On The Buddha's Footsteps
Duration : 13 Days / 12 Nights
Destination Covered : Delhi - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda -
Patna - Vaishali - Kushinagar - Lumbini - Kapilvastu - Sravasti -
Day 01: Arrival / Delhi
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
Day 02: Delhi
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
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
Day 03: Delhi / Varanasi (9W 723 - 1040 / 1150 Hrs)
transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Varanasi
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel
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
Day 04: Varanasi
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
Day 07: Bodhgaya / Rajgir / Nalanda / Patna
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
Day 11: Sravasti / Lucknow
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
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"