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Buddha Purnima commemorates the birth, attainment of enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha. Also called Buddha Jayanti and Vesak, the festival is observed on the full moon day of the lunar month, which corresponds with the months of April-May.
On this day, devotees from around the country wear white clothes, exchange greetings and preach his teachings (dharma).
One of the most vibrant celebrations can be witnessed in Bihar’s Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under a banyan tree. The popular Mahabodhi Temple, which shelters a tree that has grown from the original banyan tree, is lit up with bright lights, decorated with flowers and welcomes devotees, pilgrims and visitors from around the world. Sarnath (near Varanasi) in Uttar Pradesh also lights up for this festival as this is where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples. To mark the day, a large fair is held here and relics of the lord are taken out on caparisoned elephants for display.