In his last moments, it is said that the Buddha invited his followers to make pilgrimages to four sacred places – the locations of his birth at Lumbini, his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, his first sermon at Sarnath, and his death at Kushinagar. This Buddhist tour of India retraces the footsteps of the Buddha and explores many other places central to his life and teachings, and is perfect either a fascinating holiday for anyone interested in Buddhism, or as an academic religious studies tour in India.
Depart from your home country for Delhi.
We meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Spend the day relaxing, or venture out to explore Delhi – a melting pot of diverse Indian religions and cultures, and the perfect starting point to any religious and spiritual tour of India. In the afternoon we give you an orientation of Delhi, and you may like to visit Majnu ka Tila, the Tibetan community in North Delhi with its monasteries, temples, Tibetan cafes and shops. Overnight in hotel in Delhi.
Fly to Patna, ancient Buddhist capital of Pataliputra. Overnight in hotel, Patna
Today drive a short distance to Vaishali, a historic site for Buddhists as the location of the Buddha’s last sermon and Second Buddhist Council, and also for Jains as the birthplace of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. Notable sights include a stupa containing some relics of the Buddha, the monastery where he frequently stayed when in Vaishali, a coronation tank and the World Peace Pagoda. Overnight in hotel in Patna.
Drive to Rajgir, and take the cable car up “Vultures Peak”, the hill where the Buddha preached and the first Buddhist council was held after his death. On the way stop at the site of the ancient Buddhist university at Nalanda. Overnight at hotel, Rajgir.
Today continue your Buddhist tour of India with an afternoon drive to Bodh Gaya, the fascinating site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. Overnight at hotel in Bodh Gaya
Relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Bodh Gaya.
Today either drive or take the train to Varanasi, the ancient holy city on the banks of the river Ganges. Overnight in hotel in Varanasi.
Get up early for a sunrise boat ride on the river Ganges, and see the faithful perform their morning devotions towards the rising sun, amongst hundreds of temples and shrines. In the afternoon take a short drive out to Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment. Overnight in hotel in Varanasi.
In the afternoon take the train to Kushinagar, the ancient site of the Buddha’s death. Overnight in hotel at Kushinagar.
At Kushinagar visit ancient stupas, modern temples, and the spectacular reclining Buddha statue commemorating the Buddha’s death and cremation.
Today leave India and drive across the border to Lumbini in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha. Visit the ancient ruins and modern temples built by all the Buddhist nations of the world. Overnight at hotel in Lumbini.
Afternoon flight to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and check into hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is a true melting pot of Hinduism and Buddhism. Today visit the two ancient and magnificent stupas of Swayambunath (with its hundreds of resident monkeys) and Boudhanath. There is also time for shopping and exploring the city.Visit the village of Nagarkot, with stupendous views of the Himalaya and Kathmandu valley. Optional trek to 14th century World Heritage Site of Changu Narayan.