Explore Buddhist pilgrimage across Asia from the most famous Indian sites associated with the Buddha's life to more distant sites in Korea, China and Japan. Read about the most famous Buddhist pilgrims of the past and follow the routes of the two most important early Chinese pilgrims to India.
Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: China
After the spread of Buddhism in China, pilgrimage became an important part of the devotional practice of monks and lay people. Chinese monks, such as Xuanzang, Faxian and Yijing, travelled from China to India to collect Buddhist scriptures to be translated into Chinese, to visit holy sites and to study in Indian monasteries.
Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: Indonesia
Chinese literature of the 5th and 6th centuries mentions the significance of Palembang-Srivijaya as a centre for maritime trade, providing an important link between China, south-east Asia and India. During the 7th century it also became known as a centre for the practice of Vajrayana Buddhism (the Tantric school of Mahayana Buddhism).
Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: Nepal
As the birthplace of the historical Buddha, Nepal is one of the main centres of Mahayana Buddhism. Over a long period of time it has been a meeting place for Buddhist teachers and scholars. The Emperor Ashoka visited Nepal during the 2nd century BC and later sent missionaries there to spread the teachings of the Buddha
Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: The Silk Routes
Bordered by mountain ranges, a network of trade routes (that later became known as 'Silk Routes') encircled the Taklamakan Desert in Chinese Central Asia. A northern route linked settlements such as Turfan and Kucha and then continued westwards through Merv to Palmyra and finally Antioch and Tyre on the Mediterranean coast.