The Ministry of Tourism has identified following three circuits to be developed as Buddhist Circuits in the country with the help of Central Government/State Government/Private stake holders:
Circuit 1: The Dharmayatra or the Sacred Circuit - This will be a 5 to 7 days circuit and will include visits to Gaya (Bodhgaya), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.
Circuit 2: Extended Dharmayatra or Extended Sacred Circuit or Retracing Buddha’s Footsteps - This will be a 10 to 15 day circuit and will include visits to Bodhgaya (Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya), Patna (Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, Lauriya Areraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum), Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Sankisa) with a day trip to Lumbini in Nepal.
Circuit 3: Buddhist Heritage Trails (State Circuits).
i. Jammu and Kashmir - Ladakh, Srinagar (Harwan, Parihaspora) and Jammu (Ambaran).
ii. Himachal Pradesh - Dharamshala, Spiti, Kinnaur and Lahaul.
iii. Punjab - Sanghon.
iv. Haryana – Jind (Assan), Yamunanagar(Sugh).
v. Maharashtra -Aurangabad (Ajanta, Ellora, Pithalkora Caves), Pune (Karla Caves), Mumbai (Kanheri Caves), Pune (Bhaja Caves) and Nashik (Pandavleni Caves).
vi. Andhra Pradesh - Amravati, Nagarjunakonda, Vizag (Borra Caves, Salihundum Caves).
vii. Madhya Pradesh - Sanchi, Satdhara, Andher, Sonari, Murulkurd.
viii. Odisha (Dhauli, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Udaygiri, Langudi, Khandagiri).
ix. Chhattisgarh – Sirpur.
x. West Bengal - Kolkata (Indian Museum)
xi. Sikkim - Rumtek, Enchay and other Monasteries.
xii. Arunachal Pradesh –Tawang and Bomdila.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the Departments of Tourism of the Governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) have entered into an agreement to cooperate in upgrading the quality of services and goods provided for tourists along the Buddhist Circuits in UP and Bihar. Under this agreement, the signatories are designing a strategy aimed at a broader integrated Buddhist Circuit Tourism Development Project, for both Buddhist pilgrims and those wishing to experience the essence of Buddhist heritage.
To showcase India’s advantage in having several Buddhist sites and to make a new initiative in the emerging area of spiritual tourism, Ministry of Tourism regularly organizes Buddhist Conclaves and Conferences. An International Buddhist Heritage Conference was organized in Nalanda, on February 6-7, 2010 followed by tours to Bodh Gaya. The theme for the Conference was “Experience Buddhism in the land of Origin”. The International Buddhist Conclave was organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from 29th September to 1st October, 2012 at Varanasi and Bodh Gaya.