Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour Visiting Varanasi, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Kesariya, Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir & Bodhgaya
Package price On Request
Product Code : AGORA582
Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour Visiting Varanasi, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Kesariya, Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir & Bodhgaya tour will begin with pick up from Varanasi airport. You will visit Varanasi a city on the bank of Holy river Ganges dotted with many Hindu temples. Sarnath a Budhhist place of pilgrimage where Lord Buddha deliver his first sermon. Kushinagar where Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. You will also visit the great stupa at Kesariya & Vaishali and the hot seat of learning ancient Nalanda University & Rajgir where Buddha meditated before enlightenment. AC transport will remain on disposal at your service and local guide will be provided during sightseeing in each cities.
Day 1: Arrive Varanasi
On arrival at Varanasi airport assistance and transfer to hotel check in.
Later visit the Ramnagar Fort located near the Ganga River on its eastern bank. The building was constructed on high ground, which is above the flood level with creamy-coloured chunar sandstone in typical Mughal style of architecture. The fort houses the Veda Vyasa Temple, a museum, and the king's residential complex. There is also a Dakshin Mukhi temple of Hanuman, which faces towards south. The fort has many carved balconies, open courtyards and pavilions. Only a part of the structure is open for public viewing as the rest of it is the residence of Kashi King and his family. There is a museum known as Saraswati Bhawan, what used to be the Durbar Hall or the Public Audience Hall of the fort. It is well known for its unusual and rare collections of American vintage cars, bejeweled sedan chairs, ivory work, medieval costumes, gold and silver brocaded royal Palakis (Palanquins in the shape of a lotus flower). It has elephant saddles carved out of silver, jewellery, costumes made of kimkhwa silk (finest product of the weavers of Varanasi), an impressive armoury hall with swords, old guns from Africa, Burma and Japan. The old armoured matchlocks, ornate hookahs, daggers, portraits of Maharajas, black musical instruments which have turned white because of neglect of maintenance and there is a rare astronomical clock.
Evening walking tour of Ghats’s and temples on ghats. Also sunset boat ride and attend Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical aarti performed at Dasashwamedh Ghat. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Varanasi
Early morning boat ride and Ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water. Visit Kashi Vishwanath Mandir (only Hindus are alowed to enter inside sanctum sanctorum) the temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The main temple is quadrangle and is surrounded by shrines of other gods. There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Jnana Vapi also spelled as Gyaan vapi (the wisdom well). The Jnana Vapi well sites to the north of the main temple and during the invasion by the Mughals the Jyotirlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the Jyotirlinga from invaders.
Return to hotel for breakfast. Thereafter full day to explore Sarnath & Varanasi.
Sarnath - here the Buddha delivered his first discourse, the Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta (Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion), which explains the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path. It was also in Sarnath that the Buddha appointed his first group of disciples (sangha) to propagate his new teaching. Among the most notable monuments at Sarnath are the Dhamek Stupa, originally built by Ashoka, and the Ashoka Pillar, whose inscription points out the necessity of unity within the sangha. The ruins of various stupas and monasteries at Sarnath bear witness to of the monastic tradition that flourished here for over 1,500 years; among the new temples is the Mulaghandhakuti Vihara, built in 1922 by Anagarika Dharmapala. Today, hundreds of pilgrims visit the Vihara every evening to chant the Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta, acknowledging with their voices the wisdom and compassion that began to emanate from Sarnath with the Buddha’s first sermon.
City tour of Varanasi visit World famous Benaras Hindu University & Many Temples. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Varanasi - Kushinagar (250kms/ 5hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel 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. The Buddha’s last words at Kushinagar were these: “All compounded things are subject to decay: strive with diligence” (Vaya dhamma sankhara; appamadena sampadetha). Pilgrims to Kushinagar 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 the beautiful Meditation Park comprises artificial water bodies and magnificent landscaped gardens. The Kushinagar Museum houses relics found from the excavations carried out here. Many countries have built their own temples in Kushinagar, for example, the Wat Thai Temple is dedicated to Buddha, but the architecture style is typical Thai and very distinct from the Indian style. The Chinese Temple is also dedicated to Lord Buddha, but the architectural style is distinctively Chinese. The Indo-Japanese temple flaunts an interesting blend of two unique architectural styles. Apart from the Buddhist landmarks, Kushinagar also houses the famous Sun Temple which was originally built during the Gupta period.
Rest time free and easy to relax and personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Kushinagar - Kesariya - Vaishali - Patna (260kms/ 5hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Patna enroute visit Kesariya Stupa & Vaishali.
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. The Kesaria Stupa was 123 feet tall before the 1934 earthquake in Bihar. In the halcyon days when Buddhism thrived in India, the Kesaria Stupa was 150 feet and Borobodur stupa 138 feet tall according to A.S.I. report. At present the height of Kesaria is reduced to 104 feet and Borobodur in Java to 103 feet. The height of Sanchi Stupa is 77.50 feet, almost half of Kesaria stupa.
Further drive to visit Vaishali a city of great importance in Buddhist history. Among other significant events, the Buddha admitted women into the monastic order at the Kutagarasala Vihara and delivered the famous Jewel Discourse (Ratana Sutta) to purge the city when faced with a devastating drought, famine, and plague. Visit The Ashoka pillar, King Ashoka became a great follower of Buddhism after the massacre of Kalinga and erected one his famous Ashokan pillar in Vaishali which was 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. Just next to Vishwa Shanti Stupa is Abhishek Pushkarni known as coronation tank and the sacred waters of this tank were used for anointing the elected representatives before their pledge, at the time of Lichchavis. And as you amble around you will find a museum on the north bank which houses the artifacts found during excavation, dividing them into four galleries, one is terracotta items of Human figures, another gallery has terracotta items of animal figures with wheels, cast coins etc. The third gallery exhibits antles, bones and iron and copper commodities. And the fourth gallery houses earthen wares.
Continue drive to Patna check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Patna - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya (180km/ 4hr approx)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Bodhgaya via visiting Nalanda & Rajgir.
Nalanda established in the 5th century CE was an ancient Mahavihara, a revered Buddhist monastery which also served as a renowned centre 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 travelling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. Archaeological evidence also notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex. Later, the acclaimed Buddhist monastic university thrived here until its destruction by invaders at the end of the 12th century.
Rajgir set in a green valley and surrounded by rocky hills, Rajgir is 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.
After sightseeing continue drive to Bodhgaya check in at hotel. Evening attend Sutta chanting at Mahabodhi Temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Bodhgaya - Departure (Flight)
Breakfast at 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 or throne, where Buddha sat. Also visit 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.
After sightseeing transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Garland welcome and assistance on arrival at airport
5 Nights accommodation in offered hotels or similar (standard room)
Daily breakfast at hotel in each package price
Deluxe Air-conditioned private vehicle with English speaking driver.
Monuments Entrances of sightseeing places mentioned in the itinerary (almost all places of tourist interest are included in our itinerary)
Cycle rickshaw ride in Varanasi
Sunrise / sunset Boat ride on holy River Ganges in Varanasi
English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide in each city).
Applicable GST (government taxes).
Hotels used or similar for 5 nights accommodation
Varanasi x 2 nights
3* - Meraden Grand/ Amaya Hotel
4* - Rivatas by Ideal/ Palace On Ganges
5* - Radisson Hotel/ Gateway Hotel Taj
Kushinagar x 1 nights
3* - Hotel The Ideal/ Hotel Adelphi Grande
4* & 5* - The Royal Residency/ Lotus Nikko Hotel
Patna x 1 night
3* - Hotel Patliputra Ashok/ Patliputra Exotica
4* - Lemon Tree Premier/ Hotel Gargee Grand
5* - Maurya Hotel/ The Panache
Bodhgaya x 1 night
3* - Hotel Taj Darbar/ Hotel Mahamaya
4* & 5* - The Royal Residency/ Lotus Nikko Hotel
Any flight ticket
Camera charges at monuments
Main Meals, Lunch or dinner unless mentioned
Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
Or anything not mentioned above.