Buddhism in India is a story of survival and re gaining its existence. As a birthplace to Buddhism India used to hold the epicenter for Buddhism but after the Moguls arrival in India in 14th century Buddhism slowly faded away, the big monasteries where thousands of monks lived and studied disappeared during Mogul rule. India still is struggling to regain its position in Buddhism. There are some wonderful Buddhist jewels in the form of ancient temples and monasteries all over India.
1- Sarnath Temple
It is situated in the North Indian State (Uttar Pradesh). After receiving enlightenment Buddha went to Sarnath and it was where he gave his first sermon. It is one of the most holy sites as in this place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed.
2- Mahabodhi Temple
This is also situated in North Indian State (Bihar), and it is believed that Lord Buddha got enlightenment in this place. It is the first temple built in the 3rd century B.C. by a famous Indian emperor Ashoka who converted himself into Buddhism. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing over the centuries.
It is one of the oldest existing Buddhist monuments in Central India which was built in 3rd century B.C. by emperor Ashoka. This is entirely made by stone and adorned with beautiful carvings.
4- Shey Monastery
This was built in 1655 and it is situated in the North Indian region Laddakh which is close to Tibet. The monastery houses a 39 feet Buddha statue. The monastery also offers a magnificent view of the Leh Valley.
5- Zongkhul Monastery
This is a cave monastery which is situated in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir valley. It is said to be connected with Naropa, the famous Indian Yogi from Vikramshila. In fact, it is believed that he used the caves of the monastery for the purpose of his solitary meditation. Naropa's footprints embedded in the rock and his sacred spring, located inside the cave are still visible.
6- Rizong Gumpa
An impressive monastery in Laddhak Valley, near by the ancient river Indus. This monastery is famous as paradise of meditation. It was built in 1831 and serves as a residence for about 40 monks. The monastery also has a rich collection of Buddhist paintings.
7- Saktana monastery
It was founded by a Bhutanese saint Chose Jamyang in 16th century.It is famous for its breath taking views of Indus river and valley from its roof. As this is erected in a hill and resembles Tiger’s nose especially in evenings when it is reflected by the lights in its premises.
8- Alchi Choskor monastery
This monastery was built in 15th century in Laddhak Valley. The monastery complex consists of an assembly hall, a three storied temple and the temple of translator.
9- Lamayaru monastery
Located on a steep rock mountain, this is the oldest Buddhist monastery in Laddhak Valley. It was founded in 11th century. The monastery now serves as a residence for around 40 monks.
10- Dixit monastery
Built in 14th century this is the largest monastery in Laddhak and one of the largest monastery in India. The monastery celebrates a festival called Dosmoche, which is held in February every year. Large numbers of village people from the Valley attend this festival.
The purpose of this trip is to conjure up an understanding; perhaps a search into history and a quest to find out the amazing balance of six religions together (Hinduism, Islam Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity and Jainism). This journey takes you from harsh desert to marvelous palaces, into a wave of people, colors and culture. Along the way you will experience so many things that you never could have imagined, that’s why it is said that you “expect the unexpected in India”.