‘In the Footsteps of Buddha’ is a 11-day 10-night Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour designed to visit the main pilgrimage spots of Buddhism in India and Nepal. The tour begins and ends in Delhi; our first stop is at Shravasti and the Sahet Mahet Archaeological sites.
We go on to a cross-country road trip to Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha. After a visit to the holy sites of Lumbini, we will return once again to India. Our destination will be Kushinagar, where Buddha breathed his last and attained Parinirvana. The tour later continues to Patna, where the ashes of Buddha has been stored in a casket.
We will also make a stop at Nalanda and Rajgir, which were once the major Buddhist centers of learning. Nalanda was an International University of ancient times. The last sites we visit on this Buddhist pilgrimage tour include Bodh Gaya and Sarnath, the places where Buddha gained enlightenment and began delivering sermons.
This tour concludes with an experience of Varnasi and a sightseeing tour of Delhi.
In the Footsteps of Buddha pilgrimage tour begins with your arrival in Delhi. Our representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your pre-booked hotel for check-in.Overnight in Delhi
Day 2 of this Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour begins early, well before sunrise, with an early morning checkout from the hotel and a transfer to the New Delhi Railway Station. We will board the train to Lucknow at the station. Breakfast on board.
Our representative will greet you on arrival at the Lucknow railway station and escort you on the road trip to Shravasti, the first Buddhist pilgrimage site that you will visit on this tour.
Shravasti might now be a little known city of lndia, but in ancient times, especially during Buddha's lifetime, it was one of the biggest cities of India. It was here that Buddha spent a majority of his lifetime, preaching and delivering sermons. This is quite evident from the number of ancient stupas, viharas and temples here.
On arrival at Shravasti, we will check in at a pre-booked hotel and rest. We will visit the pilgrimage sites of Shravasti next morning.Overnight in Shravasti
On Day 3, we will check out from the hotel after breakfast and then set out on a visit to the pilgrimage sites of Shravasti. We will also visit the Sahet Mahet Archaeological Site, where many artifacts from Buddha's lifetime have been found.
Later, we will have lunch and embark on the cross-country drive to the next Buddhist pilgrimage spot on this itinerary - Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini is known as the birthplace of Buddha. On arrival at Lumbini, check in at pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Lumbini
After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Lumbini and set out on a visit to the Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Lumbini, including the Sacred Garden, the International Monastery Zone, Mayadevi Temple, and the Holy Pond. We will also visit the site of the Ashoka Pillar.
After a stop for lunch, we will set out on the cross-country drive back to India. Our next stop will be at Kushinagar, India. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Kushinagar is another major pilgrimage site for Buddhist devotees, as it is at this place that Buddha breathed his last and attained Parinirvana.
On arrival at Kushinagar, check in at pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Kushinagar
After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Lumbini and embark on the pilgrimage to the Buddhist holy sites in Kushinagar. We will visit the Ramabhar Stupa, where Buddha was cremated, as well as the Mahanirvana Temple, which is built on the very spot where Buddha died and attained Parinirvana. Within the Mahanirvana Temple, devotees pray in front of the gilded 6 ft statue of Buddha reclining on his right - the same position in which he died.
We will also visit the Matha Kuar Temple, which marks the spot where a black stone statue of Buddha kneeling down in reverence was recovered. Carved out of a single stone, this statue presents Buddha with his head bowed and touching the ground in a 'Bhumi Sparsha Mudra'.
We will have lunch and then set out on the road trip to Patna, which though unrelated to Buddha's lifetime experiences, is important to this pilgrimage, as it is here that Buddha's ashes are stored. On arrival at Patna, check in at pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Patna
After breakfast, check out from the hotel in Patna and hit the road. Our first stop will be at the Patna Museum. Here is a casket, Buddha's ashes are on exhibit. After a brief tour of the museum, we will proceed on the drive to Nalanda and Rajgir.
Nalanda was once one of the greatest centers of learning and one of the earliest International Universities in India. Remains of the Buddhist Mahavihara are still present in the town. We will also visit the monasteries of Rajgir, before proceeding on the road trip to Bodh Gaya.
On arrival at Bodh Gaya, check in at the pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Bodh Gaya
After breakfast, we will continue our Buddhist pilgrimage tour and visit the pilgrimage sites in Bodh Gaya.
Bodh Gaya is a very important pilgrimage spot for Buddhists as this is the place where Buddha gained enlightenment and the roots of Buddhism took hold.
As part of our pilgrimage tour, we will visit the Mahabodhi Temple, the Bodhi tree, the Great Buddha Statue, the Lotus Pond, and many other Buddha temples built by the Chinese, Japanese, Tibetans, and other Asian countries where Buddhism is prevalent. Later, we return to the hotel.Overnight in Bodh Gaya
On Day 8 of this pilgrimage tour, we will visit Sarnath and then proceed to Varanasi by road, Check out from your hotel in Bodh Gaya after breakfast and embark on the drive to Sarnath, the last Buddhist pilgrimage spot that we will visit on this tour.
Sarnath is the place where Buddha gave his first sermon to his first five disciples. Here, we will visit the Dhamek Stupa, Chaukandi Stupa, the old & the new Mulagandhakuti Vihara, the Ashoka Pillar, and the Sarnath Archaeological Museum.
After visiting these sites, we will embark on the drive to Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in India and one of the holiest pilgrimage spots in Hinduism. On arrival at Varanasi, we will check in at a pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Varanasi
Day 9 of this pilgrimage tour begins quite early, well before sunrise. Proceed to the ghats for a Varanasi Boat Ride through the holy waters of the Ganges for a sunrise view of the city.
Varanasi as a place of dwelling is very different from the other cities of India. This is a city of temples, where devotees rise before sunrise and descend down the ghats for a holy bath and a prayer to God, as soon as the sun rays illuminate the ghats.
Temple bells chime and priests begin their prayers and rituals, the ghats are busy with life. Enjoy the scene from the relative comfort of the boat as it passes the ghats. Once the boat ride ends, we will visit the temples of Varanasi and join the devotees in the morning aarti.
Return to hotel for a leisurely breakfast and some relaxation. In the afternoon, we will check out from the hotel, have lunch and then proceed on the drive to the Varanasi Airport in time for the flight to Delhi, where this Buddhist pilgrimage tour will end.
On arrival at Delhi, check in at a pre-booked hotel.Overnight in Delhi
After breakfast, we will set out on a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Delhi. Though not a pilgrimage site, Delhi does have some unique landmarks and one just cannot pass through the city without visiting them.
The Sightseeing Tour of Delhi includes a visit to the Mughal dynasty landmarks such as the Red Fort and the Humayun Tomb, ancient landmarks such as the Qutub Minar, and British Era buildings such as the India Gate and Rashtrapathi Bhawan. We will also visit the Birla Mandir and the Akshardham Temple as part of the sightseeing tour. The tour ends with a drop back at the hotel.Overnight in Delhi
Today is the last day of our pilgrimage tour - the day of departure. Check out from the hotel and proceed to the airport in time for your flight back home with serenity in your soul after this 'In the Footsteps of Buddha' Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour with ToursinVaranasi.com