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Buddhist Destinations in India Tour begins with an arrival in Delhi, the capital city of India. After completing formalities with customs and immigration, you will be received by our representative with Traditional Indian Welcome (with garlands).
Delhi is the capital of India since old times. Delhi’s history dates back to the first millenium BC, when it was known as Indraprastha. The Tomar Rajputs built Lal Kot, the core of the first of Delhi’s seven cities. It is the epicenter of the nation’s politics, economy and culture. History is alive and throbbing in Delhi, the capital of India.
Afterwards transfer to your hotel for the overnight stay.
Lucknow – Sravasti By Road ( Approx 170 Kms / 04 Hours ) This morning you will be met by our representative and escorted from your Hotel to the New Delhi railway station in time to aboard the Shatabdi Express (0615 / 1230 hrs.). Upon arrival in Lucknow you will be met and drive to Sravasti .
Sravasti – The capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honour of sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens. This city has age old Stupas, Majestic, Monasteries and several temples. Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here. This holy place also has the famous Anand Bodhi Tree, an offspring of the one, said to have been planted by Buddhas main disciple Anand.
Upon arrival check-in to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast this morning embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Sravasti. This tour includes a visit to Maheth – Identified with the remains of the city; Maheth covers an area of about 400 acres. Excavations have exposed the massive gates of the city, ramparts and also the ruins of other structures, which stand testimony to the prosperity of ancient Sravasti. The Sobhanath Temple is located here. Pakki Kuti and Kacchi Kuti were probably Buddhist shrines, before they were converted into Brahmanical temples.
Shobhanath Temple – The `Shobhanath’ temple is believed to be the birth place of Jain tirthankar ‘Sambhavanath’, making Shravasti an important centre for the Jains. Saheth – known primarily as the site of the Jetavana monastery, Saheth covers an area of 32 acres. Lying about a quarter of a mile to the south – west of Maheth, it became an important place of pilgrimage, adorned with numerous shrines, stupas and monasteries. The stupas belong mostly to the Kushana period, while the temples are in the Gupta style. The sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Lumbini.
Lumbini – 27kms from Sonauli on the Indo-Nepal border, situated in southern Nepal, Lumbini is the place where Siddhartha Gautam, the Shakya Prince and the ultimate Buddha was born in 623 BC. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites. Lumbini is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death.
Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast this morning embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Lumbini. This tour includes a visit to The Sacred Garden – it is spread over 8 sq.km and possesses all the treasures of the historic area. Many countries have built temples, monastries or stupas near the Sacred Garden in the International Monastery Zone. Ashoka pillar carrying an inscription identifying the holy site as the birthplace is situated nearby the Sacred Garden.Mayadevi Temple which houses a bas relief depicting the nativity. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a “foot imprint”, indicating the exact place of birth. Puskarni pond where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddha’s mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to Buddha.
The sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Kushinagar.
Kushinagar – Another of the four holy sites for Buddhists. This is the place that the Buddha chosed for his Mahaparinirvana, or final exit from this earth. Many of the stupas and viharas in ruins here date back to 3rd – 5th Century, when prosperity was at its peak. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka is known for contributing to significant construction at this site. Also, many new temples have been constructed by Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Japanese Buddhists along the ruins of monasteries and stupas.
Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
After Breakfast this morning you embark from your hotel for half day tour of Kushinagar. This tour includes a visit to Mahaparinirvana Temple – This houses the over 6 mtrs long statue of reclining Buddha. The image was unearthed during the excavations of 1876. The statue represents the dying Buddha reclining on his right side. Ramabhar – This large stupa rises to a height of 49 ft. It marks the site where the Lord Buddha was cremated. In ancient Buddhist texts this stupa has been referred to as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar Mathakuar Temple – this shrine lies about 400 yards from the Parinirvana stupa. A black stone image of the Buddha in the bhumi sparsha mudra was recovered here. The last sermon by Lord Buddha was given here.
The sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Patna, enroute visit Vaishali – Buddha delivered his last sermon here, and announced his impending nirvana. The second Buddhists council, held 100 years after Buddhas Parinirvana also took place here. This place is also birthplace of Lord Mahavira, the Jain Guru, and is a sacred place for the Jains as well. Abhishek Pushkarni, Ashoka Pillar, Lotus Tank, Chau-Mukhi Mahadeo are the important places to visit. Later continue your drive to Patna. Upon arrival check in to the hotel. Rest of the evening free at leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast this morning you will drive to Bodhgaya ,enroute visiting Nalanda and Rajgir.
Nalanda – Known as the ancient seat of learning, the ruins of the University reveal that it was the first International University of the world, where over 2,000 teachers and 1,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied. An international centre for the Buddhist studies also functions here. Buddha had visited this place several times and preached here. Mauryan emperor Ashoka built many famous monasteries, temples here. The excavated ruins are spectacular, with chapels, monasteries and lecture halls symmetrically spread over a large area. The antiquities on view portray the spiritual and meditative principles of Buddhism, especially as it must have existed at Nalanda.
Rajgir – Another important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and as well as Jains. Ancient Rajgriha, literally the abode of Kings, was the first capital of Magadha. It was here that the Buddha first studied under Alara and Uddaka and spent his time in retreat after the attainment of Nirvana. Naturally, when the Buddha died, his disciples chose to hold the first great Buddhist Council at Rajgir. It was in the Sattparini cave that the Council was held and the tenets of the Buddhist faith were drawn up and finalised. Vulture Peak, Griddhakuta, Ajatsatru Fort are the important places to visit in Rajgir. Later continue your drive to Bodhgaya.
Bodhgaya – Bodhgaya, is the place, where in the 6th century BC, a young ascetic, Siddhartha, attained enlightenment to become the Buddha, and founded Buddhism, one of the world’s oldest religions. He came to Bodhgaya looking for a quiet retreat, where he could meditate upon the causes for human suffering. As the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buddhists. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast this morning embark from your hotel for half day tour of Bodhgaya.
This tour includes a visit to The Mahabodhi Temple Complex that houses all the major pilgrimage spots. A large circular stone with the Buddha’s footprints is kept in a small shrine on the left. Seven spots within the complex precincts are especially sacred because it was at these spots that the Buddha spent a week each, meditating, after his Enlightenment. Mahabodhi temple which stands in the centre of the Mahabodhi Temple Complex has been restored and rebuilt over the centuries. Set among verdant lawns, this giant pyramidal sandstone structure soars to a height of 54 meters and is visible for miles around. The Bodhi tree – Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree and spent the first week after his enlightenment under this tree.
Rest of the day free at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast this morning drive to Varanasi, enroute visiting Sarnath – After attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya, Buddha he came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon. The Emperor Ashoka (c 304 – 232 BC), who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234 BC, and erected a stupa here. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.
Visit Dhamek Stupa – the imposing stupa 39m high was probably erected in 200 B.C in the Mauryan era. Ashoka Pillar – erected by the Emperor Ashoka, the pillar had his edict engraved on it. At one time it stood over 17m high. Its citadel with the four lions back to back, is also the official symbol of modern India.
Chaukandi Stupa – this stupa was rebuilt by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Dhamarajika Stupa – only the ruins of this stupa built by Emperor Ashoka can be seen today. Moolgandha Kuti Vihara – built in more recent times by the Mahabodhi Society, it has a life-size statue of the lord Buddha in the Dharmachakra Pravartan form.
Later continue the drive to Varanasi. Upon arrival in Varanasi, check in to your hotel and rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Varanasi.
Varanasi – One of the holiest cities in India, Varanasi is one of the most important pilgrimage sites and also a major tourist attraction. It has been the religious capital of Hinduism since time immemorial. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, Varanasi has been a center of learning and civilization for more than 2,000 years. Written records of the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata mention its existence as long as 3,000 years ago. It is probably the oldest living city in India, and one of the world’s most ancient. Varanasi has been a great cultural centre, especially in the fields of music, learning and the craft of silk weaving. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Early morning enjoy a boat ride on the holy river The Ganges followed by the tour of Varanasi. A highlight of any trip to Varanasi – this incredible scene as multitudes of devotees comes to the river to pay homage to the Sun God. The riverfront, as seen from a boat at sunrise, is a spiritually uplifting sight. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere: in a decorated doorway; in a glimpse of a glittering temple; in the sound of a sacred bell; in the chant of the priests; and in the fragrance of flower oblations.
The tour of this ancient city includes The Bharat Mata Temple, which has a big relief map of India in marble, the Benares Hindu University with its art gallery, and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb built on the side of an ancient Hindu temple, bathing ghats, The Kashivishwanath temple, The Durgakund.
Return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast, and early afternoon, you will be met by our representative and escorted from your Hotel to the Varanasi airport in time for your flight to Delhi.
Upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your hotel for check-in etc. The evening is at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at Hotel. This morning you embark from your hotel for full day tour of Old and New Delhi. The tour of the 17th-century old city includes the great mosque of Jama Masjid, The main street of Old Delhi is the colorful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk (Moonlit Street). Red Fort, most spectacular pieces of mughal architecture, built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648. Drive past Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
The tour of New Delhi includes Qutab Minar, one of the most popular landmarks in Delhi built in 1199. The Humayun’s Tomb, the precursor of the Taj Mahal. Drive down the spectacular Rajpath (the Kingsway,) passing the India Gate (the memorial built to commemorate the unknown soldiers,) the Presidents House, and the House of Parliament. Enjoy a brief respite from the otherwise bustling city at Birla Mandir, a modern and colourful Hindu temple. Evening at leisure to perhaps venture out and discover the city or its many facets on your own. Overnight at hotel.
Met by our representative and escorted from your hotel to the Delhi airport in time for your flight home.