Find out the details of different Buddhist Travel Destinations located across the world and explore Buddhist temples, monks and meditation. Visit several Buddhist Pilgrimage Destinations and Buddhist centers to study the teachings of Buddha. Experience a fantastic culture of Buddhism and life as a monk taught at Buddhist temples. Buddhist temples are beautiful attractions and while going to the temples, it is significant to respect local customs like right clothing must be worn as entry might be denied for people who wear shorts or tank tops.
Buddhism is an organized and distinct religion based on the teachings of Lord Gautam Buddha whose practice had started back in 13th century that left huge impact on the people. The Buddhist main concept is the power of understanding between the right and wrong, evil and good with respect to actions of human beings. Anyone’s actions like good and bad are determined by the present deeds, stated by Buddha’s Law of Karma.
One should only believe in simple living is the morality of Buddhism followed by monks all over the world. They pursue definite basic morals and values in daily life i.e. sleep on simple bed, take one simple meal a day, avoid spending money, not wear fancy clothes and avoid indulging oneself into perky entertainments. Buddhism is about the preaching of religion as well as concerning self-enlightenment or described as having “Buddha Nature” in every human being. “Vesak day” is one of the most famous celebrations in Buddhism that is also considered to be Buddha’s birthday as documented by practicing Buddhists in south-east regions such as India, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and many more.
Buddhist meditation is remarkable for various reasons like it serve as a means of thoughtful self-understanding, it presents a retreat from the chaos and complexity of today’s world and help in attempting acute grip to the truth of Buddhism. Hence, Buddhist travelers are lead by this interest in Buddhism and appeal of meditation to explore the opportunities to find out more in Buddhist countries.
Check out the list of various Buddhist Travel destinations below to explore temples, monks and meditation.
1. Buddhist Tourism in Thailand:
Buddhism is the major religion in Thailand and Buddhist temples are beautiful and main attractions. The craftsmanship of the Thai people is a wonder in itself and the history of the buildings is noteworthy. Whereas architecture is gorgeous, temples or wats are dazzling and intricately decorated that leads you to make further interesting discoveries to search for more attractions. Temples are worth seeking out and exploring whether you are in Bangkok or other areas of the country. In Thailand anywhere you go, you will find temple nearby, where you can offer your prayers and “make merit” though you are not Buddhist. Be sure to visit the temple before 6 pm because after that temples are no longer open for visitors.
Wat Rong Khun or White Temple (Heaven on Earth) is designed in white color with the use of white mirrored glass, which stands for Lord Buddha’s purity and wisdom. It is one of the most beautiful and unique temples in Thailand placed near to the city of Chiang Rai, around 5 kilometers to the south (see photo below).
Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok is a well-known temple situated on the grounds of the Grand Palace. Wat Traimit or the Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok is very popular as it is the home of world’s biggest golden seated Buddha, where the figure reaches over sixteen feet (five meters) high and weigths above five tons. You can see robed monks attending their duties around 4 am in the morning, so wake up early for a truly unique experience. Plan your visit in the early morning because it is less crowded, less hot, and will let you to thoroughly enjoy and even guarantee a peaceful visit to a Bangkok temple.
Other Buddhist temples that will make you closer to the Buddhist culture include the Mahathat temple; placed in the city of Nakon Si Thammarat. It is situated on the Southern Peninsula and has an incredible amount of history being built in the 14th century. Yai Chai Mongkon Temple is one of the most admired temples situated in the town of Phitsamulak that draw-in devotees from all the corners of Thailand. Phra Kaeo temple or Temple of the Emerald Buddha located in Bangkok is the house of a small two foot jade statue of Buddha that rests upon a gigantic golden alter. The Erawan temple also known as Temple of Dawn, which is situated in Bangkok very close to the town centre, can be reached by foot from the Lom BTS station. One of the most outstanding characteristics is its 260ft tower designed in the Khmer architectural style that can be climbed by a tapered and stepped staircase.
2. Grand Buddhist Temples of Malaysia:
The people of Malaysia follow four key religions: Muslims, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhism is the second biggest religion of the country and about 23% of the total population follows it. Malaysia’s climate is hot and humid all over the year while hilly areas are a little cooler. You can plan a trip to Malaysia anytime of the year as it has a number of destinations, temples and monasteries.
The Cheng Hoon Teng temple devoted to Kuan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy turn out to be the oldest temple in the country sited in the Jalan Tokong of Malacca state of Malaysia. Wat Pothivihan is big Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Wat Maisuwankiri comprises two chief temples: the elegant standing Buddha on the roof and dragon boat floating temple constructed on a splendidly decorated dragon boat, which seems like floating in a pond of water.
3. Buddhist Travel Destinations in China:
Buddhism was introduced in China primarily during 2nd century BCE with the opening of Silk Road. To create a new style of temple buildings, architects of that era combined the Indian style of temple architecture with traditional Chinese architecture. Chinese Buddhist temples have been known by various names such as Ci or Lanruo, Jialan, Jingshe and Si, since the time they were introduced in the country. Chinese Buddhist Temples are great attractions for tourists whenever they visit China. The Giant Buddha of Leshan (aka Dafo) is the biggest stone Buddha in the world positioned in Leshan City, Sichuan province, China. Leshan Buddha was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and has made Leshan a booming tourist destination.
The Jade Buddha Temple (Yu Fo Si) in Shanghai is a famous tourist destination for its two glorious white jade Burmese Buddha statues. The Jade Buddha Temple is a monastery of Chan (Zen) Buddhism that serves foreign tourists and local devotees in identical measures. Other well-known Buddhist temples of China include Tanzhe Temple that stands near to the China National Highway 108 in a mountainous area, 45 km to the west of the Beijing. Lama Temple stands in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, close to the northeastern corner of the Second Ring Road. Guanghua Temple was built in 558 and originally known as Jinxian Court. Do not forget to see all these temples and monasteries on your trip to China to explore a part of Buddhism in China.
4. Buddhist Tourism in Singapore:
Singapore is an amazing and fascinating island where Buddhism is one of the most broadly followed religion. 33.6% of Singaporeans identified themselves as Buddhist. Singapore has a number of Buddhist temples and monasteries that disclose lots of details regarding the past and present of Buddhism in this gorgeous country. 'Uniquely Singapore' is the tourism tagline of Singapore that fits really true since it is a nation, state, capital, city, all combined in one. There are numerous Buddhist Meditation societies in Singapore that hold many Buddhist activities like retreats, chanting, meditation, dharma talks, and even offer Buddhist courses on dharma and meditation.
The famous Buddhist temples in Singapore are the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery located at 88 Bright Hill Road at Bishan; Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple frequently referred to as the Temple of 1,000 Lights; Siong Lim Temple situated in Toa Payoh; Thian Hock Keng Temple built in honor of the patron goddess of sailors who prayed to her after completing a thriving journey from China to Singapore.
5. Buddhist Travel Destinations of Japan:
In Japan, nearly 84% of the population follows Buddhism and Shinto religion. Buddhist temples are the prominent and significant religious buildings in Japan along with Shinto shrines. You must include some of the ancient temples and their gardens in your trip, if you are scheduling for a trip to Japan. Temples are the places of worship in Japanese Buddhism and its most important buildings are used to store and display sacred Buddhist objects and are not handy to worshipers. For certain rites there are particular buildings, but these are generally open only to a limited number of participants.
Japan has a number of Buddhist temples like Todaiji (“Great Eastern Temple”) in Nara, the capital of Japan when Buddhism really started to extend speedily in the country. It has one of the biggest Buddha statues and the world’s largest wooden building. Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in Kyoto, one of the sacred destinations for Buddhist tourism. The city Kyoto is known as "city of a thousand temples” and has number of Buddhist universities at which monks, nuns, and novice scholars reside and carry out research. The holy mountain called Koya-san is a place of harmony connected with Kukai/Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Mount Koya is only two hours from Osaka and can be reached by train. At Mount Koya, Kii Peninsula, visitors are welcome to join the morning or evening meditation sessions, and it is not compulsory for temple guests to be Buddhists.
6. Buddhist Temples of Korea:
Korea is full of Buddhist temples and about 25.3% of population follows Buddhism in South Korea only. It means that you have lots of chances to interact with the Buddhist community of Korea at the time of your trip. Most of the Korean temples have names ending with ‘sa’ that means "temple". Several old and famous temples are sited high, up in the mountains at which Buddhist monks and nuns live, meditate and study while others situated in urban areas. They can be visited frequently by lay Buddhists. Beomeosa, Beopjusa, Haeinsa, Tongdosa and Donghaksa are very popular Buddhist Temples of Korea.
Tongdosa, Haeinsa and Songgwangsa are Three Jewel Temples of Korea that represent - Buddha, dharma and sangha. The Haeinsa Temple is situated on Gaya Mountain in Hapcheon-gun region in South Gyeongsang Province, whereas the Tongdosa temple is sited on Yeonchuk-san in Yangsan City, Gyeongsangnam-do, a province in Korea in the Southeast Asia. Songgwangsa is situated on the west side of Jogye Mountain in Songgwang-myeon, Suncheon, Jeollanam-do, South Korea.
Beopjusa is the head temple of the Jogye Order of the Korean Buddhism that located on the slopes of Songnisan in Naesongni-myeon, Boeun County, in Chungcheongbuk-do province of South Korea. The temple is open from sunrise to sunset and devoted to the practice of Maitreya Buddhism. Beomeosa temple is placed on the slopes of Mt.Geumjeongsan in Busan and constructed in 678 by monk Ui Sang during the rule of King Munmu of Silla Kingdom. Donghaksa Temple is one of the most eminent Jogye order female monks' academic centers concentrating in Buddhist studies and situated in the Sangbong Valley, amid the peaks of Mt.Gyeryong National Park. Korea is the single country in the world where female monk sect exists.
7. Buddhist Destinations in Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka, an island country in Southeast Asia, is a mainly Buddhist country. Sri Lankan admired religion blends elements of Buddhism, Hinduism and olden concepts of gods and demons into a syncretistic religion of every day life. It is home to a range of captivating shrines, pilgrimage sites, temples and also churches and mosques. The most important destinations are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy and Dambulla for tourists who are hoping to explore Buddhism in this island country.
Sri Lanka is the holiest spots in Buddhism as the Temple of the Tooth located in Kandy. The dazzling 17th-century Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) is believed to restrain a tooth of Lord Buddha himself so the place of pilgrimage is visited by Buddhists from all over the world and huge festivals are held in its honor. This valuable relic attracts daily white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani.
Main Buddhist attractions in Anuradhapura are positioned at a distance of about 205 km north of the Colombo that is the Atamasthana or 8 main places of worship that include Sri Maha Bodhi, Lovamahapaya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Abayagiriya, Jetavanaramaya, Mirisaveti and Lankarama. In Polonnaruwa, many captivating ruins remain that include a reclining Buddha, seated Buddha and standing Buddha all carved out of a sole block of granite. Dambulla is prominent for its many caves that contain superb Buddhist frescoes and sculptures, as well as examples of Hindu art.
8. Great Buddhist Temples of Tibet:
Tibet holds its religion and spirituality at top priority and the moment you enter Tibet, you can easily make out that the religion followed mostly is Buddhism. A trip to Tibet is really important for a Buddhist tourist because it offers a glance into a completely diverse form of Buddhism - the Vajrayana Buddhism. Tibet is a glittering and unexplored land where you can see religious arts and artifacts and even a religious touch in about every man made object whether in a bustling temple town or a sedate village.
Jokhang Temple ("House of the Lord") is the holiest and the most active Buddhist temple in Tibet located in Lhasa nearly 2 km east of Potala. It is built in 647 AD by the supreme of the Tibetan King Shrong Tsong Gompo to house the Buddha figure brought from Nepal by his Nepalese wife Bhrikuti. This temple attracts crowd of prostrating Tibetan pilgrims and curious foreign tourists annually. Other popular Buddhist Destinations include Shannan located in the south eastern part of the Tibet where 251 monasteries, temples and other religious places serves the religious needs of the people. Shigatse which occupies the southern part of the Tibet, is home to some of the most stunning monasteries of Tibet like Lhasa. Ngari is very important for both Hindus and Buddhists, where Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in Ngari are known as "Sacred Mountain and Holy Lake" of Buddhism.
9. Buddhist Tourism in Nepal:
Hinduism and Buddhism are two foremost religions of Nepal and it has more worth visiting Buddhist destinations apart from other pilgrim destinations. Nepal is on the first rank of Buddhist tourists list as its cold weather is strong attraction as well as a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and adventure loving people. One other reason is that Nepal is home of two holy places: Lumbini - the birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha and Kapilavastu - the place where he grew up.
Lumbini is situated close to the Shakyan capital of Kapilavastu in the southern region of Nepal called the Terai. Lumbini was a gorgeous garden full of green and shady Sal trees (Shorea) in the Buddha's time. Several stupas, monasteries and temples surround the garden due to the fact that Lord Buddha had taken birth in Lumbini Garden, which makes it a place of reverence.
Kapilvastu is a historic town positioned about 250 km from Kathmandu and 25 km from Lumbini. It is the place where Siddhartha Gautama, who later became Lord Buddha lived till the age of 29. In Kapilvastu, the prince saw sorrow and pain of life, and finally decided to give up all in search of enlightenment. Today, the town is visited by tourists for spiritual, civilizing and archaeological significance.
10. Buddhist Travel Destinations in India:
India also has followers of Buddhist religion besides Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. India is dotted with all important places allied to Lord Buddha so people from far flung comes here to visit the sacred places and pay their homage. India has numerous Buddhist Pilgrimage Destinations and Buddhist Tour Destinations to visit and explore. India beckons abundant holidaymakers yearly, since this incredible land of our planet offers different forms of tourism to its guests. India is the birthplace of many great religions of the world at which Buddhism was also born about 2,500 years ago. You can visit places where Lord Buddha attained the enlightenment, preached his sermons and achieved the parinirvana on your Buddhist Destinations Tour in India.
Ajanta is famed for its Buddhist rock-cut cave temples and monasteries with their surprising wall paintings located in Maharashtra, India. The Ajanta Caves has a series of 29 Buddhist cave temples out of which some are created before the 2nd century BC.
The Buddha enjoined his followers before his death to make pilgrimages to four spots; at Lumbini, where he was born; Uruvela (modern BodhGaya), the site of his enlightenment; Sarnath, the location of his first sermon; and Kushinara, at which he died. Out of all these above, Bodh Gaya remains the most sacred of the four.
Bodhgaya is the place located just 13 km from Gaya in Bihar where Great prince Siddhartha, later called Lord Buddha, attained enlightenment beneath a pipal tree after a long quest of truth and knowledge. Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at the Deer park in Sarnath, placed just 10 km away from Varanasi. Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh) is one more noteworthy place connected to Lord Buddha's life situated 53 km from Gorakhpur where Buddha attained the state of Mahaparinirvana or enduring bliss at the age of 80.
For the followers of Buddhism in Delhi, a World Buddhist Centre was established in the year 1996 that is a meditation retreat. At Sankisa, it is said that Lord Buddha descended from heaven to here. It is positioned in the Farukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh, around 40 km away from Kannauj. At Kopan, there is a Buddhist Meditation Retreat which is placed on hill that overlooks the city of Kathmandu. Rajgir, situated on the rocky hills was witness to the teachings of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira. In Bihar, Nalanda is a small village and their surrounding areas have many associations with the Buddha and his disciples.
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