Topic of the Day - India's First Trans-National Tourist Circuit

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day: India’s First Trans-National Tourist Circuit – Buddhist Circuit.

The ministry of tourism has decided to announce the Buddhist circuit from India to Nepal as its first trans-national tourist circuit. It is an attempt to attract Buddhist tourists to India, alongside Sri Lanka and Nepal with the Buddhist circuit spanning over all the three countries.

This article will provide you with relevant information on the Buddhist Circuit, which is important for Prelims and GS3 of the IAS Exam.

What is the Buddhist Circuit?

The Buddhist circuit includes the most important pilgrimage destinations for Buddhist tourists. The development of the Buddhist Circuit is a part of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme announced by the Government of India in 2014 which encompasses the development of theme-based tourist circuits. Know in detail about the Swadesh Darshan Scheme on the link provided here.

India is home to seven of the eight Buddhist sites, yet receives less than 1% of the Buddhist pilgrims in the world. The Buddhist circuit as envisioned by the ministry of tourism includes Kapilavastu and Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace) in Nepal, Shravasthi, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Rajgir, Vaishali, and Bodhgaya in India.

Lumbini

  • Lumbini in Nepal is believed to the place where Queen Maya gave birth to Siddhartha (Buddha) in 563 BC.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Kapilavastu

  • Located in southern Nepal, Kapilavastu was the capital of the Shakyas where Siddhartha lived with his parents until he renounced his family life and left the palace at the age of 29.

Shravasthi

  • Located by the Rapti River in Uttar Pradesh, the ancient city of Shravasti was the capital of Kosala. This is believed to be the place where Buddha spent fourteen Chaturmasas, a holy period of four months. Shravasthi is home to many old viharas and stupas associated with the enlightened one.

Sarnath

  • The place where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment is the city of Sarnath located on the confluence of river Gomathi and Ganges in Uttar Pradesh.

Kushinagar

  • Kushinagar is the place where Buddha is believed to have attained Parinirvana and is located in Uttar Pradesh.

Rajgir

  • Rajgir is the place where the first Buddhist council was held. He is believed to have delivered many of his sermons during his 12-year stay.

Vaishali

  • Vaishali is the place where Buddha preached his last sermon before his death in 483 BC.  The second Buddhist council was held here in 383 BC.

Bodhgaya

  • Bodhgaya is a sacred pilgrim place for Buddhists as it is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The Mahabodhi temple tree is a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • The plan aims at offering world-class facilities to lure the Buddhist pilgrims to India, which will give a tremendous boost to the tourism revenue and employment in India.

Candidates can go through the updated list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India on the linked page.

Since the Buddhist Circuit is related to Buddha, the table below lists a few important articles that are relevant for aspirants preparation-

Buddhist Circuit – State-wise Circuits

The following table highlights the State-wise Buddhist Circuits, destinations as well as amenities under focus for development under each circuit.

State Wise Buddhist Circuits Destinations & Amenities Covered
Madhya Pradesh Buddhist Circuit Sanchi, Mandsaur, Dhar, Satna, Rewa, Satdhara, Sonari, Murelhurda, Gyaraspur, Sitamau (Mandsaur) Wayside Amenity, Sardarpur(Dhar) Wayside Amenity, Rahatgarh WaySide Amenity, Mangwa(Rewa) Wayside Amenity, Signages, Wifi, CCTV, Virtual Tour
Gujarat Buddhist Circuit Uparkot at Junagadh, Baba Pyare Caves, Khapara Kodiya, Ashoka Rock, Junagadh Wayside Amenities, Sana Caves at Gir Somnath, Prabhas Patan Buddhist Caves, Kadiya, Dungar, Kutch (Siyot Caves), Bhavnagar (Talaja Buddhist caves), Rajkot (Khambhalida Caves), Vadnagar Buddhist Monastery, Taranga Buddhist Caves
Andhra Pradesh Buddhist Circuit Amaravati, Anupu, Bojjanakonda, Salihundam, Totlakonda and Bavikonda
Bihar Convention Centre in Bodhgaya Bodh Gaya
Uttar Pradesh Wayside Amenities Varanasi to Gaya, Lucknow to Ayodhya, Ayodhya to Lucknow, Kushinagar to Gaya, Gaya to Kushinagar
Uttar Pradesh Buddhist Circuit Sravasti, Kapilwastu, Kushinagar, Common facilities

Other Circuits

Many other circuits are announced by the Ministry of Tourism under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development and promotion of tourist sites. The table below enlists the names of other tourist circuits.

  1. Coastal Circuit
  2. Desert circuit
  3. Eco Circuit
  4. Heritage Circuit
  5. Himalayan Circuit
  6. North-East Region Circuit
  7. Krishna Circuit
  8. Ramayana circuit
  9. Sufi Circuit
  10. Rural Circuit
  11. Spiritual Circuit
  12. Wild Life Circuit
  13. Tirthankara Circuit
  14. Tribal Circuit

For information on all these circuits visit the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (page link provided above).

The facts related to the Buddhist Circuit will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams, and so on.

Aspirants of various government exams mentioned-above can check the following links for assistance in preparation-

You can also check out the preparation strategies for competitive exams to fine-tune your exam prep.

free online quiz for IBPS, SSC and other government exams

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