BUDDHIST TEMPLE TOUR

13 NIGHTS / 14 DAYS MUMBAI - AURANGABAD - BHOPAL - AGRA - VARANASI - BODHGAYA PATNA - BALRAMPUR - LUCKNOW - DELHI

Day 01 :- Arrive Mumbai.

Arrive Mumbai and transfer to hotel.

Afternoon visit Kamla Nehru Park, Hanging Gardens situated on the slopes of Malabar Hill offering a panoramic view of Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Mani Bhawan, Dhobi Ghat, Gateway of India, princes of wale museums & drive through the Crawford Market, Marine Drive & Flora Fountain. (Princes of Wales Museum closed on every Monday)

Day 02 :- Mumbai - Aurangabad by flight

Transfer to airport to board flight for Aurangabad. Arrive and transfer to hotel.

Later visit Ajanta Caves- 106 kms from Aurangabad and date back to the 2nd century BC. The 30 rock hewn caves are adorned with Buddhist sculpture and the frescoes portray in epic form the religious and secular life through eight centuries. (Ajanta Caves closed on every Monday)

Day 03 :- Aurangabad - Bhopal by overnight train

Morning visit to Ellora Caves- (29 kms) encompasses 34 rock cut shrines representing Buddhist, Hindu and Jain art dating from the 4th to 9th century A.D. The most remarkable among them is the Kailash Temple, meant to be a replica of Lord Shivas celestial abode - Kailash is the best example of Rock cut architecture and an engineering marvel. (Ellora Caves closed on every Tuesday)

Check out at 12noon.

Later transfer to railway station to connect train for Bhopal. Overnight on board.

Day 04 :- Arrive - Bhopal

Arrive Bhopal and transfer to hotel. Check in time is 12 noon.

Later visit Sanchi - it has the distinction of having the finest specimens of almost all Buddhist architectural forms, Stupa, Chaitya, Temples and Monasteries dating from 3rd century BC. Visit the Stupas with circular domes and railings around them; Ashoka Pillar, Gupta temple built in the 4th century and the Great Bowl carved of one piece of stone. The museum displays number of sculptures found in the area.

Day 05 :- Bhopal / Agra by train

Transfer to railway station to board train for Agra. Arrive and transfer to hotel.

Day 06 :- Agra Varanasi by overnight train

Morning visit the world famous Taj Mahal built by the Moghul Emperor Shahjehan in 1630 for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Later visit the Agra Fort. Taj Mahal remain closed on every Friday.

Check out from hotel at 12noon. Transfer to station to board train for Varanasi. Overnight on train.

Day 07 :- Arrive Varanasi

Arrive Varanasi and transfer to hotel.

Afternoon visit Sarnath - Visit the buried Buddhist city where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon, Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from 6th century B.C. to 12th century AD. Visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple and the Museum (Museum closed on Fridays).

Day 08:- Varanasi / Bodhgaya

Early morning Boat excursion on the river Ganges, a ferry pilgrimage from ghat to ghat. People bathe early in the morning to offer the prayers to the rising sun. The two cremation ghats are Manikarnika & Harishchandra where funeral pyre burns day and night. Every pious Hindu believes that to die in Kashi and to be cremated on banks of the Ganges is to attain release from the cycle of birth and death.

After the tour drive to Bodhgaya and check in at hotel.

Bodhgaya is one of the most sacred place for Buddhists & Hindus and has a number of Buddhist temples. It is here, under the Maha Bodhi tree, Lord Buddha attained enlightment.

Day 09 :- Bodhgaya

Morning visit the elaborately carved Mahabodhi Temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, is the big attraction in Bodhgaya. The temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. It's open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with chanting and meditation held an hour after opening and an hour before closing. The other monasteries, built and maintained by various Buddhist countries, are also fascinating -- particularly the different architecture styles.

The Niranjana River is about 250meter east of Mahabodhi Temple. Prince Siddhartha crossed this river to reach the Bodhi tree. It is said that the Buddha sent his begging bowl upstream in this river. He made a solemn declaration that if he was to become the Buddha, the bowl would float upstream and join those of the previous Buddhas. The bowl floated upstream as he desired. Gaya and Bodh Gaya are the most famous and important locations on the banks of the Niranjana River.

Day 10 :- Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Patna

Drive to Patna via visiting Nalanda and Rajgir.

Visit the Nalanda University, once a prominent seat of learning; Also visit Rajgir, whose hills are known for a large number of Buddhists and Jain monuments; Pawapuri, where Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained enlightment.

After the tour check in at hotel.

Day 11 :- Patna - Kushinagar

Morning visit Harmandir Temple in Marble built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh (19th century), Golghar - Huge Beehive shaped Granary; the Patna Museum containing original chinese and tibetan scrolls and the Khudabaksh oriental library.

After the tour drive to Kushinagar en-route visiting Vaishali.

Vaishali was an important center of trade and commerce in ancient times. There are two stupas in Vaishali, which, according to Buddhist literature, enshrined Lord Buddhas ashes. Like Rajgir, Vaishali too is important for Buddhism and Jainism. The 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, Lord Mahavira, was born and stayed for a considerable period of time at Vaishali. Lets have a look at various tourist attractions of Vaishali.

Budha Stupa-I Stupa-I is a major tourist attraction at Vaishali. Though decadence, it was once a grand structure. After excavation and corroboration it has been established that this stupa enshrined one eighth of the sacred ashes of Lord Buddha in a stone casket.

Ashokan Pillar Ashoka the great of Maurayan dynasty was a staunch follower of Lord Buddha. To show his gratitude to Lord Buddha and Buddhism he built a Lion Pillar at Kolhua. He chose Kolhua for it was the spot where Lord Buddha gave sermon for the last time. This 18.30 meter high pillar is well polished single piece red sandstone and stands alone. On the top is capital in a bell shape accompanied by a life-size figure of a lion.

After the tour check in at hotel.

Day 12 :- Kushinagar - Balrampur

Morning visit Kushinagar where the Buddha finally attained Mahaparmirvana. Amongst the ruins are the Mukutbandhan Stupa and a beautiful statue of the reclining Buddha and also visit Nirvana Temple , Ramabhar Stupa & Cremation site of Lord Buddha

After the tour drive to Balrampur enroute visiting Lumbini After the tour drive to Lumbini - it is the place where the Buddha, known as the Tathagata* was born. It is the place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which should cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence. Tathagata - One who has found the Truth.

The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death. All of these events happened outside in nature under trees. While there is not any particular significance in this, other than it perhaps explains why Buddhists have always respected the environment and natural law.

Later visit - Ashokan Pillar - an inscribed pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka (249 BC) on the spot of Buddha's birth. The inscription, which is the oldest in Nepal, grants Lumbini a tax-free status in honor of Buddhas birth. Buddhist Temples - there are foundations of temples dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD, and two modern temples.

Day 13 :- Balrampur - Lucknow by road Delhi by flight

Drive to Lucknow en-route visiting Sravasti- Maheth and Saheth.

Maheth, an ancient village, is one of the sacred places located in Sravasti. This place is believed to be the original site of erstwhile Sravasti city and covers an area of around.

Saheth is a cluster of shrines situated in the middle of Sravasti and covers an area of around 32 sq. km. It is an important pilgrimage site with various shrines, monasteries and stupas.

Majority of the stupas belong to the Kushana period. The temples are built in architectural style of Gupta period. The remains of the temples and stupas at Saheth belong to the period extending between the Maurayan era (3rd century) and the 12th century

After the tour transfer to Lucknow airport to board flight for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel.

Day 14 :- Delhi Departure

Full day city tour.

Morning tour of Old / New Delhi - In Old Delhi visit the Raj Ghat - the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi , Jama Masjid and drive past Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. In New Delhi visit the Qutub Minar built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibek in 1199, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate and Lakshminarayan Temple. Also drive past President's House, Parliament House and Government Secretariat Buildings.

Check out from hotel at 12noon. Later in the evening transfer to airport to board flight for onward journey.

 

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