BUDDHIST CIRCUIT PROGRAM 1Day 01: Arrive Delhi On arrival at Delhi airport, on completion with immigration, custom clearance and luggage collection please proceed to the exit look for our representative in the arrival area- who will be holding a placard with guests name and after a nice welcome transferred to the hotel (check in time 1400 hrs). Delhi is India’s bustling capital city. New Delhi reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the segregation between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. This day will be spent at leisure to get acclimated to the time difference. Overnight at Delhi
Day 02: In Delhi
After breakfast, proceed for a guided tour of. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaars, once the shopping avenue for Mughal royalty and the oldest marketplace of the city, once the shopping avenue for Mughal royalty and the oldest marketplace of the city. Drive past the Red sandstone walled Red Fort, also built by Emperor Shahjahan. Next proceed to visit Raj Ghat, the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi), The “Father of the nation”.
Afternoon, proceed for a guided tour of New Delhi visit Humayun’s Tomb,built by the orders of Humayun’s widow, Hamida Banu Begum, starting in 1562. It took 8 years for the tomb to get completed. The structure is built with red sandstone, whereas white and black marble has been used largely in the borders. Qutab Minar is built in Indo- Islamic style and has five stories. It is one of the highest stone towers in India and has a diameter of about 14.32 meters/47 feet at the base and about 2.75 meters/9 feet the top. Later drive past India Gate, The war memorial arch, India Gate, was built by the British in the honor of the 70000 Indian soldiers, who lost their lives in the First World War and Second Afghan War, Rashtrapati Bhavan (President Palace) and adjoining Government Buildings, Parliament house. Return to Hotel for overnight stay.Overnight at Delhi (B)
Day 03: Flight Delhi – Varanasi
Today morning you will be assisted at Domestic airport for your flight to Varanasi.upon arrival, meet our representative and transfer to hotel. Later, proceed for a city tour. Visit to Vishwanath Temple (one of the name of Lord Shiva) Bharatmata Temple. (Dedicated to nation India, whom Hindus worships as “Mother”) and New Vishwanath Temple (Popularly known as Golden Temple of Varanasi). (Please note that Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple premises of Vishwanath temple)
Afternoon explore some of the famous ghats of the temple city. Visit Dasaswamedh Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat & Manikarnika Ghat where time stand still. In the evening spend time in one of the Ghats for panoramic view of “Ganga Aarti”. Overnight at Varanasi (B)
Day 04: Drive Varanasi – Bodhgaya (245 Kms. – Approx 5 hrs.)
Today we start our day with a Boat ride on the river Ganges. Rise before dawn & step gingerly in the boat as the boatman starts rowing the boat. Witness the daily miracle to unfold, as the Sun appears triumphantly over the horizon. The sound of conches & temple bells add to the delicate pink fabric of dawn. The formerly hushed murmuring of ancient Sanskrit Shlokas (hymns) now rise, in one voice, to a crescendo of unparalleled piety & joy. After breakfast drive to Bodhgaya via Sarnath, visit the various Stupas created by King Ashoka of Maurya dynasty. Also visit the famous place where Buddha gave his first Sermons. The place has the most impressive remains, as well as a modern temple. Also visit adjoining Sarnath museum. On arrival check in at Hotel Overnight at Bodhgaya (B,D)
Day 05: In Bodhgaya
After breakfast, start early in the morning and visit The Mahabodhi Temple, located atthe place where Lord Buddha was enlightened. Bodh Gaya is the most sacred Buddhist site and is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in the world. The Mahabodhi Temple was constructed by the famous Emperor Ashok. The temple has a 50m (170 ft) tower. Visit Bodhi Tree, probably the fifth succession of the original tree under which the Buddha had attained enlightenment.Bodhi tree is one of the holiest shrines of Buddhism. The tree is situated at the premises of Mahabodhi Temple. The present tree is 122 year old. Also visit Ratnagarh, Chankramana Chaitya, Giant statue of Lord Buddha, and Lotus Tank. Visit foreign monasteries in Bodhgaya – Tibetan monastery, Thai monastery, Bhutanese monastery, Japanese monastery and Chinese monastery.Overnight at Bodhgaya (B,L,D)
Day 06: Drive Bodhgaya – Patna (200 Kms. – Approx 5 hrs.) After breakfast, drive to Patna, enroute visiting Rajgir and Nalanda.
In Rajgir, visit Griddhakuta OR Vulture’s Peak, located on top of a 400 meterhigh hill. This is the site where, Lord Buddha preached many inspiring sermons. The Buddha Sangha of Japan has constructed a massive modern stupa, the ‘Vishwa Shanti stupa’ (Peace Pagoda), at the top of the hill. Enjoy Cable car ride to reach and come back from the hill. Venuvana Vihara, a favorite retreat of Lord Buddha gifted to him by King Bimbisara. Jivaka’s Mango Garden, This was the site of the dispensary of Royal physician Jivaka where Lord Buddha was once brought to have wound dressed by Jivaka. Ajatshatru’s Fort, Ajatashatru, the king of Magadha during the Buddha’s time is believed to have ruled from this fort. Visit Hot Springs, at the foot of Vaibhava Hill, a staircase leads up to the various temples. The water comes out from Saptadhara or seven streams believed to find their source behind the Saptkarni Caves up in the hills.
In Nalanda, visit the Ruins of Nalanda University; spread over 14 hectares of land. This is supposedly only a fraction of the immense area that is believed to have supported 10000 students and 2000 teachers, apart from a large number of support staff. Among the ruins can be seen many Buddhist structures including stupas, chaityas, temples and monasteries. Before it’s destruction in 12th century AD by invaders, Nalanda continued to be one of the major universities of the world for over 9 centuries. Some scholars date this university to an even earlier date. Visit Stupa of Sariputta, Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, Surya Temple and Nalanda museum. After sight seeing, drive to Patna. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. Overnight at Patna (B,L,D)
Day 07: Drive Patna – Kushinagar (260 Kms. – Approx 6.5 hrs.) After a leisurely breakfast, check-out and drive to Kushinagar. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. Later visit Kushinagar it is the place where Lord Buddha fell ill and left this world in 543 BC.
Mahaparinirvana Temple, This temple stands on the same plinth as the main Nirvana Stupa behind it. The Reclining Nirvana statue of Lord Buddha inside the temple is 6.10 metres long and is made of monolith red – sand stone. It represents the “Dieing – Buddha” reclining on his right side with his face towards the west. It is placed on a large brick-pedestal with stone-posts at the corners. There is an inscription datable to the 5th Century A.D. Nirvana Chaitya (Main Stupa), excavated by Carlleyle in the year 1876. During excavations, a copper-plate was found, which contained the text of the “Nidana-Sutra” which concluded the statement that plate had been deposited in the “Nirvana-Chaitya”. Also visit Ramabhar Stupa, Matha Kuar Shrine, Indo-Japan-Srilanka Temple, Wat Thai Temple and Meditation Park. Overnight at Kushinagar (B,L,D)
Day 08: Drive Kushinagar – Lumbini (180 Kms. – Approx 3.5 hrs.) Post breakfast, check-out and drive to Lumbini, the place where the Buddha, known as Prince Siddhartha in childhood was born on 642 BC. Lumbini is located in neighboring country, Nepal. Cross India-Nepal border to reach Lumbini.
Afterwards visit Lumbini Grove, this is the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s birth, the sacred site of the Buddha’s birth is at the southern end of Lumbini grove. Excavations have revealed a series of rooms and a stone slab, which is now believed to mark the exact location at which the Buddha, was born. The whole place has an air of remoteness except when the occasional busload of pilgrims from different corners of the Buddhist universe arrives. Rummendei pillar, Three hundred years after the ahaparinirvana, Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini and erected a pillar there. This pillar, though broken, still remains at the site. It is known as the Rummendei pillar after the earlier name of the place (modern name Rupandehi) in Nepal.
Mayadevi temple and the tank nearby are part of the sacred complex. There are two beautiful panels in the temple, the older one in stone and the other in marble. Both panels show Mayadevi holding the Sal tree and the young prince emerging out of her right side. Dharmaswami Maharaja Buddha Vihara This Tibetan gompa belonging to the Sakyapa order, is also outside the complex. His Eminence Chogya the complex. His Eminence Chogya Trichen Rinpoche and the Raja of Mustang established it. Every morning around sixty monks who reside here conduct the Tara Puja. Also visit Ramabhar Stupa, Matha Kuar Shrine, Indo-Japan-Srilanka Temple, Wat Thai Temple and Meditation Park. Overnight at Lumbini (B,L,D)
Day 09: Drive Lumbini – Shravasti (190 Kms. – Approx 4 hrs.)
After an early breakfast, check-out and drive to Shravasti, enroute visiting Kapilavastu, lays the ruins of historic town of Kapilvastu. Also, the place is believed to have been associated with different important episodes: there are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of kiln-fired bricks and clay mortar. The remains are surrounded by a moat and the walls of the city are made of bricks.
Resuming drive arrive Shravasti. Upon arrival, visit Maheth Temples, An important set of shrines, Maheth is visited by a large number of tourists. Sprawled over an area of 400 acres, you can see here a plethora of stupas and temples. Look out for Shobhnath Temple, many of whose replicas can also be found at places like Nepal and Indo-China. This temple is considered to be the place where Sambhavanath, one of the Jain Tirthankars, was born. Saheth Temples, Another important cluster of Buddhist temples is Saheth which is stretched over 35 kilometers. The place is frequented by a large number of tourists from all over world. Ashoka constructed a whole lot of Buddhist sites, the works were later continued by rulers belonging to Gupta and Kushana dynasty. After visit, check-in at the hotel. Overnight at Sharavasti (B,L,D)
Day 10: Drive Shravasti – Lucknow (140 Kms. – Approx 3.5 hrs.) Lucknow – Delhi by trainDay 11: Depart Delhi After breakfast, check-out and departure transfer to Delhi international airport to board flight for onward journey. (B)
After breakfast, check-out and visit Jetavana Monastery, the place where Lord Buddha spent a long period of his life. Emperor Ashoka built 2 pillars on either side of the monastery. At present this monastery compound has two monasteries, six temples and five Stupas inside. Visit Temple No. 2, This temple bears the ruins of the Gandha-Kuti or Perfumed Chamber built by Anathapindika for the use of Lord Buddha. The original Kuti was made at the time of the Chinese pilgrims. Temple No. 3, This is believed to be the site of the original Kosambi-Kuti. It was built by Anathapitaka and there was also a meditation chamber constructed for the Lord. Ananda Bodhi Tree, At the entrance of the Jetavana Garden, the Bodhi Tree was planted at the request of Anasthapitaka as a symbol of worship when Lord Buddha was not in Shravasti. This sacred tree was brought as a cutting from the Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, which itself grew from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. After visit, drive straight to Lucknow railway station to board train for Delhi departing at 1535 hrs, upon arrival at 2205 Hrs you will be assisted for your check in at Hotel. Overnight at Delhi (B)