In his first sermon the Dharmachakrapravrtana (Turning of the Wheel of Law) at Sarnath the Buddha put forth, The Middle Way, The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. The message of the Buddha spread rapidly, penetrating caste and class barriers. The Buddha preached that the way to salvation was not dependent on God of Divine Grace but on understanding the way things really are. It is essentially concerned with all living, suffering beings caught in the treadmill of desire and craving.
Arrive Delhi, meet our representative at the airport & transfer to the hotel booked for the guests.
This morning you will be boarded to a flight or Train to be for Lucknow . On arrival at Lucknow you will be driven directly to Sravasti where Lord Buddha spent 24 rainy seasons in Jetvana Gardens. Another attraction at Sravasti is the Ananda Bodhi Tree believed to be the one planted by Anand the main disciple of Buddha.
This morning you shall have a short tour of Sravasti which will include a visit to Maheth - covering an area of about 400 acres. Excavations have exposed the massive gates of the city, ramparts and also the ruins of other structures, which stand testimony to the prosperity of ancient Sravasti. The Sobhanath Temple is located here. Pakki Kuti and Kacchi Kuti were probably Buddhist shrines, before they were converted into Brahmanical temples. Later continue to Lumbini 27 km beyond Indo – Nepal Border.
This morning let us take a half tour of Lumbini visiting The Sacred Garden - spread at a area of over 8 sq km it possesses all the treasures of the historic area. There are many temples, Monasteries & Stupas built by various countries. Ashoka pillar carrying an inscription identifying the holy site as the birthplace is situated nearby the Sacred Garden. Mayadevi Temple houses a bas relief depicting the nativity. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a "foot imprint", indicating the exact place of birth. Puskarni pond is where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddha's mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to Buddha. The sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Kushinagar.
This morning explore the town of Kushinagar with a half day tour comprising a visit to Mahaparinirvana Temple - This houses the over 6 meters long statue of reclining Buddha excavated in 1876. It represents the dying Buddha reclining on his right side. Ramabhar - This large stupa rises to a height of 49 ft. It marks the site where the Lord Buddha was cremated. Mathakuar Temple - this shrine lies about 400 yards from the Parinirvana stupa. The last sermon by Lord Buddha was given here. The sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Patna en route visit Vaishali where Buddha delivered his last sermon and announced his impending ‘nirvana’. Later continue your drive to Patna.
This morning you will drive to Bodhgaya en route visiting Nalanda and Rajgir. Nalanda is the ancient seat of learning, the ruins of the University reveal that it was the first International University of the world, where over 2,000 teachers and 1,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied. The excavated ruins are spectacular, with chapels, monasteries and lecture halls symmetrically spread over a large area. Rajgir – It is another important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and as well as Jains. Ancient Rajgirha, literally the abode of Kings, was the first capital of Magadha. Vulture Peak, Griddhakuta, Ajatsatru Fort are the important places to visit in Rajgir. Later continue your drive to Bodhgaya.
Today, you are collected from your hotel for half day tour of Bodhgaya. This tour includes a visit to The Mahabodhi Temple Complex. Seven spots within the complex precincts are especially sacred because it was at these spots that the Buddha spent a week each, meditating, after his Enlightenment. The Bodhi tree - Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree and spent the first week after his enlightenment under this tree. Afternoon free to meditate, should one wish to.
After breakfast you may leave for Varanasi en route visiting Sarnath – where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya, today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail. At Sarnath visit Dhamek Stupa – which is now an official symbol of Modern India. Chaukandi Stupa - this stupa was rebuilt by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Dhamarajika Stupa - only the ruins of this stupa built by Emperor Ashoka can be seen today. Moolgandha Kuti Vihara - built in more recent times by the Mahabodhi Society, it has a life-size statue of the lord Buddha in the Dharmachakra Pravartan form. Later continue your drive to Varanasi.
Early morning enjoy a boat ride on the holy river The Ganges followed by the tour of Varanasi. A highlight of any trip to Varanasi - this incredible scene as multitudes of devotees comes to the river to pay homage to the Sun God. The tour of this ancient city includes The Bharat Mata Temple, which has a big relief map of India in marble, the Benares Hindu University with its art gallery, and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb built on the side of an ancient Hindu temple, bathing Ghats, Kashivishwanath temple & Durgakund. Return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast. Later the day, you shall be transferred to the airport to board flight for Delhi. Upon arrival you shall be met at the airport and escorted to the hotel in Delhi.
Today you shall explore the old and New Delhi highlights in a full day tour of the capital of India. It shall include mosque Jama Masjid, the main street of Old Delhi - colorful shopping bazaar known as Chandini Chowk (“Moonlit Street”). Red Fort, most spectacular pieces of Mughal architecture. Drive past Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. The New Delhi visit comprises of Qutab Minar, one of the most popular landmarks in Delhi built in 1199, the Humayun's Tomb - precursor to the Taj Mahal. Drive down the spectacular Rajpath (“the Kingsway,”) passing the India Gate (the memorial built to commemorate the unknown soldiers,) the President’s House, and the House of Parliament. Enjoy a brief respite from the otherwise bustling city at Birla Mandir, a modern and colorful Hindu temple.
Met by our representative and escorted from your hotel to the Delhi airport in time for your flight back home.
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