Day 1: Arrive Bodhgaya
On arrival at Gaya airport assistance & transfer to hotel.
Visit Mahabodhi Temple an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 54mts tall temple has been renovated over the years. It enshrines a large golden Buddha, and is encompassed by an ancient railing, dating back to 100 BC. Bodhi Tree where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and the Vajrasana where Buddha sat. Also visit Great Buddha Statue, Tibetan Monastery housing the Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha), Burmese Temple, Chinese Temple and Monastery, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, Thai Temple and Monastery, and many more. O/n at hotel.
Day 2: Bodhgaya - Patna (180km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Patna via visiting Rajgir, a spiritual town with natural serenity amongst the dense forests, mysterious caves and springs. Rajgir houses many religious shrine dedicated to Buddhism & Jainism. Both lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir have said to spent time here giving it huge spiritual and religious importance. One can visit various ruins, temples and sites here and also spend some time indulging in its refreshing calmness. Among notable places in the area are the tranquil Vulture`s Peak (Gijjhakuta), where the Buddha meditated, and the Sattapanni Cave, where the First Council was organized after the Buddha`s passing.
Next drive to visit Nalanda, established in the 5th century CE was an ancient Mahavihara, a revered Buddhist monastery which also served as a renowned center of learning, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. The ancient university of Nalanda obtained significant fame, prestige and relevance during ancient times, and rose to legendary status due to its contribution to the emergence of India as a great power around the fourth century. At its peak the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some traveling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. Arrive Patna check in & O/n at hotel.
Day 3: Patna - Vaishali - Kesariya - Kushinagar (260km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Kushinagar, enroute visit Vaishali a city of great importance in Buddhist history. King Ashoka became a great follower of Buddhism after the massacre of Kalinga and erected one of his famous Ashokan pillar to memorialize the last sermon of Lord Buddha that took place here. There is a life like figure of a lion flawlessly engraved, at the top of the pillar facing north, believed to be the direction of Lord Buddha`s last voyage. There is a brick stupa and a pond known as Ramkund next to the pole which sums up to make a sanctified spot for Buddhists. Vishwa Shanti Stupa a 125ft, tall peace pagoda which was built by the Buddh Vihar society in collaboration with Japanese government was excavated in 1969. And Museum which houses the artifacts found during excavation.
Next stop to visit Kesariya Stupa. Initially constructed as a mud stupa, it gained its present structure in the Maurya, Sunga and Kushana period. The stupa dates between 200 AD and 750 AD and may have been associated with the 4th-century ruler, Raja Chakravarti. Kesariya Stupa is 104 feet high. Huien Tsang mentions having seen the grand Stupa in Kia-shi-po-lo (Kesariya) but it was deserted and overgrown. The Kesariya stupa was discovered in 1958 during an excavation.
Continue drive to Kushinagar check in at hotel. Later visit Mahapari-nirvaana Temple, home to a superb 1,500-year-old red sandstone statue of the reclining Buddha, and the imposing Mahaparinirvana Stupa, which was built over the spot where the Buddha is said to have passed away under twin sal trees. Pilgrims walk in silence around the massive reclining statue of the Buddha to pay homage to the truth of anicca (impermanence) and cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for the Buddha and his teaching. The Ramabhar Stupa marks the place where Buddha was cremated after mahaparinirvana. The 15 meters high stupa is one of the major pilgrim spot for the Buddhists and is situated in a pleasant and lush green vicinity. Also visit Kushinagar Museum which houses relics found from the excavations carried out here. Many countries have built their own temples in Kushinagar, e.g. Wat Thai Temple, Chinese Temple & The Indo-Japanese temple. Apart from the Buddhist landmarks, Kushinagar also houses the famous Sun Temple which was originally built during the Gupta period. The beautiful Meditation Park comprises artificial water bodies and magnificent landscaped gardens. O/n at hotel.
Day 4: Kushinagar - Lumbini (160km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive till Sonauli border from here our Nepal vehicle will take you to Lumbini.
Arrive Lumbini check in at hotel. Rest time free and easy to relax. O/n at hotel.
Day 5: Lumbini
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Lumbini. Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal. What is considered the exact location of the birth is identified by a stone slab in the inner sanctum of the Maya Devi Temple, named after Siddhartha`s mother. The oldest monument at Lumbini is the Ashoka Pillar, which marks it as the birthplace of the Buddha. A little south of the pillar is the spring-fed rectangular Puskarni pond, where Maya Devi is believed to have bathed before giving birth. The Sacred Garden beyond the Maya Devi compound hosts some 40 monasteries from Asian Buddhist nations. At the end of a beautiful canal and tree-lined avenue is the majestic World Peace Pagoda, built by the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order. Today, the Lumbini Sacred Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of world peace. Visit Maya Devi Temple, Ashokan Pillar, Chinese Maitreya Temple, Myanmar Golden Temple, Shanti stupa & Great Drigung Kagyud lotus Stupa and more. O/n at hotel.
Day 6: Lumbini - Shravasti (160km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive till Sonauli border from here your Indian driver will take you to Sravasti.
On arrival check in at hotel. Lord Buddha spent 25 rain retreats at Shravasti. Three-fourths of the Buddha`s discourses, including the well-known Lovingkindness Discourse, were given at Jetavana Vihara here, donated by the Buddha`s great lay disciple Anathapindika. The ruins at Saheth and Maheth are believed to be the site of ancient Shravasti. Maheth was the city-proper while the Jetavana monastery was at Saheth. Of the ancient Shravasti, the city walls are still standing. Within these, the remains of 3 ancient buildings can be visited: Angulimalas stupa, Anathapindika`s stupa, and an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara. Outside of Shravasti is located the stupa where the Twin Miracle took place. The site of Jetavana monastery is the main pilgrim destination, with meditation and chanting mainly done at the Gandhakuti (Buddha`s hut) and the Anandabodhi tree. Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Tibet, and China have built Buddhist monasteries in Shravasti. O/n at hotel.
Day 7: Shravasti - Varanasi (315km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Varanasi check in at hotel. Evening attend Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical ritual held every evening at sunset on the banks of the Holy Ganges. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. O/n at hotel.
Day 8: Varanasi
Breakfast at hotel. Early morning boat ride & Ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water.
Later city tour visit Banaras Hindu University. With 5.3 sq kms campus and 30,000 residing students it is the largest residential university in the continent. Bharat Mata Temple built in 1936 houses a relief map of undivided India, carved out of marble. Tulsi Manas Mandir one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. The temple has beautiful images of Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman. The walls of temple are adorned with verses from Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of the epic Ramayana. Continue to Sarnath, it was here Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The great Dhamekh Stupa and glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that time.
If time permit visit Ram Nagar Fort located on the eastern bank of River Ganga. The Fort includes an eccentric museum boasting a royal collection of vintage cars, swords, palanquins, ivory works, an old weaponry section and an extremely unusual astrological clock. O/n at hotel.
Day 9: Varanasi - Departure
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
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