You arrive in Delhi by International flight SU-535 at 0330 hrs. After a traditional Swagat (Welcome) our representative would assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check-in. After breakfast we will go on a guided tour of Delhi at 1100 hrs, beginning with a morning sightseeing trip to Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat followed by the drive around India Gate and President s House. In the afternoon visits to Humayun s Tomb, Lotus Temple (Closed on Monday) and Qutub Minar. Overnight stay. (Breakfast).
We Arrive Varanasi in the morning, upon arrival assistance at the railway station and transfer to our hotel for check-in. Next we leave for Sarnath at a distance of 12 Kms from Varanasi, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after Enlightenment. At Sarnath in the Ganges Valley of India, the Buddha proclaimed the law of faith. It was here that he taught the keys aspects of Buddhism: the four noble truths, the eightfold path and the middle way philosophy. The Buddha encouraged followers to avoid extremes of austerity or pleasure. The remains of monasteries dating from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. indicate a thriving monastic community.
Early morning before breakfast at 0500 hrs boat ride on the river Ganges. We rise before dawn and step gingerly in the boat as the boatman starts rowing the boat. We wait for the daily miracle to unfold, as the Sun appears triumphantly over the horizon. The sound of conches and temple bells add to the delicate pink fabric of dawn. The formerly hushed murmuring of ancient Sanskrit Shlokas now rises, in one voice, to a crescendo of unparalleled piety and joy. We return to our hotel for breakfast.
After Breakfast drive to Bodhgaya & upon arrival check-in. Buddha attained enlightenment at the age of 29 in the town of Bodhgaya in India. After settling under a tree, Buddha resolved not to move until he had achieved enlightenment. After three days and nights of profound meditation this goal was realised. The Bodhi tree under which the Buddha sat, is visible today as well. Later visit Mahabodhi Temple, Niranjana River and Sujata Village. Night stay at Bodhgaya. (B,D)
After early breakfast drive to Patna en-route sightseeing of Rajgir & Nalanda.
Rajgir : Rajgir is another place in the Ganges Valley where the Buddha walked and preached. Perhaps the most important event of the Buddha s visits to Rajgir was the conversion of two future disciples, Sariputra and Maudgalyayana. While Sariputra was credited with greater intelligence, Maudgalyayana wielded a greater power for miracles.
Nalanda : Nalanda is important both because it was blessed with the presence of Buddha, and because of the famous monastic university developed there. This university, named Nalanda (meaning insatiable in giving ) played a central role in the development of Buddhism in India.
After early breakfast drive to Kushinagar en-route visiting Vaishali.
Vaishali : On the left bank of the Gandak river, is spiritually supreme Vaishali town. Lord Buddha visited this place frequently and at Kolhua, close by, preached his last sermon. To commemorate the event, Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. erected one of his famous Lion Pillars here. A hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha, Vaishali hosted the second great Buddhist council. Two stupas were erected to commemorate this event. Next we drive to Kushinagar.
Kushinagar : One of the most sacred sites for the Buddhists. It was here that Lord Buddha is said to have attained Mahaparnirvana , the freedom from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth.
Morning post breakfast we will visit Nirvana Stupa, Nirvana temple, Mathakuar Shrine and Ramabhar Stupa. Later we drive to Lumbini.
Lumbini (Nepal) : Lumbini is one of the most important places of Buddhist pilgrimages, located near the Nepal-India border. This is where Gautam Buddha was born in a Royal family in 556 B.C. Many auspicious signs accompanied the Buddha s birth, including the sprouting of Bodhi tree. The great Buddhist ruler Ashoka visited the site two centuries later, constructing a Stupa (mound, usually of earth) and Pillar in recognition. Although largely destroyed now, these remain important marks of the Buddha s birthplace.
Upon arrival at Lumbini check-in to our hotel for overnight stay. (Breakfast)
After breakfast we visit Lumbini Garden, The Ashok Pillar, Pushkarni - The Sacred Pool, Sanctum Sanctorum of the Lord Buddha s birthplace and the Buddhist temple. Later we drive to Sravasti.
Sravasti is intimately associated with the life of Buddha. In Buddhist times (6th century BC-6th century AD), Sravasti was the capital of the Kingdom of Kosala and was important both as a prosperous trading centre and for its religious associations. Buddha is believed to have spent 24 monsoons in the city. It is said that Buddha sat on a Lotus with a thousand petals and multiplied his image a million times. A divine sight that silenced his critics.
Upon arrival assistance and check-in the hotel for overnight stay. (B,D)
Morning post breakfast we will visit Shobha Nath Temple, Maheth and Saheth. Later in the afternoon we leave for Lucknow, the Capital city of Uttar Pradesh. Upon arrival check-in. Evening at leisure and overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)
Today we leave for a guided tour covering Great Imambara, the Residency Alambagh ruins, Dilkusha Palace and Secundrabagh. Evening transfer to the railway station to board the train for Delhi. Upon arrival assistance and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay. (Breakfast)
Post breakfast, we leave at 0900 hrs for Agra, the erstwhile capital of India under the great Mughals and known for Taj Mahal, has always fascinated Indians and foreigners alike. Most of Agra is on the West bank of river Yamuna, with the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal at its nucleus. Taj Mahal is quite simply one of mankind s most remarkable creations.
Upon arrival in Agra, you will be taken for a half day sightseeing of Agra city, covering the incredible architectural excellence of Taj Mahal (Closed on Friday), built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Next we visit Agra Fort, built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565. The red sandstone Agra Fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan s time. This massive Fort is 2.5 km long & is considered as the predecessor of the Delhi Red Fort. Later we drive back to Delhi for overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)