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Buddha Footsteps Tour
 

In Search of Buddha’s Footsteps Tour

Duration : 10 Nights / 11 Days
Places Covered: Delhi - Agra - Varanasi - Sarnath - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna - Vaishali - Kushinagar - Lumbini - Sravasti - Sahet & Mahet - Gonda – Delhi
Pilgrims in search of Buddha traveled to India since time immemorial. Historical travellers like Hiuen Tsang wrote a lot about Buddha and his Buddhist pilgrimage whereas Emperor Ashoka travelled far and wide in India and built his presence through numerous edicts and rock pillars. A present day traveller can too embrace such a spiritual ecstasy in the serene blissful Buddhist circuit of India through In Search of Buddha’s Footsteps Tour. From Delhi, the tourists are transported to the land of Buddhist legends, history and shared culture in India. This includes a visit to the three world heritage sites in India and Nepal (Taj Mahal in Agra, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya and Lumbini in Nepal).

Besides this, the enriching itinerary takes the tourist in search of Buddha’s footsteps in Sarnath, Rajgir, Nalanda, Patna, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Sravasti, Sahet and Mahet, etc.
Day 1. Arrive Delhi

On arrival at Delhi International Airport, meet Buddhist Train representative who will assist the transfer to a pre-booked hotel. Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 2. Delhi

After breakfast, begin the sightseeing Delhi tour. In the morning, visit Old Delhi laid out by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is a 17th century walled city with splendid gates, narrow alleys, mosques, fort and a bustling marketplace. The visit to the old Delhi begins with a visit to the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Rajghat. Continue afternoon sightseeing with a visit to the 101 year old New Delhi in the form of Lutyens Delhi, via a drive past India Gate, President House and Jantar Mantar. Later continue the journey to Qutab Minar and Humayun Tomb. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 3. Delhi - Agra - Varanasi

Post breakfast; check out Delhi for Agra by road (203 km / 4 hr). Begin sightseeing tour of Agra in the afternoon via Taj Mahal, the renowned world heritage site. In the evening, leave Agra for Varanasi by overnight train. (Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays)
Day 4. Varanasi - Sarnath - Varanasi

Arrive Varanasi early in the morning and check in at the hotel for some refreshment. Later, continue In Search of Buddha’s Footsteps Tour through a visit to Sarnath, the revered site where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon in 590 BC to his first five followers. Pray in front of Dhamekh and Chaukhandi Stupas in Sarnath. In the noon, continue the Varanasi sightseeing tour, to discover the city that defied the time. The oldest continuing city of India is a home to various temples along side the eastern banks of River Ganges. Visit the spiritual Ganges Ghats and experience the cultural traditions of India. You can also explore the spiritual temples of Varanasi via Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Gyanvyapi Mosque, Durga Temple, Banaras Hindu University, Ram Nagar Fort, Museum in Varanasi and Bharat Mata Mandir. Overnight in Varanasi
Day 5. Varanasi - Bodhgaya

Early morning, experience the boat-ride on the mighty River Ganges and picture the rituals along the spiritual river. Thereafter, leave Varanasi by road for Bodhgaya (242 km / 3 hr 40 min) one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centers in the state of Bihar. Here only, Gautama attained enlightenment under the spiritual shade of Bodhi Tree and left indelible impression of Buddhist heritage on this serene city. Overnight in Bodhgaya
Day 6. Bodhgaya

Morning after breakfast, begin Bodhgaya city tour through a visit to Mahabodhi Temple Complex, the world heritage site where the third generation of Bodhi tree still exists. Meditate under Bodhi tree like Buddha and experience the heritage ingrained in Bodhgaya through Animesh Lochan Chaitya, Muchalinda Lake, Chankramana in search of Buddha’s footsteps. Later visit monasteries and temples of Bodhgaya including Thai Temple, Burmese Temple, Chinese Temple and Monastery, Mohanta's Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, International Buddhist House, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan. Also visit Archaeological Museum. Overnight in Bodhgaya.
Day 7. Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna

Leave Bodhgaya for Patna in the morning (157 kms / 4-5 Hrs inclusive of time taken for sightseeing). En-route visit Rajgir & Nalanda. Rajgir or Rajagriha was the capital of Magadha Empire under Bimbisara in 6th century. Bimbisara was a follower of Buddha. And here in Rajgir, Lord Buddha delivered sermons on Griddhakutta or Vulture’s Peak opposite to Bimbisara Jail where the emperor was jailed by his own son, Ajatshatru. Bimbisara used to gaze the Vulture’s Peak in piety towards his Lord from the jail. Nalanda is world's oldest university founded in the 5th century. Currently, the site is in ruins. Later reach Patna, the 2,500 year old capital city of Bihar known by the ancient name Patliputra. Overnight in Patna.

Day 8. Patna - Vaishali - Kushinagar

Morning leave Patna for Kushinagar (253 km / 4 hr including the sightseeing time). En-route visit Vaishali, one of the eight republics during the time of Lord Buddha. Located 55 kms from Patna, Vaishali holds special significance among Buddhist followers.

Here only, Lord Buddha announced his impending Mahaparinirvana. Visit Ashokan Pillar, the magnificent pillar with a single lion capital on the top commemorating the presence of a Buddhist monastery and a coronation tank. Made of a single red sandstone block, this pillar is a major attraction of Vaishali tour. Arrive Kushinagar, the site of Lord Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana where he left this mortal world. In the noon time, visit the various stupas and temples including Ramabhar Stupa and Mahaparinirvana Temple. Overnight in Kushinagar.
Day 9. Kushinagar - Lumbini - Sravasti

Leave Kushinagar by road for Lumbini (170 km / 4 hr). Lumbini is the revered birthplace of Lord Buddha and is located in Nepal. In search of Buddha’s footsteps, you will enter Mayadevi Temple, Pushkarni Pond and Ashokan Pillar illustrating the episode of Lord Buddha’s birth.

Continue the drive back to Sravasti (225 km / 6 hr), the site having the honour of sheltering Lord Buddha and serving as the backdrop for many of his sermons in Jetvana monastery. Here only Lord Buddha spent 24 rainy shelters. On arrival transfer to hotel and overnight stay.
Day 10. Saravasti - Sahet & Mahet - Gonda - Delhi

Morning visit Sahet & Mahet, 15 km from Balrampur and the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kosala. Visit Ananda Bodhi tree, age-old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples during Sravasti Tour. Lord Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here. Afternoon is free at leisure. In the evening, drive to Gonda Railway Station (40 km) and board connecting train 2553/Vaishali Express dep. 19:35 hrs. Overnight on board.
Day 11. Depart Delhi

Arrive Delhi at 06:15 hrs. Transfer to international airport to connect flight for onward destination.
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