Our Buddhism tours are a great option for more academic religious studies tours in India, as well as fascinating holidays for anyone with an interest in Buddhism and pilgrimage in India. 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 also explores many other places central to his life and teachings.
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 visit Majnu ka Tila, the Tibetan community in North Delhi with its Buddhist monasteries, temples, Tibetan cafes and shops. Overnight in hotel in Delhi.
As Delhi itself is not really an important centre for Buddhism, today we take the chance to experience some of India’s spiritual diversity with a religious tour of Delhi, visiting the Sikh Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the Qutub Minar, largest mosque in India, and the Baha’i Lotus Temple – made up of pure white marble, the Lotus symbol is common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Overnight in hotel in Delhi.
Morning transfer to New Delhi railway station to board Shatabadi Express train to Lucknow, leaving Delhi at 06:15 and arriving at Lucknow at 13:30. Transfer to hotel and later on explore the old market of Lucknow.
Morning visit the British Residency, site of the famous siege of 1857, Dilkusha Gardens and La Martiniere, and in the afternoon visit the monuments of Avadh Nawabs including the Imambaras, Romi Darwaja and Lucknow’s colourful bazaars. Overnight in hotel in Lucknow.
Early morning drive to Sravasti (approximately 5 hrs driving time) and check into hotel. In the afternoon visit Sravasti where the Buddha spent much of his monastic life, the Ananda Bodhi tree where he meditated, and the ruins of Jetavana monastery where he gave the majority of his teachings and discourses. Overnight in hotel in Sravasti.
After breakfast visit Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha and the site where the Ashok Pillar carries the inscription where the Buddha was born. Then visit Mayadevi temple devoted to the mother of the Buddha which houses a stone picture of giving birth through her side whilst leaning against a tree branch that had lowered itself to support her. Visit the ancient ruins and modern temples built by all the Buddhist nations of the world. Overnight in hotel in Lumbini.
Morning drive to Kushinagar (4 hours) and check into hotel. At Kushinagar visit ancient stupas, modern temples, and the spectacular reclining Buddha statue commemorating the Buddha’s death and cremation. Overnight in hotel in Kushinagar.
Continue your Buddhist tour of India with a morning drive to Patna, stopping en route at Vaishali where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon. The excavations carried out in Vaishali have brought to light Buddhist stupas built in brick with a casket containing part of the Buddha’s ashes. Also visit the 3rd century pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka to commemorate the site of the Buddha’s last sermon. Overnight in hotel in Patna.
After breakfast drive to Bodhgaya stopping en route at Nalanda, the Buddhist University founded in the 5th century B.C. Visit the archaeological museum which houses the Nalanda University seal, sculptures and other remains found on the site. Later drive 20km to Rajgir stopping at Griddhkuta “Hill of Vultures”, where the Buddha delivered some of his most famous sermons. Then drive 120km to Bodh Gaya and check into hotel.
Bodh Gaya is the place where the Buddha attained nirvana sitting under a bodhi tree 2500 years ago. Despite being the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world, it manages to retain a relatively peaceful atmosphere, perfect for reflection. There is a still the bodhi tree under which it is claimed the Buddha was sitting when he attained nirvana, and many surrounding temples built by all the Buddhist nations of the world. Overnight in hotel in Bodh Gaya.
No pilgrimage tour in India is complete without a good old fashioned Indian train journey. After early breakfast transfer to railway station to catch the train to Varanasi (07:05 and arrives Varanasi 11:15). Transfer to hotel, and in the evening attend the aarti prayer rituals at Sasumed Ghat on the banks of the 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.
Spend the morning exploring the atmospheric ancient city of Varanasi, before transferring in the afternoon to board the flight to Delhi. Transfer to hotel, and overnight in Delhi.
Morning transfer to International airport to board the flight to your home country. Any parts of our Buddhism tours can make a great extension to our yoga holidays in India.