Evidence suggests that Lord Buddha visited Rampurva, Lauriya Nandangarh, Areraj, Kesariya, Vaishali, and Hajipur en route to Bodh Gaya. Being associated with the Buddha’s life, these important monuments are today protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and are visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims from around the world each year.
To promote the sites, Bihar’s tourism minister Jawaid Iqbal Ansari has made an appeal to tour operators and travel agencies across the world to prepare an itinerary for tourists and pilgrims to visit the places on Bihar’s Buddhist trail. “All the sites associated with Lord Buddha pilgrimage tour would be developed to attract Buddhist pilgrims,” he said. “It would be major attraction for all the Buddhists across the world.”
Working alongside the Bihar state government, the central government’s Ministry of Tourism is also planning to promote Buddhist sites both in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and is working on a “Buddha heritage” project to help the state governments.
Also among Bihar’s holy Buddhist sites is the Mahabodhi Temple, which is one of the most spiritual attractions for Buddhists all over the world. However, since the 2012 bomb blasts in Bodh Gaya tourism has generally decreased in the state, and extra efforts will therefore need to be made to attract pilgrims to the Buddhist circuit. The state government will also need to develop infrastructure for pilgrims and tourists at the other Buddhist sites in Bihar.