In the 6th century BC., India witnessed the rise of many heterodox sects. Their rise can be explained in terms of a reaction against the increasing rites and rituals of sacrificial Brahmanism. Contemporary texts attest the presence of as many as 63 such sects at that time. However, two of these survived the test of time and became distinct religions. These were Buddhism and Jainism. of these two, Buddhism spread outside India and is today the major religion of many South-East Asian countries, while Jainism became a purely Indian religion.
Gautam Buddha laid the foundation of Buddhism. It was in India where he found enlightenment and India boasts of having beautiful Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Nalanda, though disappeared in the 13th century, was once a world center of Buddhism. The various Buddhist pilgrimages in India attract a huge number of devotees from all round the world. What better place to visit than the holy Ganges, where most of the Buddhist pilgrimages are found. The feeling of eternity is always there and everywhere you turn your eyes you will find nothing, except rich heritage. In India the famous Buddhist spots are Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Sarnath, Sanchi stupa, Shravasti and cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora.
It was in Lumbini where Lord Buddha was born and here you can find the ruins of the stupa and pillar by emperor Ashoka. Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha got enlightment under the Bodhi tree which seems to have an eternal life, sprouting even after being destroyed completely. The Mahabodhi temple and a monastic order looking after the three monasteries are things of interest here. Though Sarnath monasteries are in ruins now, they attract a lot of devotees. Shravasti boasts of Buddha's miracles and the Mahabodhi temple and a monastic order looking after the three monasteries are worth visiting. If you want to know Buddha and his teachings in depth you must visit the Buddhist pilgrimages in India.