10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples In India

Based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who came to commonly known as Lord Buddha after attaining enlightenment in 5th century AD, Buddhism in the present scenario is one of the most loved religion practiced in the world. The religion is most popular among the youth because of its wonderful teachings which promote non-violence, truth and detachment from all the materialistic pleasures of the world.

India, known widely as the birthplace of Buddhism is home to many famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites and temples. The main centre being Bodh Gaya, the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, the country is generously scattered with wonderful temples that you must visit.

We have made a list of the most famous Buddhist temples in India that you must visit. Read ahead and plan your itinerary accordingly!

1. Mahabodhi Temple

Located in: Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Mahabodhi temple is considered as one of the most important and sacred pilgrim sites in Buddhist religion. The main temple is in the form of a huge 180 feet pyramid structure which has several motifs engraved on it and gives a clear reflection of the custom, tradition, culture and teachings of Buddhism. The temple is also a home to a gorgeous statue of Buddha made from yellow sandstone.

Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple

Specialty : It was the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment sitting under an ancient Bodhi tree which is still present within the temple.

Construction : Built in the 3rd century by Emperor Ashoka, the temple was rebuilt from bricks in the 5th century and has a remarkable architecture.

Bodhi Tree at Mahabodhi Temple

Also Read : Touring from Varanasi To Bodhgaya

2. Mahaparinirvana Temple

Located in: Kushinagar

Mahaparinirvana Temple is known to be one of the holiest shrines in Buddhist religion. At present apart from an important pilgrim site, the place is also one of the most visited tourist places not only by domestic tourists but also by foreign travelers because of its spiritual aura and beautiful architecture. 

Parinirvana Temple, Kushinagar
MahaParinirvana Temple, Kushinagar

Specialty : Famous for housing a huge six metres long idol of Buddha in a sleeping posture. The significance behind the idol is that it represents the highest state of salvation which Lord Buddha had attained when he finally left for his heavenly abode.

Construction : This ancient single storey Buddha temple made of red sandstone was built by one of the great followers of Lord Buddha, namely Swami Haribala.

Lord Buddha Statue at Parinirvana Temple, Kushinagar
Lord Buddha Statue at Parinirvana Temple, Kushinagar

3. Wat Thai Temple

Located in: Kushinagar

Wat Thai Temple is one of the other Buddhist treasures. The atmosphere of peace and serenity has enveloped the temple and hence it proves to be best for those who are seeking tranquillity or a quiet and calm place to practice meditation amidst nature. The temple also has prayer hall if you wish to sit, meditate and pray inside the temple premises. The unique architecture, the scenic beauty and the magical spiritual aura of the temple makes it hard for the travellers to resist its charms.

Specialty : A wonderful combination of Buddhist and Thai architecture, the temple is a living architectural masterpiece. Apart from the architectural wonder, the temple is surrounded with a lush green forest area, full of trees and shrubs which all the more multiplies the beauty of the place manifolds.

Wat Thai Temple, Kushinagar India
Wat Thai Temple, Kushinagar India

4. Sarnath Temple

Located in: Varanasi

Sarnath Temple is widely known to be one of the holiest and must – visit pilgrim sites holding great significance in the Buddhism religion. It is located in Varanasi.

Construction : Built by Emperor Ashoka.

Specialty : It is believed that it was at this place that the first spiritual discourse as an enlightened master was given by Lord Buddha. Hence, the place has a great significance in Buddhism and is a must visit Buddhist pilgrim site.

Sarnath Temple
Sarnath Temple

Specialty : It is believed that it was at this place that the first spiritual discourse as an enlightened master was given by Lord Buddha. Hence, the place has a great significance in Buddhism and is a must visit Buddhist pilgrim site.

Major Attractions : This mesmerizing temple also features Chaukhandi Stupa, Mulagandha Kuti Vihar, Dhamek Stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa as well as many other architectural masterpieces. These additions just increase the Buddhist significance of the place even more.

Chaukhandi Stupa, Sarnath
Chaukhandi Stupa, Sarnath

Also Read : Top 11 Things to Experience in Varanasi

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5. Sanchi Stupa

Located in: Madhya Pradesh

One of the oldest stone structures present in India representing clearly the beauty of Buddhist art and architecture is Sanchi Stupa. Sanchi Stupa is one of those places which you would not want to miss even if you are not much moved by religious matters. Its beauty is enough to capture your heart.

Sanchi Stupa, Sarnath
Sanchi Stupa, Sarnath

Specialty : The stupa has a huge hemispherical dome housing many relics of Lord Buddha and four intricately carved gateways which face totally different directions.

Construction : The temple was built under the strict supervision of Emperor Ashoka’s wife and daughter. The magnificent architecture of the structure will definitely leave you speechless.

Good to know : Due to its increasing popularity has also found itself a place in the esteemed list of world heritage sites by UNESCO.

Sanchi Supa Carved Gates
Sanchi Supa Carved Gates

Also Read : Top 10 Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh

6. Red Maitreya Temple

Located in: Leh

The temple is situated at one of the most beautiful locations amidst the mighty mountains and serene landscapes of Leh in the state of Himachal Pradesh. A part of the Thiksey Monastery, the Red Maitreya temple is greatly famous for housing the 49 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha. Moreover, other than its pure creativity and devotional attribute, the serene location just adds on to the charm of the temple. It is a religious hub of many Buddhist devotees!

Tsemo Maitreya Temple, Leh
Tsemo Maitreya Temple, Leh

Specialty : The unique thing of this statue which makes it special and attracts thousands of devotees and travellers is the fact that this huge statue of Lord Buddha is made from clay and is painted in a gorgeous golden colour which makes it look even more mesmerizing.

Good to know : The walls of the temple are decorated with mesmerizing paintings which give a true sneak-peek of the features of Buddhist art and craft.

Maitreya Buddha Statue, Leh
Maitreya Buddha Statue, Leh

Also Read : Top Four Places To Visit In Leh Ladakh

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7. Golden Pagoda

Located in: Arunachal Pradesh

Nestled in the foothills of Eastern Himalayas, the Golden Pagoda Temple located in the Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh. Spreading over a sprawling 20 hectares of area, this wonderful temple is also known to have 12 domes in the Pagoda. Also known as Kong Mu Kham, the temple is also famous for serving as a venue for Kathina festival which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in the month of November. You surely wouldn’t want to miss visiting this amazing temple!

Construction : Built in the year 2010, the architecture of the temple is inspired by the Burmese architectural style which adds on to its uniqueness.

Tip : If you visit this temple, don’t miss the Loi Krathong ceremony which happens at the end of the Kathina festival as the sight of thousands of lighted lamps floating in a nearby pond is one of the most beautiful sights you will ever witness.

The Golden Pagoda, Namsai Arunachal Pradesh
The Golden Pagoda, Namsai Arunachal Pradesh

8. Theravada Buddhist Temple

Located in: Itanagar

One of the most popular Buddhist pilgrim destinations in Eastern India, Theravada Buddhist Temple is one of the great places to visit for those seeking a place to meditate. Even if you are not much of a Buddhism follower but are in the nearby area then make sure to visit the place as the natural beauty of the place is completely surreal. Great for meditation and prayers, exceptionally blessed by nature and great significance in Buddhism, what else could you ask for?

Specialty : The neatly laid structure of the temple is totally outstanding.

Good to know : The temple is surrounded from lush greenery from all the sides giving it a protective, peaceful and comfortable vibe.

Theravada Buddhist Temple Itanagar
Theravada Buddhist Temple Itanagar

Buddhism is known for spreading love, warmth, kindness and humanity. While visiting these gorgeous Buddhist pilgrim places, the hospitality and the calm atmosphere prevailing in these temples will surely leave you speechless. We wish you luck that you visit if not all then most of the above – mentioned places as all of them hold special significance in their own way. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to drop comments sharing your experience with us.  

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