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Home » Special Interest Tours » Spiritual Tours » On The Buddha's Footsteps





On The Buddha's Footsteps

Duration : 13 Days / 12 Nights
Destination Covered : Delhi - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna - Vaishali - Kushinagar - Lumbini - Kapilvastu - Sravasti - Lucknow

Day 01: Arrival / Delhi

WelcomeLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 02: Delhi

Akshardham TempleFollowing a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Akshardham Temple.

Akshardham Temple is situated along the bank of the Yamuna River, adjacent to New Delhi. It is a large complex of temples made of pink sandstone and white marble. The Akshardham Temple was built by the Swaminarayan sect as a spiritual center of prayer and learning and as a resource center for the study of Indian Culture.

Spread over 30 acres of the Eastern Bank of the Yamuna, the Akshardham Temple is a synthesis of Indian architectural styles. The design of the Akshardham Temple is inspired by temples from different parts of India. The sources include the temples of Badrinath in North India, Somnath in West India and Konark in East India. With a complex of temples and shrines set amidst sprawling lawns, prayer halls and spaces for meditation and communal gatherings, the Akshardham Temple is a new landmark in the National Capital Region. The Akshardham Temple is a religious and cultural highlight of Delhi.

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 03: Delhi / Varanasi (9W 723 - 1040 / 1150 Hrs)

Ganges AartiMorning transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Varanasi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel Taj Ganges

Varanasi is quite possibly the world's oldest living city. Religious artifacts link it to the sixth century B.C. Said to be founded by Shiva, Varanasi's Vedic affiliation goes back to the beginning of time. It is also a city of many names. The present name, Varanasi (derived from the names of two nearby rivers) is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The ancient name is Kashi, the City of Light. To the devout it is also called Kashika, the shining one, referring to the light of Shiva. Many others prefer the anglicized Benares. Revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jain alike, Varanasi is considered the holiest city in all of India. It is presided over by Shiva in his manifestation as Vishwanatha, Lord of the Universe. Buddha delivered a sermon in nearby Sarnath and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived in Varanasi. As a result, more Indians will make a pilgrimage to Varanasi in their lifetime than any other place.

This afternoon we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath .It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment.

Evening, we visit the ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges. See the Hindu devotees performing the "Puja" with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the backdrop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chantings. Later return to the hotel

Overnight at Taj Ganges

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Day 04: Varanasi

VaranasiAt dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps-the ghats-that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life's earthly confines. We would docked our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here, The ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.

Following the boat ride we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness!

Afternoon we will visit several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.

The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.

Overnight at Taj Ganges

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Day 05: Varanasi / Bodhgaya

Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Bodhgaya.

Upon arrival check in to Lotus Nikko

Bodhgaya - As the place of the Buddha's Enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buhddhists. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres since it was here that Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Overnight at Lotus Nikko

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Day 06: Bodhgaya

The Great Buddha StatueFull day touring of Bodhgaya. One of the holiest of holy pilgrim places for the Buddhists of the world is Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya The Mahabodhi Temple built on the east of the sacred tree stands majestically 170 feet high on a base 50 feet square, and consists of a soaring pyramidal tower surmounted by a stupa. The Vajrasan or Diamond Throne lying between the Bodhi Tree and the temple marks the actual spot where Buddha sat in meditation and attained supreme knowledge. A gilded Buddha smiles upon the visitors from a niche in the wall of the temple, and his footsteps carved in stone hold flower offerings from the devout. Unbelievable peace pervades the atmosphere giving credence to legend.

Besides the Mahabodhi temple, we would visit several Buddhist temples built by the followers of Buddhism from all over the world.

Overnight at Lotus Nikko

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Day 07: Bodhgaya / Rajgir / Nalanda / Patna

RajgirAfter Breakfast drive to Patna enroute we visit Nalanda & Rajgir.

Rajgir -The picturesque Rajgir, or Rajagriha as it was known in the past (literally, the abode of kings) is surrounded by the meandering river Banganga and 5 hills. During the lifetime of the Buddha this was the capital of the powerful Magadhan kingdom, ruled by the virtuous King Bimbisara. The hills and caves surrounding Rajagriha were home to spiritual teachers, ranging from the materialism of the early Charavaka school to the metaphysics of Upanishadic philosophers. Like many others in search of truth, Prince Siddhartha, after he renounced his royal heritage came to this city to seek the path of vation. Nalanda -Nalanda was the most renowned university in ancient India. It derived its name from Na-alam-da, meaning Insatiable in Giving, one of the names by which the Lord Buddha was known. From here we continue our drive to Patna.

Upon arrival in Patna check in to hotel Maurya Patna

Overnight at Maurya Patna

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Day 08: Patna / Vaishali / Kushinagar

Mukutbandhan StupaAfter breakfast drive to Kushinagar where the Buddha finally attained Mahaparmirvana. Amongst the ruins are the Mukutbandhan Stupa and a beautiful statue of the reclining Buddha enroute visiting Vaishali.

Upon arrival in Kushinagar check in to your Hotel.

Overnight at Lotus Nikko

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Day 09: Kushinagar / Lumbini

After breakfast visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple & Stupas.

We drive to Lumbini upon arrival check in to Lumbini Hokke

Lumbini - the birthplace of the Buddha, was located in 1890 after being untraced for 1,500 years. Evening sightseeing tour of Lumbini including a visit to the birth Place of Lord Buddha

Overnight at Lumbini Hokke

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Day 10: Lumbini / Kapilvastu / Sravasti

After breakfast drive to Sravasti enroute visiting Kapilvastu - the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honour for sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons 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. In Sravasti visit Saheth - Maheth & Jetvan.

Upon arrival check in to hotel Lotus Nikko

Overnight at Lotus Nikko

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Day 11: Sravasti / Lucknow

SravastiAfter breakfast we will proceed to the tour of Saravasti.

After the tour we will drive to Lucknow

Lucknow is known all over the world for the courteous behavior of its people. It is a rare city. Few places in the world are endowed with such rich cultural traditions, as is this romantic city of the nawabs. Whether it is history, architecture, music, dance, handicrafts, etiquette, or sports, Lucknow has its own story to tell.

Upon arrival check in to Hotel Taj Residency

After rest and relaxation we will proceed to explore Lucknow. It has a number of sites to go shopping. Blended in history, these shopping places also are used as the popular means of passing time and lazy strolling. Hazrat Gunj (named after Begum Hazrat Mahal) is a fashionable shopping plaza overflowing with shops and restaurants. Strolling leisurely in Hazrat Gunj and stopping for a bit of window-shopping or meeting friends at your favorite corner is a popular pastime here. Aminabad is among the busiest markets in the city where one can pick up all kinds of things. But it is primarily known for jewelry and pickle shops. Shopping in the Chowk, an old locality of Lucknow, is also a delightful experience. While doing the rounds of the shops, a visit to Nakhas, the Sunday market, is obligatory. A colorful, noisy pavement bazaar, it is a veritable storehouse of antiques and curios. The visitor can pick up old, beautifully carved paandans (boxes in which the various ingredients that make up a paan are kept), khaasdans (pretty little containers in which the paans are served), and all kinds of other such charming objets d'art. Nakhas also has a bird market. And pottery lovers should make a beeline for Chinhat, located just a few kilometers away from Lucknow. There are pottery factories here that churn out attractive planters, bowls, tea sets, mugs, vases, and dinner sets-all available at very reasonable prices.

Overnight at Taj Residency

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Day 12: Lucknow / Delhi (Lucknow Shatabadi - 1535 / 2205 Hours)

Morning, we ride out for a tour of Lucknow. The city abounds with lovely monuments that tell the story of their time. For any visitor to this city, a trip to the various architectural wonders is an absolute must. Among the most important monuments are the Imambadas, the many mosques, the Roomi Darwaza, and the many splendid Mughal architectural marvels.

Later transfer to the train station to board your train to Delhi

Meeting & assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel The Imperial

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 13: Delhi / Departure

Transfer to the International airport to connect your onward flight back home.

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END OF SERVICES…

We do hope the flavor of India will remain on your taste buds for all times to come and hopefully would kindle an indelible fondness for the country and her people; Thank you for being our guest, and as we say in India 'Please Come back Soon"





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