Before I start helping you out in the adventure of knowing about Stupas, let me tell you what a Stupa really is. A Stupa (Sanskrit) is a mound-like or semi hemispherical structure built with underdone bricks used often surrounded by a brick fence by Buddhists for meditation. There are five kinds of stupas classification based on functions: relic stupa (relics or remains of Buddha and his disciples), object stupa (objects belonged to Buddha and his disciples), commemorative stupa (built to commemorate the events in the life of Buddha), symbolic stupa (to symbolize aspects of Buddhist theology) and votive stupa (in order to gain spiritual benefits, these are regularly visited).
Some of the important Buddhist Stupas in India that you should plan a visit to have been summarised below:
Dhamek Stupa: this stupa is of a cylindrical shape, located in Sarnath and it is said to mark the spot of a deer park (Rishipattana) where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after accomplishing enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”. The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished.
Sanchi Stupa: Sanchi stupa is located in Sanchi. The Sanchi Stupa is the oldest stone structure in India. It was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in 3rd century BC. It is built over a relic of Buddha. The chatra( a parasol-like structure) as a crown at the top of the stupa signifies high-rank, which is used to honour and protect the relics.
Shanti Stupa: Shanti stupa is located in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir. The Shanti Stupa contains relics of Buddha at its base preserved by The 14th Dalai Lama himself. The stupa is a great tourist attraction as it gives an unmatched panoramic view of the surroundings.
Deur Kotha: It is located in Madhya Pradesh and is also credited to the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the great.
Bojannakonda: Located 45kms away from Vishakhapatnam, it is believed to be made between 4th to 9th century AD that’s when the three phases of Buddhism (Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) flourished in Sangharam (now Sankaram).
Kushinagar: This sacred place is located in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. This is where Gautama Buddha attained his Parinirvana after his death.
Nagarjunakonda: Located in Andhra Pradesh, it is very rich in history even one of the richest place for the history of Buddhism. It is near the Nagarjunasagar.
There are Amaravati Stupa, Kesaria Stupa (Bihar), Pavurallakonda (near Vishakhapatnam), Thotlakonda (near Vishakhapatnam), Salihundum (Andhra Pradesh) Chaukhandi Stupa (Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh) etc. which are also of great interest towards the tourists.
So these are some stupas you can really include in your travel list. Visiting these places can grant you mental peace, spirituality, good amount of history and so much more.
Sreenyanika Das aka Sree is doing her studies in Journalism and Mass communication. Travelling is her passion and she loves to write about it. She wants to be an adventurer/traveller. For fun she sketches cartoons and takes photographs too.