree (Pipal Tree) and sat cross legged facing the East with a vow to get up only if he attained supreme knowledge. For continuous 49 days, he was assaulted and allured by the temptor, Mara but to no avail. Finally when his quest ended on the full moon day in April-May, he was no longer a seeker or Bodhisattva. He was the enlightened one – the Buddha.
As the place of the Buddha’s enlightenment, Bodh Gaya stands as a very special and spiritual destination for all Buddhists. The place attracts tens of thousands of believers from all over the world, paying homage to the sacred soil.
Shaven heads, billowing ochre and maroon robes, monks and nuns, a string of beads in hand, rub shoulders with sari and jeans clad locals and tourists from across the globe. An all-pervading calm envelopes the town, casting a peaceful spell on the visitor.
Mahabodhi temple – The temple is an immense attraction to the Buddhists, and stands near the Maha Bodhi tree under which Tathagat, or Gautama attained enlightenment. The total height of the temple is 170 ft. Its basement is 48 square feet and it rises in the form of a slender Pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical in shape. It is a must visit not only due to its importance but also for the architecture and the art objects. The Shiva Lingam inside the temple was installed on 9th century beginning, is a splendid piece of sculpture.
Mahabodhi Tree – The tree is considered holy since Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under it , it is probably the fifth succession of the original tree. Anyone, who likes an ambience of serenity, would understand this place’s surroundings to be perfectly weathered for meditation.
Vajrasana – The stone platform, where Lord Buddha sat in meditation while he attained enlightenment is known as Vajrasana. The place is restricted for any tourist activity on it; however, even the sight doesn’t fail to excite the spirituality of the watcher.
Great Buddha Statue, Bodhgaya – Great Buddha Statue, standing at an elevation of 80 ft, is one of the religious and spiritual monuments associated with Lord Buddha Bodh Gaya. One among the tallest Buddha statues in the country, the structure was instated in 1989 by the XIV Dalai Lama.
Over 25 centuries ago, a sage travelled 200kms from Bodh Gaya, where he attained Nirvana to reach the ghats of Varanasi or Kashi, as it was called then.
The City had seen saffron clad spiritual teaches before him, who came here, drawn by its magnetic, inexplicable spiritual power. The sage was looking for five Hindu ascetics, old companions from whom he has parted, because they had insisted that the only path to salvation was through self-mortification. The Buddha found them in at Rashipattana, the Deer Park near Kashi and gave them the gift of spiritual knowledge which he had attained and parted with them and thus created the first followers and first members of the Sangha.
A time would come when the Buddha’s teachings would travel to lands he had never seen, his worshipped and his name chanted in monasteries. However, for Kashi, that summer, two and half centuries ago, he was just another pilgrim.
Varanasi has been the spiritual pilgrimage that is like a luminous beacon to Hindus and for them, it has been their city of lights. They believe in bathing in the river Ganga here washes away all their sins.
Living with the great questions of birth and death, Varanasi has never bothered to record it’s history. It’s beginnings are lost in the mists of time. It exists as one of the oldest cities in the world today.
Rajgir, with it’s beautiful palaces is distinguished by the five hills, well guarded and adorned by mountains, supported and hallowed by auspicious sacred places.
Like many others in search of truth, Prince Siddhartha, after he renounced his royal heritage came to this city to seek the path to salvation and soon overwhelmed the citizens with his serenity and grace. Even King Bimbisara went to meet the ascetic and was amazed to learn that he was a kshatriya of royal descent. The King offered half of his kingdom to Siddhartha but al he received was an assurance of his return to the city after getting his goal fulfilled.
The attractions include the Ajatshatru fort, Shanti Stupa, Venu van, Karanda tank, Sonbhandar caves, Bhimbisar jail, Gridhkuta and hot water springs and the forestry. There is an aerial ropeway for adding charm to the tour.
Silence reigns supreme here. Gradually the early morning sun lifts the mantle of darkness. In it’s golden light, scores of ruined red brick buildings set amongst lush green lawns appear most ethereal. There is no sign of life today except for a few curious visitors. But once the place throbbed with life, it’s corridors reverberated with eager, voices engrossed in the pursuit of knowledge.
This is Nalanda, the most renowned university in ancient India. It derived it’s name rom Na-alam-da meaning Insatiable in Giving, one of the names by which Lord Buddha was known later. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 monks students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here. Nalanda is a place to understand the cultural richness of India during 5th century AD. The excavations have revealed some very interesting facts regarding the ancient university, and the artifacts obtained are naturally a must for every visitor.
The Buddha came to Nalanda often and stayed at Sethi Pavarika’s mango grove. Sariputra, one of his chief disciples, who was considered the foremost in wisdom, attained Nirvana here. Emperor Asoka, a true devotee of Lord Buddha, used to frequent this place as well.
Sravasti, better known as Savatthi in ancient times, was the capital of Kosala Mahajanapada. It was the biggest town in the Gangetic plains during the Buddha’s lifetime.
One can witness the place here where the celebrated miracle happened. Lord Buddha
performed the only miracle of his lie in response to a challenge from 6 non-believers. The Lord levitated on a thousand petalled louts, causing fire and water to leap out of his body and multiplied his person in the air.
Vaishali is bound by the hills of Nepal on the north and river Gandak on the west. Lord Buddha came to this place, 5 years after his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.
As the lord set foot on the soil of Vaishali, loud thunder followed by a heavy downpour purged the plague-infected city. The Buddha preached the Ratna Sutra to those assembled and eight four thousand people embraced the new faith.
After his last discourse, the Awakened One set out for Kushinagar, but the Lichchavis kept following him. Buddha gave them alms bowl but still they refused to return. Then the Master created an illusion of a river in spate which compelled them to go back. This site can be identified with Deora in modern Kesariya village, where Emperor Ashoka built a stupa later
Among the precious archaeological finds is the relic casket containing the ashes of the Buddha now preserved in the Patna Museum. In the north is the Ashoka Pillar with a bell capital and a large brick stupa, originally built by the Emperor to mark the site where Buddha delivered his last discourse.
Ananda, the favorite disciple of Buddha, attained Nirvana in the midst of the Ganga outside Vaishali.
Kushinagar or Kushinara as it was known then is the place that the Buddha chose for his Mahaparinirvana or final exit from this earth. During his lifetime, the Master traversed the dusty plains of the Ganga Valley, subsisting on whatever he collected as alms and pausing to rest only during the rainy season.
In 543 BC, on the full moon night of Magh (Jan-Feb), the Master ectured to the Sangha at the Village, Deluva, near Vaishali, on the impermanence of all living things and said that his own life on earth was soon to end.
The buddha desired to leave his corporeal body at the Sal grove on the banks of the Hiranyavati river at Kushinagar.
King and commner, villager and townsman from far and near, flocked to pay obeisance to the earthly remains of the Lord for six days. On the seventh day, the Lord’s person was bedecked with garlands and taken in a procession, to the accompaniment of music.
Though not much of the remains are there at the funeral pyre location, but still one can witness the Mukutabandha Vihara (Rambhar Stupa) in Kushinagar.
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