Astamahasthanas are 8 great holy places. 4 are as follows:
- Lumbini: Birth of Buddha.
- Bodhgaya: Enlightment of Buddha.
- Sarnath: First sermon or Dhammachakraparivartan
- Kushinagar: Death or mahaparinirvana
Along with them, Sravasti, Sankasya, Rajgir and Vaishali are known as Astamahasthanas.
Amarawati in Andhrapradesh’s Guntur district is also known as Dhanyakataka or Dharanikota and was the site of a great Buddhist Stupa built in pre-Mauryan times, ruled by Satavahana kings.
Nagarjunkonda is near Nagarjun Sagar in Andhra Pradesh. Once, it was home to more than 30 Buddhist Viharas (Buddhist universities and monasteries), attracting students from as far as China, Gandhara, Bengal and Sri Lanka. Nagarjunkonda was one the largest and most important Buddhist centers in South India from the second centuary BC until the third century AD. It was named after Nagarjuna, a renowned Buddhist scholar and philosopher, who had migrated here from Amaravati to propagate and spread the Buddha’s message of universal peach and brotherhood. Remains were discovered in 1926 by archaeologist AR Saraswati in 1926.
Ajanta Caves are 31 rock cut caves from 2nd to 8th century AD, located in Aurangabad. The first caves called Chaityas were created during Satavahana Dynasty. Cave No. 1 has the painting of Padmapani and Vajrapani. Painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted on the walls.
Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. The temple complex was built by Suryavarman II and it was first devoted to Vishnu and later to Buddhist.
Bodh Gaya was known as Bodhimanda, Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana and Mahabodhi till 18th century when Bodh Gaya name became popular. It has the Mahabodhi temple and Bodhi tree. It became Unesco world heritage site in 2002.
It’s a Pipal Tree (Ficus Religiosa) and known as Bo in Sri Lanka. Located in Bodh Gaya. Under this tree Gautama attained enlightment. The current tree is a descendent of the original tree. There are other Bodhi trees as well viz. Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree (Bo) or also known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi planted in 288 BC in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka and both of them have been propagated from the original tree. It is also known as oldest living Human Planted tree in the world with a known planting date.
Borobudur is located in Indonesia and comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. It’s a world Heritage site. There are 3 Buddhist temples which are known as Borobudur Temple Compounds.
They are located in Afghanistan and have statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art of 6th century, They were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world, before they were blown by dyanamite by Taliban in 2001.
Ellora Caves represent Buddhist, jain and Hindu Rock cut temples built by Rastrakuta Kings. Earliest Buddhist cave is Cave 6; most caves of Buddhism are Viharas. Cave number 10 is a Chaitya hall also known as Chandrashala or Vishwkarma Cave and also known as carpenter’s cave. At heart of this cave is a 15 ft statue of Buddha seated in a preaching pose.
Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri are the part of the Puspagiri University which flourished till 11th century in Orissa. They lie atop the Langudi hills in Jajpur and Cuttak of Orissa.