Reclaiming Buddhist sites in modern India: pilgrimage and tourism in Sarnath and Bodhgaya

Thumbnail Image
Gandhi, Rutika
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Religious Studies
The promotion of Buddhist pilgrimage sites by the Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism has accelerated since the launch of the Incredible India Campaign in 2002. This thesis focuses on two sites, Sarnath and Bodhgaya, which have been subject to contestations that precede the nation-state’s efforts at gaining economic revenue. The Hindu-Buddhist dispute over the Buddha’s image, the Saivite occupation of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, and Anagarika Dharmapala’s attempts at reclaiming several Buddhist sites in India have led to conflicting views, motivations, and interpretations. For the purpose of this thesis, I identify the primary national and transnational stakeholders who have contributed to differing views about the sacred geography of Buddhism in India. Furthermore, I discuss the extent to which the marketing of these Buddhist pilgrimage sites as tourist destinations has shaped, altered, or intensified the contested nature of Sarnath and Bodhgaya.
Buddhist pilgrims and pilgrimages -- India -- Buddh Gaya , Buddhist pilgrims and pilgrimages -- India -- Sarnath Site , Buddhist temples -- India -- Buddh Gaya , Buddhist temples -- India -- Sarnath Site , Buddhist shrines -- India -- Buddh Gaya , Buddhist shrines -- India -- Sarnath Site , Tourism -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism , Buddh Gaya (India) -- Religious life and customs , Sarnath Site (India) -- Religious life and customs , Bodhgaya , Buddhism in India , religious pilgrimages , religious site reclamation , religious tourism , Sarnath