1. The Mahanadi – Brahmani – Chitrotpala Delta region of Odisha has one of India’s largest concentrations of Buddhist sites dating from 3rd century BC to 11th century AD.
2. In 3rd century BC, Emperor Ashoka fought the great battle of Kalinga with the local army of the region on the bank of River Daya. After the battle, a major transformation took place in the life of the emperor. He adopted Buddhism and preached the religion far and wide. At Dhauli, on the outskirt of Bhubaneswar, a rock-cut elephant symbolizing Lord Buddha is an Ashoka’s creation. This is also one of world’s earliest Buddhist art.
3. The Langudi Hill in Jajpur district, not far from the Brahmani River, is one of India’s unique early Buddhist sites. Excavations have unearthed a stupa of Ashoka’s time and a series of rock-cut stupas belonging to 1st-2nd century BC.
4. Lalitgiri, a low hill on the highway connecting Chandikhol to Paradip Port, is an interesting early Buddhist site. One of the earliest remains of the site is a brick made chaityagriha in the apsidal plan. Its rock-cut variations are found at Ajanta, Ellora, Pittalkhora and other Buddhist caves in Maharashtra.
5. Excavations have also unearthed a Buddhist stupa of early period. During the excavation in 1980s, archaeologists had discovered relics of the Buddha in gold and silver caskets.
6. Ratnagiri is one of India’s largest Buddhist sites representing the Mahayana and Vajrayana faiths. The site flourished between 5th and 8th centuries AD. The mahavihara of Ratnagiri is the largest in India. The key attraction of the monastery is its splendid gateway made of chlorite schist stone.
7. Ratnagiri is known for preserving the highest concentration of votive stupas in the Buddhist world. These were the relics of dead theras who lived here when the place was active.
8. Udayagiri identified as the Udayana Pitha (the birthplace of Vajrayana Buddhism) by a few historians is another landmark Buddhist site in the valley. One of its key attractions is a squarish Vajaryana stupa containing the images of Dhyani Buddhas on its four sides.
9. Udayagiri also has two large monasteries, a number of stupas including votive stupas, Buddhist sculptures and a chatiyagriha.
10. Lalitgiri was also a centre of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. There are a number of beautiful monasteries unearthed during the excavations.
Read more at : Idea of India website