Bihar Buddhist Sites
Even though the entire Bihar is a big monastery (Bihar gets is name from vihara that means monastry) with several Buddhist sites and impressive Buddhist ruins, the leading Buddhist spots of the state are: Bodh Gaya, Patna, Nalanda, Vaishali, and Rajgir.
The most sacred Buddhist place in the world and the place where Lord Buddha got nirvana (enlightenment), Bodh Gaya is much famous for the Mahabodhi Temple (main monastery of Bodh Gaya and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the sacred tree under which Lord Buddha is believed to have got enlightenment. Presently, many nations that include, among others, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand have wonderful Buddhist temples around the main Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya.
The state capital of Bihar, Patna has an excellent museum that has several rare Buddhist sculptures and manuscripts that throw much light on Buddhism and Lord Buddha. The excellent museum also has several statues of Lord Buddha and Bodhisattvas. The pride of the Patna Museum is the holy relic casket of Lord Buddha that contains his ashes. No wonder, Buddhist scholars and others interested in Buddhism and its history make it a point to visit the Patna Museum.
Much famous for the Nalanda University (A prestigious seat of learning in Asia) where students and scholars came from far off lands to quench their thirst for knowledge and wisdom, and, of course, study the Pali Literature, to know Buddhism better, Nalanda occupies a rather high place in the list of the Buddhist destinations of India. Lord Buddha had visited this place. In fact, the ancient city of Nalanda is built at the exact spot where Buddha had stayed earlier.
Vaisali is another place that has deep links with Buddhism and Buddha. Lord Buddha frequently visited this place and also delivered his final sermon here. To commemorate the event, Ashoka--one of the greatest emperors of India who also spread Buddhism throughout the world--erected one of his famous lion pillars here. A hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha, Vaishali hosted the second Buddhist council.
Another key Buddhist spot, Rajgir was the place where Lord Buddha spent many months meditating, and preaching at Griddhkuta, Hill of the Vultures. Besides, it was at Rajgir that Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons and converted the famous king of Magadha Bimbisara and innumerable others to Buddhism.