Lumbini:Lumbini (Sanskrit: "the lovely") is the sacred birthplace of the enlightened one, Lord Buddha who is also known as Tathagatha (*Tathagatha – one who has found the truth).It is now an ubiquitous pilgrimage site and is geographically located 25 km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, the Shakya capital inNepal. King Suddhodana, father of Gautama Buddha belonged to the Shakya dynasty, a Kshatriya(the warrior caste). Lord Buddha’s birthplace is commemorated by the Maya Devi Temple, the site where he was born.
Lumbini is one of four major attractions for pilgrimage that have a profound reference to the revered life of the Buddha, the others are Kushinagar, Bodhgaya and Sarnath. The Indian emperor Ashoka, erected one of his commemorative pillars in Lumbini. Also located here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath.
The early history of Lumbini is also documented in the accounts of the famous Chinese travelers, FaHien (4th century AD) and Hsuan Tsang (7th century AD) respectively.
The site and it’s environ is blessed with a rich, lush surrounding of flora and fauna.
Bodh Gaya:Prince Gautama Siddhartha attained Nirvana (enlightenment) in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. He sat and meditated under a Bodhi tree (Ficusreligiosa) and after 49 hours got an insight to the answers he had sought. Over time, the place came to be known as Bodh Gaya. He then travelled to Sarnath where he began his teachings of Buddhism.
The common belief is that 250 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya dynasty in India visited Bodh Gaya and is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple.
Bodh Gaya has been developed as an international place of pilgrimage since 1953 and attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from all over the world every year.
Sarnath: After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath which is a small village in Uttar Pradesh, India, 13kilometres north-east of Varanasi. It was here that Lord Buddha set the “Wheel of Dharma” in motion and formed the first Sangha to promote his thoughts.
Sarnath means “Lord of the Deer” and refers to an old Buddhist tale in a King intends to kill a doe when the Bodhisattva (deer) offers his life to the King to save that of the doe. The King is so moved by this gesture that he establishes the park as a deer sanctuary. The park is still there today. Within the deer park complex is the large DhamekhaStupa, constructed by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE, and several other Buddhist structures that were added between the 3rd century BCE and the 11th century CE.
Kushinagar:It was at Kushinagar that the Lord Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermonand is believed to have attained Parinirvana after his death.Kushinagar is a small rural town in the State of Uttar Pradesh, 52 kilometers from Gorakhpur, in Northern India.
Many of the ruined stupas and viharas at Kushinagar date back to the 3rd century BC - 5th century AD. The Mauryan Emperor Asoka is known to have contributed to significant construction at this site.
Temples have now been constructed by Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese, South Korean, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhists, alongside the ruins of monasteries and stupas. The two places most frequently visited in Kushinagar are the MahaparinirvanaStupa, which is built on the place of Buddha'sMahaparinirvana (Great Nirvana or passing away), and the place of his cremation, which is 1.6 km away.
Followers of Buddhism wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.