The Buddhist Circuit:

  • IASbaba
  • October 21, 2021
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Oct 20 Oct: Buddhist Circuits – https://youtu.be/00f6ahl1hxM


  • GS-I: Ancient History; Indian Heritage Sites

The Buddhist Circuit:

To facilitate travel and pilgrimage experience for the approximately 500 million-strong community of Buddhists that lives across Asia and other parts of the world.

  • Ministry of Tourism has identified the Buddhist Circuit as one of the thematic circuits for development under its Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
  • Five projects, with a combined outlay of more than 350 crore rupees, have been sanctioned for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Ministry of Tourism 

CNBs Signage has been installed in Chinese language at 5 below monuments in Uttar Pradesh:

  • Site and Stupa and monastery of the Sakyas Piprahwa- Lucknow Circle
  • Sravasti – Lucknow Circle
  • Ancient Buddhist site of Sarnath- Sarnath Circle
  • Chaukhandi Stupa – Sarnath Circle
  • Buddhist relics and Mahaparinirvana temple located at Kushinagar- Sarnath Circle.
  • The CNBs signage in Sinhali language at Sanchi monuments in Madhya Pradesh has also been installed.

Some important places – 

  • Sarnath– The Deer Park adjoining the Archaeological Complex at Sarnath that the Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon after he attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya.  The reason for choosing Sarnath was that the five men who had accompanied Buddha on his journey of asceticism, and later abandoned him had settled in Sarnath.  So when Buddha attained enlightenment, he felt that they should be the first one to know what he learned.  So he proceeded to Sarnath and preached his first teachings known as Dharmachakrapravartana Sutra.
  • Rajgir-  It was the capital of Magadh Kingdom.  It was here that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Gridhra-kuta, (Vulture peak). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and initiated King Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to Buddhism. It was here that Budhha delivered his famous Atanatiya Sutra.
  • Sravasti- It was the capital of ancient Kosala kingdom and is sacred to the Buddhists because it is here that Lord Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles to confound the Tirthika heretics. These miracles include Buddha creating multiple images of himself, which has been a favourite theme of Buddhist art. Buddha showed his divine prowess to impress upon the non-believers. The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Sravasti. 
  • Vulture peak– One of the several sites frequented by the Buddha and his community of disciples for both training and retreat.
  • Kesariya –  Kesariya Stupa is a Buddhist stupa in Kesariya, located at a distance of 110 kilometres  from Patna, in the Champaran (east) district of Bihar, India. The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. Kesariya Stupa has a circumference of almost 400 feet (120 m) and raises to a height of about 104 feet.
  • Vaishali–  It is said that the Buddha visited this place thrice and spent quite a long time here. The Buddha also delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Nirvana here.
  • Kushinagar–  Kushinagar is the centre of the Buddhist circuitwhich consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya, and one of the four sacred places of Lord Buddha. Buddha delivered his last sermon, attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC and was cremated at Rambhar Stupa.


A famous painting of 10 headed Buddha is found in these caves: Kanheri caves are a group of caves located in Salsette Island, Mumbai.

Constitution states…

  • Under Article 49 of the Constitution, the State is under obligation to protect every monument, place or object of artistic or historic interest declared to be of national importance from spoilation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be. (DPSP)
  • Under Article 51A(f) of the Constitution, there is fundamental duty to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. (Fundamental Duties)

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme launched in 2014 -15.
  • Objective: (1) Integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in the country; (2) To position the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation
  • The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for infrastructure development of circuits.

Kushinagar International Airport

  • The airport is expected to provide seamless connectivity to tourists from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and so on. 
  • The Sri Lankan contingent, led by a member of the first family, will also be present, owing to the historical importance of the place.

Mural painting as a token of gift

  • To mark the occasion, Sri Lanka will present to India photographs of two murals painted by renowned Sri Lankan artist Solias Mendis at the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara, a popular Buddhist temple near Colombo
  • One of the murals depicts ‘Arahat Bhikkhu’ Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka delivering the message of the Buddha to King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka. 
  • The other shows the arrival of ‘Theri Bhikkhuni’ Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Emperor Ashoka, in Sri Lanka, bearing a sapling of the ‘sacred Bodhi tree’ under which Siddhārtha Gautama is believed to have attained enlightenment.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. How did Buddhism spread in different parts of the world? Examine.
  2. “Buddhism was not just a religious revolution, but a social revolution too.” Comment.
  3. Essay: Buddhism and Diplomacy

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