Arrive at Gaya airport and transfer to the hotel in Bodhgaya. In the afternoon proceed to visit The Mahabodhi Temple to offer prayers.
This temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries and cultures – architectures of the Gupta and later ages, and inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and China are some examples.
The highlights of the temple include tall stone lotuses, figures of Buddha sitting in different postures on the walls, his footprints on stone, and a colossal golden Buddha in the sanctum sanctorum. The Bodhi Tree is situated inside the temple premises, under which Buddha attained illumination.
White, green, and red flags, tied onto the tree, form a canopy over seven sacred shrines, which symbolize the seven weeks that Buddha spent here. Also visit Shaivite Monastery, near the Mahabodhi Temple and the Archaeological Museum. Overnight stay at Bodhgaya.
After breakfast, today you will drive to Patna via Rajgir and Nalanda. Both sites hold great significance in the Buddhism circuit. Nalanda was one of the World’s great Universities and most important Buddhist centers founded in the 5th Century AD.
During its peak in the 7th century AD, Nalanda was home to over 10,000 monks and scholars. Visit the Great Stupa built on Shariputra’s relics, extensive monastic ruins and the Archaeological Museum housing finds from Nalanda and Rajgir.
Rajgir, meaning ‘Home of Royalty’ is a hillside city located in a lush green valley surrounded by rocky hills dotted with temples, shrines, and ancient caves. It used to be the capital of the Magadha Empire during the time of the Buddha. Rajgir is an important site of pilgrimage where the Buddha delivered several famous teachings.
It is also the site of the First Buddhist Council which convened the year following Buddha’s death. This city is also an important place for Jains, as the Mahavira spent time here and the hills are topped with Digambara shrines.
At Rajgir, visit the Bamboo Grove which was the site of the Buddha’s first monastery. Spend time on Gridhakuta mountain (the Vulture Peak) which Buddha was especially fond of.
Thereafter visit Jivaka’s Mango Grove (Jivaka was the Buddha’s physician), the jail where King Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son, and Satadhara (seven hot springs) where it is said the Buddha came to relieve his bodily pains. Overnight in Patna.
After Breakfast, proceed to Kushinagar en route to visit Vaishali. Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
In the afternoon, visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple, dedicated to the final days of the Buddha, today it stands as a serene memorial and a site of quiet contemplation. This site is home to a magnificent 18-foot reclining Buddha, built of stone in the 5th century AD.
Explore the temple and its reclining Buddha statue, as well as various stupas that have been erected by Buddhists from throughout the world.
At the end proceed for a circumambulation of Buddha’s cremation site. Also, visit Rambhar Stupa (the cremation site of Lord Buddha). En-route visit Vaishali, the capital of the erstwhile Lichhavi Republic.
Vaishali was the capital of the Lichhavi Republic which was one of the earliest Republics in the world (6th century BC). This is also the place where the Buddha ordained his stepmother as the first nun and where monkeys miraculously offered the Buddha honey.
One can observe an intact Ashokan Pillar dating back to the 3rd century BC at this place. After getting over the sightseeing of Vaishali, continue driving to Kushinagar. Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel. Overnight at Kushinagar.
After breakfast drive to Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal.
It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 623 BC. He achieved nirvana sometime around 543 BC, became Gautama Buddha, and founded Buddhism after achieving enlightenment.
Lumbini is one of the four main pilgrimage sites of Buddhism, along with Kushinagar, Bodhgaya, and Sarnath. Lumbini is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On arrival, transfer to the hotel. In the Afternoon, proceed sightseeing of Lumbini visiting the Sacred Garden; the Temple of Maya Devi (Lord Buddha’s mother), and the tank where the young Prince Siddhartha is said to have been bathed 2,500 years ago.
Also visit some of the temples built by Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, each with its own distinctive style.
Overnight stay at Lumbini.
After breakfast leave for Sravasti, en route visiting Kapilavastu – the childhood home of Gautam Buddha Sravasti was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom and has the honor of sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens.
After freshening up enjoy a guided visit to Saheth, Maheth, and Angulimal’s Cave. Maheth is identified with the remains of the city covering an area of about 400 acres.
Excavations have exposed the massive gates of the city, ramparts, and also the ruins of the structures which stand testimony to the prosperity of the ancient Sravasti.
Saheth is known primarily as the site of the Jetvana Monastery covering an area of about 32 acres, lying about half a kilometer southwest of Maheth, it has become an important place of pilgrimage adorned with numerous shrines, stupas, and monasteries. Visit the stupa of the dreaded terrorist Angulimala, who was converted over by Lord Buddha.
Sit at the site of the Buddha’s hut and trace his steps on the walking meditation path. We’ll also spend time in the beautiful Jeta Grove, where the Buddha gave some of his most important teachings. Among these was the Anapanasati sutra on the full awareness of breathing. Overnight stay at Sravasti.
After breakfast drive to Varanasi – one of the oldest living cities in the world.
Varanasi, the ‘City of Light’ is one of the oldest living cities in the world. It is one of the holiest places in India as Hindus consider it to be the most auspicious place to die and be cremated.
The old city of Varanasi where spirituality and commerce mingle is a maze of narrow streets shared by pilgrims, locals, cows, and sadhus (holy men).
Ghats along the river teem with people offering prayers. Varanasi has been a center of learning and civilization for more than 2,000 years.
It is a holy city dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the evening proceed to witness the evening aarti at Dasashwamedha Ghat on River Ganges.
Overnight stay at Varanasi.
Enjoy the early morning boat ride at River Ganges to view the sunrise.
After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of Sarnath. Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment.
Visit Dhamekh Stupa – one of the most visited and revered Buddhist shrines in the world. Also, visit Sarnath Museum. Now continue driving to Bodhgaya. Upon arrival, Check in at the hotel.
Overnight stay at Bodh Gaya.
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and board the International flight to fly back home with unforgettable moments.