Uttar Pradesh state in India is the cradle of Buddhism in India. It is here actually that Buddha preached his first sermon. Graced by Lord Buddha most of the times post enlightenment, this Buddhist state is accredited to host many pilgrimage sites. Here, the spiritual master travelled extensively, preached many sermons and performed many miracles. Therefore, the presence of Buddha is absorbed completely in this Indian state.
Of all the Buddhist sites in UP; Sarnath stands out because of its intrinsic association with the faith. Here, lord having attained enlightenment delivered his first sermon to his first five followers at the Isipattna or Deer Park. The first sermon included identification of four noble truths and adherence of middle path, balancing both material and spiritual life. Also, here he initiated Sangha, the communion of Buddha followers and turned the wheel of law here. This Buddhist site here holds reverence amongst pilgrims for the presence of its two stupas, Chaukhandi and Dhamekh. Also the site once hosted the Lion Capital Ashokan Pillar, which is the original inspiration behind the national emblem of India.
Next prominent Buddhist destination here is Kushinagar. One of the four important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, it was here the lord left his corporeal self and attained final Mahaparinirvana. A temple and the Ramabhar stupa here are the center of devotion for Buddhist travellers.
Sankisa or Sankassa, near Lucknow is associated with lord’s miracle. Here, Sakyamuni descended to earth after preaching the sermon to his mother in heaven. Ruins of an Ashokan Stupa and a temple dedicated to lord mother are the part of Buddhist heritage at Sankasia.
Sravasti in eastern UP offers the most captivating experience to a pilgrim. This destination is mentioned in Buddhist texts as Jetavana monastery, the site where Lord Buddha spent 24 monsoon retreats. This site also hosted communion of Buddhist followers who gathered here to witness enlightening sermons by the master. The evocative ruins of monastery and stupas here are the center of attraction in Sravasti.
Also, the sculptural representation of Lord Buddha is accredited to Mathura. Here, the skilled carvers, based on the textual description of the master carved and shaped up the sculptures of Lord Buddha that are seen as the object of devotion for every devout follower.