Grand Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour from Varanasi
Admire the stunning structural design and take a glimpse of art collections, on this superb trip of great moral importance. Visit various Buddhist sites like Varanasi, Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Sravasti & Sankasia. The journey offers you the opportunity of knowing the life story of Lord Buddha, these Buddhist sites are matchless in their own way. You will also visit the iconic Taj Mahal an ivory-white marble mausoleum in Agra and a few Mughal-built monuments in Delhi.
Day 1: Arrive in Varanasi
On arrival assistance & transfer to hotel, check-in. Visit Banaras Hindu University, Bharat Mata Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple & Sarnath Temple complex. Evening attends Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical ritual held every evening at sunset on the banks of the Holy Ganges. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Varanasi – Bodhgaya (255kms) (B)
Early morning boat ride & ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water. Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges. The city has 88 ghats, most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while two ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites. The ghats are frequented by the people which include early morning bathers, priests, people practicing meditation and yoga, students and tourists as well. Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges. The city has 88 ghats, most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while two ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites. The ghats are frequented by the people which include early morning bathers, priests, people practicing meditation and yoga, students and tourists as well. Drive to Bodhgaya check-in at the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Bodhgaya (B)
Visit Mahabodhi Temple a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 54mts tall temple has been renovated over the years. It enshrines a large golden Buddha and is encompassed by an ancient railing, dating back to 100 BC. Bodhi Tree where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and the Vajrasana where Buddha sat. Also visit the Great Buddha Statue, Tibetan Monastery housing the Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha), Burmese Temple, Chinese Temple, and Monastery, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, Thai Temple and Monastery, and many more.
The next excursion to visit Gaya is a holy city beside the Falgu River. It`s known for 18th-century Vishnupad Mandir, a riverside temple with an octagonal shrine. Close by, the ancient Mangla Gauri Temple is set on a hilltop. To the north, Hindu devotees bath in a Brahma Kund pond before honoring their deceased ancestors atop Pretshila Hill. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Bodhgaya – Patna (170kms) (B)
Drive to Patna via visiting Rajgir, a spiritual town with natural serenity amongst the dense forests, mysterious caves, and springs. Rajgir houses many religious shrines dedicated to Buddhism & Jainism. Both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir have said to spent time here giving it huge spiritual and religious importance. One can visit various ruins, temples, and sites here and also spend some time indulging in its refreshing calmness. Among notable places in the area are the tranquil Vulture`s Peak (Gijjhakuta), where the Buddha meditated, and the Sattapanni Cave, where the First Council was organized after the Buddha`s passing.
The next drive to visit Nalanda, established in the 5th century CE was an ancient Mahavihara, a revered Buddhist monastery that also served as a renowned center of learning, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. The ancient university of Nalanda obtained significant fame, prestige, and relevance during ancient times, and rose to legendary status due to its contribution to the emergence of India as a great power around the fourth century. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some traveling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. Arrive Patna check-in & overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Patna – Kushinagar (225kms) (B)
Drive to Kushinagar, En-route visit Vaishali a city of great importance in Buddhist history. King Ashoka became a great follower of Buddhism after the massacre of Kalinga and erected one of his famous Ashokan pillars to memorialize the last sermon of Lord Buddha that took place here. There is a life-like figure of a lion flawlessly engraved, at the top of the pillar facing north, believed to be the direction of Lord Buddha`s last voyage. There are a brick stupa and a pond known as Ramkund next to the pole which sums up to make a sanctified spot for Buddhists. Vishwa Shanti Stupa a 125ft, tall peace pagoda which was built by the Buddh Vihar society in collaboration with the Japanese government was excavated in 1969. And Museum which houses the artifacts found during excavation.
The next stop to visit Kesariya Stupa. Initially constructed as a mud stupa, it gained its present structure in the Maurya, Sunga and Kushana period. The stupa dates between 200 AD and 750 AD and may have been associated with the 4th-century ruler, Raja Chakravarti. Kesariya Stupa is 104 feet high. Huien Tsang mentions having seen the grand Stupa in Kia-shi-polo (Kesariya) but it was deserted and overgrown. The Kesariya stupa was discovered in 1958 during an excavation.
Continue to drive to Kushinagar check-in at the hotel. Later visit Mahapari-nirvana Temple, home to a superb 1,500-year-old red sandstone statue of the reclining Buddha, and the imposing Mahaparinirvana Stupa, which was built over the spot where the Buddha is said to have passed away under twin sal trees. Pilgrims walk in silence around the massive reclining statue of the Buddha to pay homage to the truth of anicca (impermanence) and cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for the Buddha and his teaching. The Ramabhar Stupa marks the place where Buddha was cremated after Mahaparinirvana. The 15 meters high stupa is one of the major pilgrim spots for the Buddhists and is situated in a pleasant and lush green vicinity. Also, visit Kushinagar Museum which houses relics found from the excavations carried out here. Many countries have built their own temples in Kushinagar, e.g. Wat Thai Temple, Chinese Temple & The Indo-Japanese temple. Apart from the Buddhist landmarks, Kushinagar also houses the famous Sun Temple which was originally built during the Gupta period. The beautiful Meditation Park comprises artificial water bodies and magnificent landscaped gardens. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Kushinagar – Lumbini (180kms) (B)
Drive till Sonauli border from here our Nepal vehicle will take you to Lumbini. Arrive Lumbini check-in at the hotel. Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal. What is considered the exact location of the birth is identified by a stone slab in the inner sanctum of the Maya Devi Temple, named after Siddhartha`s mother. The oldest monument at Lumbini is the Ashoka Pillar, which marks it as the birthplace of the Buddha. A little south of the pillar is the spring-fed rectangular Puskarni pond, where Maya Devi is believed to have bathed before giving birth. The Sacred Garden beyond the Maya Devi compound hosts some 40 monasteries from Asian Buddhist nations. At the end of a beautiful canal and tree-lined avenue is the majestic World Peace Pagoda, built by the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order. Today, the Lumbini Sacred Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of world peace. Visit Maya Devi Temple, Ashokan Pillar, Chinese Maitreya Temple, Myanmar Golden Temple, Shanti stupa & Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa, and more. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Lumbini – Sravasti (225kms) (B)
Drive till Sonauli border from here your Indian driver will take you to Sravasti. On arrival check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Sravasti – Lucknow (170kms) (B)
Lord Buddha spent 25 rain retreats at Shravasti. Three-fourths of the Buddha`s discourses, including the well-known Lovingkindness Discourse, was given at Jetavana Vihara here, donated by the Buddha`s great lay disciple Anathapindika. The ruins at Saheth and Maheth are believed to be the site of ancient Shravasti. Maheth was the city-proper while the Jetavana monastery was at Saheth. Of the ancient Shravasti, the city walls are still standing. Within these, the remains of 3 ancient buildings can be visited: Angulimalas stupa, Anathapindika`s stupa, and an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara. Outside of Shravasti is located the stupa where the Twin Miracle took place. The site of the Jetavana monastery is the main pilgrim destination, with meditation and chanting mainly done at the Gandhakuti (Buddha`s hut) and the Anandabodhi tree. Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Tibet, and China have built Buddhist monasteries in Shravasti. Later drive to Lucknow check-in & overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Lucknow – Agra (350kms) (B)
Drive to Agra via Sankasia. Sankasia is believed as the site where Buddha had descended from Trayotimsa heaven after meeting his mother Maya Devi who rested there after rebirth. This event is considered as one of the remarkable deeds of Buddha and so the site has an important place in the Buddhist world as one of the 8 most important places of Buddhist pilgrimage. The place is renowned for the stone statues found here during the excavations. There is a small temple of Maya Devi where she is worshipped as a goddess of fertility. Buddhist sculptures dating back to the Mahayana age are also found on some walls at the site. The remains of Asokan Pillar are also worth a visit. Arrive Agra check-in & overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Agra – Delhi (210Kms) (B)
Sunrise visit Taj Mahal an ivory-white marble mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Agra Fort the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. And Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb commissioned by Nur Jahan for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Later drive to Delhi check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Delhi (B)
City tour of Delhi. In Old, Delhi visits the majestic Red Fort (closed on Monday) the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years until 1857. Jama Masjid one of the largest mosques in the world built by Shah Jahan. Cycle Rickshaw ride in Chandni chowk & Khari Baoli Spice Market a busy shopping area with markets full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry, and vivid saris, while the narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery, and traditional Indian sweets. Raj Gath the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated after his assassination.
In New Delhi visit Humayun Tomb the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent and an early example of Mughal architecture commissioned by Humayun`s first wife Empress Bega Begum in 1569-70. Qutab Minar a 73-meter tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flower-like shape. Also, drive and pass President House, Parliament & India Gate, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Delhi – Departure (B)
As per flight schedule Departure transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Specification: Grand Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour from Varanasi
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