ASIA PACKAGES: In The Footsteps of Buddha  
 

Day 01 - ARRIVE DELHI

Arrive Delhi and meet our representative at arrival hall and transfer to hotel.

Day 02 - IN DELHI

Late morning proceed on a tour of the capital city. The important places in Old Delhi includes the majestic Red Fort, the historical Chandni Chowk, besides Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana, In New Delhi visit the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys; the India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war; the Laxminarayan Temple, built by the Birlas, one of India’s leading industrial families; Qutab Minar, built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty; and the lotus-shaped Baha’i Temple.

Day 03 - TO JAIPUR

Morning drive to Jaipur. Arrive Jaipur and check – in at hotel. Jaipur has been like that since 1727 when Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had it built.

Day  0 4- IN JAIPUR
 
Morning excursion to Amber Fort, situated just outside the city, is perhaps the most beautiful example of Rajasthani forts. You can have the unique experience of traveling on elephant back to and from the top of the hill on which the fort is situated. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Jaipur including, City Palace in the heart of Jaipur is known for its blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Not far away is the Central Museum with its large collection of woodwork, Another monument near the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, is the largest of the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh. The Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds was constructed for the royal ladies to watch the royal processions without being seen.
Day 05 - TO AGRA

Morning drive for five hours to the City of Taj, en route visiting the deserted town of Fatehpur Sikri, In the afternoon reach Agra and check in at your hotel. Later proceed for the city sightseeing tour visiting The Taj Mahal, which is entirely made of white marble and its walls are decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work.

Day 06 - TO VARANASI
 
In time transfer to airport to board flight for Varanasi. Arrive Varanasi and transfer to hotel visiting Sarnath enroute, an important Buddhist pilgrimage point. Lord Buddha gave his first sermon here. The Five disciples who had followed him were surprised to see the mesmerizing

glowing countenance of Buddha, who convinced them and delivdred his first sermon before them.  DHAMEKH STUPA bears particular significance at Sarnath as it signifies the ‘seat of the holy Buddha’, as he proclaimed his faith.  It is about 34 mts in height and including the foundations, it can be measured upto 42 mts.  A smooth glistening stone pillar called the AHOKA PILLAR commemorates his visit and laid the foundation of the Buddhist Sanhgha here.  The Lion Capital on top of this pillar is now the National Emblem of India. 

Day 07 - VARANASI – BODHGAYA (240 kms)

Enjoy a boat ride on river Ganges. There are about hundred ghats in the city Also visit The Vishwanath Temple, built by the Birlas, was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. The Bharat Mata Temple houses, instead of gods and goddesses, a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian subcontinent. The Tulsi Manas Temple, built in 1964, is dedicated to Lord Rama.

Later drive to Bodhgaya. Arrive Bodhgaya and check – in at hotel. Bodhgaya – most sacred place for Buddhists as it has a Peepul tree under which Gautama the Buddha attained enlightenment some 2500 years back.

Day 08 - IN BODHGAYA

Morning sightseeing tour of Bodhgaya visiting Mahabodhi Temple – depicting the various phases of Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment, showing different aspects of his life.  The magnificent MAHA BODHI TEMPLE here is an architectural amalgamation of many cultures. The temple bears the stamp of the architecture of the Gupta Dynasty and subsequent ages.  On the walls of the temple, one sees Buddha carved in different aspects, and in the sanctum sanctorum, a colossal Buddha is seen touching the ground, which has mythological significance in the Buddhist lores.  One can visit the giant BODHI TREE believed to have grown from the original Bodhi tree under which, sitting on the raised platform, Prince Siddharth meditated and finally attained Nirvana. Then there is CHAUKRAMANA, the Jewel Walk, where it is believed that the Buddha strolled while in deep though.  Also visit Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum, that houses a small collection of Buddhist sculpture from the 1st century B.C, to the 11th century A.D; Jagannath Temple close by has a four armed statue of Shiva in black stone.


Day 09 - BODHGAYA – RAJGIR (85 Kms), NALANDA (15 Kms) and PATNA (90 Kms)

 Morning drive to Patna via Rajgir & Nalanda.

In Rajgir visit GRADHAKUTA HILL to see the Rising Sun and worship.  This was the seat from where Buddha delivered many of his sermons.  It was here that the teachings of Buddha were recorded in writing for the first time.  An aerial ropeway takes visitors up the hill where the Japanese have built a beautiful Stupa.  Also visit the BIMBISARA JAIL reminding one of the devoted Mauryan King Bimbisara (5th – 6th century B.C.) who, being a Buddhist, chose this as a place to spend his last days.  Other prominent sites here are SAPTDHARA hot springs, which supposedly have healing powers; VENUVAN VIHARA, the residence built by the king Bimbisara for Buddha.

Proceed to NALANDA (15 kms), which was a great Buddhist center.  Now only the Great Stupa terraces remain.  It was one of the oldest univer5sityies of the world.  It has nine million books, ten thousand students, two thousand teachers and was a center of great learning which reached its zenith between 5th and 12th century A.D.  Both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira visited this place.

Finally drive to PATNA (90 kms) to arrive in the evening for overnight stay.

Day 10 - PATNA – VAISHALI (54 kms)- TO KUSHINAGAR (225 kms)

Quick tour of PATNA visiting Har Mandir Sahib, also known as Patna Sahib, consecrates the place where the 10th Guru of the Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh was born in 1776.  Drive an hour to VAISHALI, believed to be the first republic of the world, having an elected body of representatives, hold special significance for Buddhist devotees.  At KOLHUA, Lord Buddha delivered his last sermon, hinting at his impending departure from the mortal world.  Later, Emperor Ashoka erected a huge pillar to commemorate the spot of the last sermon.  The excavations carried out in Vaishali have brought to light BUDDHA STUPA- I (4th century B.C), and II, built in brick with a casket containing part of the ashes of Buddha.  Other sites are CHAUMUKHI MAHADEVA, a lingam carved with four faces of Lord Shiva; the BHAWAN PAKHAR TEMPLE, where a large number of Hindu deities are enshrined at one place and are worshipped together.  Continue your drive to Kushinagar to arrive in the evening.

Day 11 -   KUSHINAGAR – BALRAMPUR (170 kms)
 
Morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of KUSHINAGAR.  It was here that the TATHAGATA, the reciter of truth, breathed his last with last words, “behold now, brethren, I exhort you, saying, decay is inherent in all component things!  Workd out your salvation with diligence!”  A temple dedicated to the event – The MAHAPARINIRVANA TEMPLE today stands amidst a serene ‘sal’ grove……. As if still reminiscing the great desmise.  The huge statue of the RECLINING BUDDHA, excavated in 1876 at the temple, is one of the most momentous of all sights for the devout.  Later proceed to BALRAMPUR visiting SRAVASTI en route.  Sravasti, the capital of ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honor for sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy reasons in the JETVANA GARDENS.  The city, believed to be founded by the mythological king Sravast has age-old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples.  Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here.  Overnight in Balrampur. 

Day 12 - BALRAMPUR – LUMBINI

Visit SAHET MAHET, where Lord Buddha performed his miracle sitting on a petalled lotus, multiplying one thousand times.  Then drive to LUMBINI, the birth-place of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace, compassion and non-violence.  It is situated in the western Terai of Nepal.  The broken ASHOKA PILLAR, remnants of old monasteries, images of Buddha’s mother Maya Devi etc. are still preserved here.  The MAYA DEVI TEMPLE is the holy spot where he was born. 

Day 13 - LUMBINI – KATHMANDU

In time transfer to airport to board flight for Kathmandu. Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel. Surrounded by green hills and mountains with snow- capped peaks against its northern and eastern background the Valley is indeed beautiful.

Day 14 - DEPART KATHMANDU

In time transfer to airport to board flight back home

END OF THE TOUR

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