During the three-month monsoon period ( vassa) , the Buddha stayed in one place. A lot of times, he spent the other parts of the year traveling from one place to another . The Apannaka-Jataka mentioned that , " the Blessed One went from Savatthi back to Rajagaha again....After some seven or eight months' stay, the Blessed One came back to Jetavana." The Buddha spent the 21st to 38th vassa at Jetavana, and the 39th to 44th vassa at Pubbarama Monastery.
During one of the vassa, a number of bhikkhus were making a robe for the Blessed One, thinking: 'After the three months, with his robe completed, the Blessed One will set out on tour.'
The Chamberlains Isadatta and Purana came to the Buddha and said to him:
" Venerable sir, when we hear that the Blessed One wil set out from Savathi on tour among the Kosalans, on that occasion there arises in us distress and displeasure at the thought: ' The Blessed One will be far away from us.'
"Further, venerable sir, when we hear that the Blessed One has set out from among the Kosalans on tour in the Mallan country... from among the Mallans on tour in the Vajiian country...from among the Vajjian on tour in the Kasian country...from among the Kasian on tour in Magadha, on that occasion there arises in us great distress and displeasure at the thought: ' The Blessed One is far away from us.'
" But, venerable sir, when we hear that the Blessed one will set out from among the Magadhans on tour in the Kasian country, on that occasion there arises in us elation and joy at the thought: ' The Blessed One will be near to us.'
" Further, venerable sir, when we hear that the Blessed One will set out from among the Kasians on tour in the Vajjians country... from among the Vajiians on tour in the Mallans country...from among the Mallans on tour in Kosala ..from among the Kosalans on tour to Savathi, on that occasion there arises in us elation and joy at the thought : ' The Blessed One will be near to us."
Buddha replied: " ...Therefore, chamberlains, the household life is confinement, a path of dust. The going forth is like the open air. It is enough for you, chamberlains, to be diligent. The noble disciple, chamberlains, who possesses four things is a stream-enterer, no longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny , with enlightenment as his destination."
" What four? Here, chamberlains, a noble disciple possesses confirmed confidence in the Buddha thus: ' The Blessed One is ..teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.' He possesses confirmed confidence in the Dhamma..in the Sangha...He dwells at home with a mind void of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinguishment, one devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. A noble disciple who possesses these four things is a stream-enterer, no longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny , with enlightenment as his destination."- Samyutta Nikaya (" The Chamberlains")
It appears that during this period, a typical tour of the Buddha would starts from Kosala, Malla, Vaji, Kasi, then Magadha. From Magadha he would journey to Kasi, Vaji, Malla, Kosala, Savathi in Kosala, then finally Jeta Grove. Of course, there are some variations from time to time. Sometime he visits Cetiya, Vamsa, Kuru, Avanti, Pancala, Kajangala, and Himalaya. The suttas provide some information about where he stayed during the journeys, the people he encountered, and what he taught at each places.
Campa (Gaggara Lotus Pond) : The Buddha visited campa on several occasions. He stayed on the banks of the beautiful Gaggara lake / lotus pond with 500 bhikkhus. On the banks of the lake was a grove of campaka-trees, well known for the fragrance of their marvellous white flowers. Wandering samanas often lodge in this area. On his first visit, a great crowds in vast numbers of householders went to see him along with the head brahmin Sonadanda and 500 other brahmins.
Bhaddiya (Jatiyavana): Not long after awakening, the Buddha visited Bhaddiya. He also visited the city on several other occasions in the later years. The Buddha stayed in the Jatiyavana grove nearby. The grove formed part of a forest track extending up to the Himalaya. Having perceived the potential for Awakening in Bhaddaji, he came to Bhaddiya to seek him out. The Buddha stayed here for three months to wait for the ripening of Bhaddaji's wisdom. During their stay in town, the Treasurer Mendaka visited him and provided dana for the sangha . When Mendaka realized that the Buddha and the Bhikkhus had gone on to Anguttarapa, Mendaka and 1,250 cow-keepers followed after them with 1,250 cows to offer fresh milk and other luxurious food before letting them depart. At the end of the meal, he provided the bhikkhus with ghee and butter for their journey (Vinaya Mahavagga , Sixth Khandhaka, Chapter 34). The Blessed One went to Apana afterward. In later visits, Mendaka's grandson also provided food for the sangha.
Apana - Anguttarapa ( deep green forest ) :The Buddha stayed in the deep green forest on the banks of the Mahi river during his visits. He once visited the city with 1,250 bhikkhus and seems to have stayed over a week. The matted hair ascetic (Jatila Keniya) in the area paid a visit to the Buddha and invited the whole company for dana. The Brahmin Sela and 300 others also went to see him in the forest . They joined the sangha and became Arahants after eight days. The Buddha went on to Kusinara from there (Vinaya Mahavagga , Sixth Khandhaka, Chapter 35).
Assapura: One of the discourse the Buddha gave at Assapura was the Maha-Assapura Sutta.
Uruvela: Here, the Buddha stayed on the banks of the Neranjara River before his enlightenment. He came back here several times. Various shrines such as the Animimsa-cetiya, Ratanacankama-cetiya, and the Ratanaghara later came into existence at the spots he stayed right after enlightenment.
Ambasanda ( Vediya mountain) - In this location, the Buddha stayed in the Indasalaguha cave on the Vediya mountain , to the north of Ambasanda village. The cave lay between two overhanging rocks, with a large sala-tree at the entrance. The villagers added walls with doors and windows. They ornamented it with polished plaster scroll-work and garlands to presented it to the Buddha. It was one yojana north-east of Nalanda and east of Rajagaha. Once, when the Buddha was staying in the cave, Sakka and the other gods visited him ( Sakkapanha Sutta). It is said eight hundred million devas realized the Truth after the discourse (Mil.349) .
Andhakavinda( Gandhakuti) The Buddha visited this place on various occasions. Between Andhakavinda and Rajagaha is the river Sappini, which rises in the Vulture's Peak. Once the Buddha went from Benares to Andhakavinda with 1,250 monks, many people followed them for months with cartloads of food supply so that they can take turn to feed them. There were so many awaiting their turn that a certain brahmin had to wait for two months but his turn haven't come around (Vinaya Mahavagga , Sixth Khandhaka, Chapter 24 ). On another visit, a lay devotee built a Gandhakuti for the Buddha at Andhakavinda, and personally looked after the Buddha while he was there. From Andhakavinda the Buddha sometimes returned to Rajagaha.
Rajagaha ( Veluvana, Moranivapa ,Latthivana, Sitavana, Jivakambavana) : The Buddha seems frequently to have visited and stayed in Rajagaha. During one of the early visit to the city right after enlightenment, king Bimbisara and his subjects gave the Buddha a great welcome. The king entertained him and a large assembly of monks in the palace and gifted the Veluvana to the Sangha. There are various places in and around Rajagaha in which the Buddha stayed besides Veluvana. For example, Moranivapa with its Paribbajakarama, Latthivana, Sitavana, Jivaka's Ambavana, Pipphaliguha, Udumbarikarama, Tapodarama, Indasalaguha in Vediyagiri, Sattapanniguha, Maddakucchi, Supatitthacetiya, Pasanakacetiya, Sappasodikapabbhara and the pond sumagadha. Rajagaha was 45 leagues from Savathi. The road passed by the gates of Jetavana (MA.ii.987; SA.i.243). The Ganges had to be crossed by boats between Rajagaha and Savathi. Some of the boats belonging to king of Magadha and others to the Licchavis of Vesali. At first, the Buddha didn't have money to pay the ferryman so he just traveled through the air. Later king Bimbisara knew of it and waved the fees for all monastics.
Vulture's Peak /Gijjhakuta ( Sukarakhatalena) : Vulture's Peak is one of the hills encircling Rajagaha. It was evidently a favorite resort for various spiritual practitioners. Sometimes the Buddha visited the Bamboo Grove when in Rajagaha, other times he went to Gijjhakuta for more seclusion. He seems to have been attracted by its solitude, and visited it on several occasions, sometimes even in the dark or in drizzling rain (S.i.109). In due course a vihara was erected on Gijjhakuta for the Buddha and his sangha. There were cells erected for monks who came from afar to stay. On the side of Gijjhakuta was the Sukarakhatalena cave in which a forest dweller cleaned and removed the earth around it, fenced it in, furnished it with couch and stool. After making it as beautiful as a golden bowl, he presented it to the Buddha. Many suttas were preached on Gijjhakuta, some of them were well-known.
Pataligama : Near Pataligama was the Kukkutarama, where monks stayed when they came to Pataliputta. A brahmin named Ghotamukha built an assembly hall for the monks in the city ( M.ii.163).
Ambathlatika: Ambalatthika pleasance is a Royal rest-house adorned with beautiful paintings for the king's enjoyment. It lies within a well-watered and shady park surrounded with a rampart. There is also a Round Pavilion in this royal park where the Buddha gave discourses to the monks.
Nalanda (Pavarika mango-grove): The Buddha usually stayed at Pavarikambavana when on visit there (E.g., D.ii.81). The monastery was built by a sethi (banker) named Pavarika, inside his mango grove. He is different from the sethi of the same name in Kosambi, as well as the royal physician by the name Jivaka. Jivaka also built a monastery ( Jivakambavana) for the Buddha in his mango grove , but it was in Rajagaha instead. Nalanda was about one league from Rajagaha ( D.ii.72ff ).
Mātula : A village where the Buddha preached the Cakkavattisihanada Sutta.
Khanumata ( Ambalatthika pleasance): The Buddha stayed at the Ambalatthika pleasance and preached the Kutadanta Sutta . Khanumata was a village presented to Kutadanta by Bimbisara.
Ukkacela ( Ganges) : The Buddha stayed on the banks of the Ganges. It was a village on the way from Rajagaha to Vesali ( near Vesali).
Tindukkhanu (paribbajakarama) On the banks of the Sappinika, the Buddha visited the Paribbajakarama and converses with a number of distingguished Paribbajakas.
Kotigama : A village in the vicinity of Bhaddiya and next to the Ganges. During one of the visit in the early years, Nanduttara and the villagers made provided boats and made ready a meal for the Buddha and the bhikkhus.
Nādika (Gosingasalavana/ the Brick Hall) The Buddha stayed at the Brick Hall in the forest tract near Nadika
Beluva (Beluvagama) The Buddha stayed at the Beluvagama. Beluva is a small village just outside the gates of Vesali, and was to the south of the city.
Vesali (Ambapalivana, Pātikarama, Cetiyagiri, also various shrines there, Udenacetiya, Gotamacetiya, Capalacetiya, Bahuputta-kacetiya, Sattambacetiya, Sarandadacetiya):
During the first visit to Vesali, the Licchavi princes received the Buddha with great honor and accompanied him to the Ganges with boats made ready when he left. He often stayed at the Kutagarasala by the banks of the Markata lake in Mahavana forest nearby during his visits to Vesali. There was a sick ward attached to the monastery, where the Buddha would often visit the patients and talk with them. Many people came to Kutagarasala to visit him, and there was a great disturbance. In order to find quiet and solitude, some of the bhikkhus went into the Gosingasalavanadaya forest tract nearby. The Buddha often spends the noonday siesta in the woods outside the Mahavana, beneath a tree. Sometimes the Buddha would walk from the Kutagarasala to various shrines in the neighborhood. These shrines were converted into places of Buddhist worship. The Patikarama and Valikarama monasteries are also mentioned to be in or near Vesali. On his last visit to Vesali , the Buddha went to Bhandagama after.Bhandagama: A village near Vesali, and on the road to Hatthigama
Hatthigama: The Buddha once stayed at Nagavana / Nagavanuyyana, a pleasance belonging to Ugga-Gahapati near Hatthigama. Ugga-Gahapati was a banker who became a Non-returner after being taught by the Buddha. He was declared to be the best of those who waited on the Sangha. The Buddha also visited Hatthigama on various occasions in the later years. The village was on the way to Bhoganagara/ Bhogagamanagara .
Bhoganagara ( Ananda cetiya) : The Buddha stayed in the Ananda cetiya. From there the Lord went to Pava.
Pava ( Cunda's mango grove) : The road from Pava to Kusinara is mentioned several times in the books. He often stayed at Cunda's mango grove. The Udana mentioned that the Buddha also stayed at the Ajakapalaka cetiya. During one of the visit, the Mallas had just completed the Ubbahataka Mote hall. They invited the Buddha to be the first to occupy the place. During the last visit, he journeyed from Pava to Kusinara, crossing the Kakkuttha stream.
Kusinara (Baliharana, Salavana) : Mention is made of various visits paid to Kusinara by the Buddha. During some visits he stayed in a forest called Baliharana. Other times he stayed at the Upavattana Salavana ( sala-grove) by the bank of the Hirannavati river. Once he went from Apana to spent some time here.The Mallas of Kusinara were always great admirers of the Buddha, even though not all of them were his followers. They decided that any inhabitant of Kusinara who failed to go and meet the Buddha and escort him to the city, would be fined five hundred. He proceeded to Atuma after this visit Vinaya Mahavagga , Sixth Khandhaka, Chapter 36. Kusinara was also the place of the Buddha's Parinibbana.
Atuma ( Bhusagara/ threshing floor)- It is a town that lay between Kusinara and Savatthi
Uruvelakappa (Mahavana): Once the Buddha informed Ananda that he wished to spend the day alone in the Mahavana forest on the outskirts of Uruvelakappa, and went there and sat beneath a tree. However, the householder Tapassu couldn't understand how young men in the prime of youth found any attraction in the holy life. He was taken to the Buddha, who set his mind at rest. The headman of the town also visited him to listen to dhamma discourse.
Uttara - Once when when the Buddha was staying there, he was visited by the headman Pataliya.
Sajjanela - A Koliyan village and residence of Suppavasa.
Kakkarapatta, (Mukheluvana) - A township of the Koliyans, where Dighajanu came to see him.
Kundakoliya (Kundadhanavana ) - The Koliyan nobles built a monastery for the Buddha and his bhikkhus in a forest tract near the Kundakoliya/ Kundiya village. While dwelling in this monastery, Suppavasa gave birh to Sivali after prolonged labour pains, which immediately ceased after she received the Buddha's blessing.
Mithilā (Makhādeva mango-grove):While staying there, the Buddha stayed in the Makhadeva mango-grove. There was a road leading from Campa to Mithila, a distance of sixty leagues.
Kapilavatthu ( Mahavana, Nigrodharama ) Sometimes the Buddha stayed at the Mahavana virgin forest at the edge of Kapilavatthu. This is the site of the Mahasamaya Sutta. Near the city was the Lumbinivana where the Buddha was born. Close to Kapilavatthu flowed the river Rohini, which formed the boundary between the kingdoms of the Sakyans and the Koliyans. From Kapilavatthu lay a direct road to Vesali. The city was sixty leagues from Rajagaha, and the Buddha took two months covering this distance when he visited his ancestral home, in the first year after his Enlightenment. Kapilavatthu was the center of a republic, at the head of which was Suddhodana.
Catuma (Amalakivana) The Buddha stayed at the Amalakivana near a mote-hall in the village.
Samagama (Vedhanna-ambavana) : The Buddha stayed at a technical school in a mango grove or at a lotus pond in the village.
Devadaha : A township of the Sakiyans where the Buddha stayed during his tours and taught the monks. It was the city where his mother was born. Lumbinivana was near Devadaha.
Nagaraka: Ananda is reported as reminding the Buddha that once, while staying at Nagaraka, the Buddha had remarked that he lived " with the Void a great deal." (Cula-Sunnata Sutta)
Medatalumpa: A village three leagues from Nangaraka.
Sakkara: A town that was 45 leagues ( yojanas) from Jetavana.
Saketa (Anjanavana, Kalakarama ) Sometimes the Buddha stayed at the Anjanavana near Saketa. On other occasions he stayed at the Kalakarama gifted to the sangha by the a sethi of Saketa. The distance from Saketa to Savathi was seven leagues (yojanas), and could be covered in one day, with seven relays of horses. It can be dangerous to travel this road by foot, because it was infested with robbers. Toranavathu lies between the two. Pasenadi spent the night at Toranavatthu when he went from Savatthi to Saketa. There was also a broad river between Saketa and Savatthi which could only be crossed by boat.
Savatthi (Jetavana, Pubbarama, Ramaka's hermitage, Salalagaraka in Jetavana,) The Buddha stayed at Jetavana monastery built by Anathapindika. It was the custom of the Buddha to spend his siesta at a park outside the eastern gate of Savatthi after eating at the house of Anāthapindika . Later Visakha erected a monastery at the site and presented to the Buddha when the he returned from his travels. The chief patrons of the Buddha in Sāvatthi were Anāthapindika, Visākhā, Suppavāsā and Pasenadi (DhA.i.330). It is said (DhA.i.4) that he spent twenty five rainy seasons in the city nineteen of them in Jetavana and six in the Pubbārāma.
Setavya : A town near Ukkattha, which was the first stopping place outside of Savatthi on the road to Rajagaha.
Ukkattha (Subhagavana) In the Brahmanimantika Sutta (M.i.326; but see S.i.142; J.iii.359), the Buddha says that it was while he was residing at Subhagavana that be became aware of the erroneous views of Baka-brahma and went to the Brahma-world to teach Baka the truth. The Icchānangala wood was in the neighbourhood, and when the Buddha was staying in the wood Pokkharasātī first sent his pupil Ambattha and then went himself to visit the Buddha.
Icchanangala ( Thick forest/ jungle) According to the Samyutta Nikāya (v.325), once the Buddha wanted to spend some time alone and stayed in the thick forest near Icchangala for three months in almost complete solitude, visited only by a single monk who brought him his food. But from the Anguttara Nikāya (iii.30f.; cf. iii.341 and iv.340ff), the residents of Icchānangala, having heard of the Buddha's visit, came to him in large numbers and created a disturbance by their shouts. The Buddha had to send Nāgita, who was then his personal attendant, to curb the enthusiasm of his admirers. During another stay, he was visited by people who wanted to test him out or debate.
Nagaravinda: A village where the Buddha once stayed during a tour.
Ujunna (Kannakatthaka deer-park): The Buddha stayed at the Deer Park in Kannakatthala near Ujunna.
Ugganagara ( Bhaddarama): While in town, the Buddha stayed at the Bhaddarama.
Nalakapana (Palasavana): The Buddha stayed at the Palasavana grove near the village.
Pankadha : The Buddha is mentioned as having once stayed in this town during his tours.
Todeyyagama: A village between Savatthi and Benares. There was a shrine of Kassapa Buddha. The Buddha once visited with Ananda.
Veludvara: There was a bamboo thicket at the entrance to the village.
Manasakata : The Buddha stayed in the Mango grove to the north of the village. Manasakata was a beautiful village on the banks of the Aciravati river.
Salavatika: The Buddha taught the Lohicca Sutta at this village.
Dandakappa : A town which the Buddha visited during a tour in Kosala. It is near the Aciravati river .
Opasada: The Buddha stayed in the forest of sala-trees.
Sala: The village where the Buddha taught the Apannaka Sutta, Sakeyyaka Sutta, and Sala Sutta
Kesaputta : The town of the Kalamas
Venagapura: A village where the Buddha preached the Venaga Sutta.
Kitagiri : A village on the road from Kasi to Savatthi.
Kosambi (Ghositarama and Badarikarama) The Buddha stayed at the Ghositarama built by Ghosita or the Badarikarama. The Kukkutarama built by Kukkuta and Pavarika-ambavana built by Pavarika were also in Kosambi.
In the Parayana Vagga of the Sutta Nipata we read of the sixteen disciples of Bavari setting out in the hope of meeting the Buddha. They heard that he was at Savatthi and went there. But they arrived in Savatthi only to find that he had left . They followed his route through Setavya, Kapilavatthu, Kusinara, Pava, Bhoganagara, Vesali , Magadha, finally catching up with him near Rajagaha at the Pasanaka Shrine.
This route is very similar to the one taken by the Buddha on his last tour, except that the Buddha was going back from Rajagaha instead. And the various places he stopped at were also recorded. See the violet flowers below:
According to the Chamberlains in the Samyutta Nikaya, the Parayana Vagga of the Sutta Nipata, and the Maha-parinirvana Sutta, this can be one of the route commonly traveled by the Buddha during the last 25 years of his life.
Halidavassana and the region of the Himālaya
Desaka in the Sumbha country
Uttarakā among the Bumus ( the name of a gotta)