Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour With Taj Mahal
Days 01 : Arrive Delhi
Arrive Delhi. Meet and assistance by NTP India Tourism representative who will assist you to the hotel.
Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds the ancient with modern. Its strategic location was the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. In fact, more mythological cities are believed to be here, like the city of Indraprastha from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, founded around 5000 BC. Numerous monuments were built over several centuries by different rulers like Qutub-ud-din Aibek, AlauddinKhilji, Tughlaks, Humayun& Shah Jahan, who built the Walled City of Shah Jahanabad.
Later in first half of 20th century much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British rule in India. The division in walled city & New Delhi also marks the division in life styles.
Overnight stay in Delhi.
Days 02 : Delhi
Morning after breakfast take a tour of Old Delhi, the 17th century walled city of Shah Jahanabad. Visit the great Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in the year 1656 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest & best known mosque in India. Later walk down through Chandi Chowk, the old marketplace of Shah Jahanabad now a picturesque bazaar to reach Red Fort, built in the year 1648 by Shah Jehan.
In New Delhi, visit Raj Ghat, memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. Further we drive past India Gate, memorial built in the year 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I & the Afghan Wars. The names of the soldiers who died in these wars are inscribed on the walls. President’s House, the official residence of the President of India, built in the year 1931. Until 1950 it was known as Viceroy’s House & served as the residence of the Governor-General of British India. visitHumayun’s Tomb, memorial of Mughal Emperor Humayun, built in the year 1562. The complex is a World Heritage Site & the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India. Also visit QutubMinar built in the year 1206 by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. It is the tallest (72m) brick minaret in the world, an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture.
QutubMinar& its monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight stay in Delhi.
Days 03 : Delhi – Jaipur (265 km – 5hr)
Morning after breakfast drive to Jaipur, popularly known as Pink City, the flamboyant & colourful capital of Rajasthan. With its rich & colourful past, resplendent with tales of valour & bravery, it is now one of the most important heritage cities in India. The city was founded in the year 1728 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. It remains the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors. Upon arrival check in at hotel. Evening free in Jaipur.
Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Days 04 : Jaipur
Morning after breakfast excursion to Amber Fort, the palace complex which stands to this date was commenced under the reign of Raja Man Singh. Take an Elephant ride to reach the Fort situated on the hill, an overwhelming experience.
Later visit the City Palace, a perfect blend of Rajasthani& Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine views over the gardens & the city. Further we visit JantarMantar (Solar Observatory), an astronomical treasure house, with solar devices that give accurate predictions till date. We also visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), a five-storied structure of pink sandstone. It was built in the year 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down the busy street market unseen by the world through its 593 stone Jharokas.
Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Days 05 : Jaipur – Agra via FatehpurSikri (235 km 5 hr)
After breakfast drive to Agra, en route visit FatehpurSikri (Ghost Capital), the political capital of India’s Mughal Empire under Akbar’s reign, from the year 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned, ostensibly due to lack of water. Visit Emperor Akbar’s Residential complex, Mosque & Tomb of Salim Chisti.
Further drive to Agra, beautifully situated on the banks of river Yamuna. It achieved prominence as the capital of the Mughals Emperors from the year 1526 to 1628, remains major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era monuments, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri, all three are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Upon arrival at Agra, check-in at hotel.
Overnight stay in Agra
Days 06 : Agra / Varanasi by Overnight train
Train Details: Magadh Express 2402 Departure :2330 Hrs Arrival : 0740 hrs
At morning, witness one of most beautiful among the Seven Wonders of the World: Taj Mahal with its speculative view at the time of sunrise. Taj Mahal, the architectural modern day wonder of the world is a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles is one of the wonders of the modern world. Taj, endowed it with some of the loveliest buildings in the world.
Return to hotel for breakfast and visit Agra Fort, designed and built by Akbar in 1565 A.D. Built with barricaded wall of red sand stone, it houses the beautiful and numerous palaces including the Jahangir Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Am, MacchhiBhawan, Nagina Masjid, , Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal, Musamman Burj where from Taj Mahal is visible in all its beauty from one side of the fort. Emperor Sahahjahan, prisoner of his son Aurangzeb in his old age was put in a cell from where he could gaze at the Taj Mahal at a distance, from his cell in the fort. Also visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daullah built by Empress Noorjehan in memory of her father.
Later visits Sikandra Tomb. Akbar was the third emperor of the Mughal dynasty. Before his death in 1605 Akbar started building the magnificent edifice at Sikandra which was later completed by he son Jahangir. The tomb stands in a large walled garden which can only now be entered through a magnificent gateway
Later in the evening transfer to railway station to board train for Varanasi.
Night on Board Note:
Taj Mahal Closed on Friday
Days 07 : Arrival Varanasi at 0740 hrs by train
Arrive Varanasi. Meet and assistance by representative and later transfer to the hotel. Varanasi, also commonly known as Benares, is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest of India.
Later visit Sarnath. It is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Dhamek Stupa, MulagandhaKuti Vihar, Chaukhandi Stupa Overnight stay in Varanasi.
Days 08 : Varanasi – Sravasti ( 300 kms / 7- 8hrs drive)
Early morning excursion to Varansi for seeing the spectacular sunrise at holy river Ganges. Take a boat ride in the holly river and from boat you may witness the marvelous sun rising above the waters. At the same time you can see many people offering prayers in the water.
Days 09 : SravastiLumbini (225 kms / 5-6 hrs drive)
Morning after breakfast visit Sravasti where the Buddha preached most of his sermons. It is believed that Sravasti, also known as Sahet-Mahet, was founded by the legendary king Sravast. This place is important from Buddhism point of view because Lord Buddha performed a number of miracles here. It was in Sravasti that He displayed a million fold manifestation of himself. He was seated on a lotus (with thousand petals), with fire and water radiating from His body.
During the monsoon, Buddha used to stay at the Jetavana monastery on the outskirts of this town.
Visit Sahet Mahet and Angulimal caves.
Afternoon drive to Lumbini. Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, near the Indian border. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama.
Upon arrival check in at hotel. Overnight stay in Lumbini.
Days 10 : Lumbini Kushinagar (182 kms / 05 hrs drive)
Morning after breakfast visit Lumbini. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, The Ashokan Pillar, South of the Ashokan Pillar, there is the famous sacred pool â€˜Puskarniâ€™ believed to be the same sacred pool in which Maya Devi took a holy dip just before giving birth to the Lord and also where infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. And other ruins.
Later drive to Kushinagar. Kushinagar is named after the sacred death-place of Lord Buddha. At Kushinagar, Lord Buddha, an apostle of peace, compassion and non-violence, attained Mahaparinirvana (Salvation) in 483 BC.
Upon arrival check in at hotel and later visit the main site in Kushinagar. The two places most frequently visited in Kushinagar are the Mahaparinirvana Stupa, which is built on the place of Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana (Great Nirvana or passing away), and the place of his cremation, which is 1.6 km away. Close to the Mahaparinirvana Stupa is located a 1500 year old image of Buddha as he attained Parinirvana. The Mahaparinirvana Stupa is surrounded by ruins of ancient monasteries.
Overnight stay in Kushinagar.
Days 11 : Kushinagar – Vaishali Patna (approx. 256 kms and 07 hrs drive)
After breakfast drive to Patna en-route visiting Vaishali-The Buddha first visited Vaishali in the fifth year after his Enlightenment, and spent the rainy season here, It is the palace where Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermon and announced his Parinirvana. Visit Ananda Stupa, and Asokan pillar at Kolhua in Vaishali
Drive continue to Patna, Upon arrival check in at hotel. Overnight at Patna
Days 12 : Patna Rajgir/Nalanda Bodhgaya (182 km / 6 hrs )
Morning after breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Bodhgaya visiting Rajgir and Nalanda, Ragir – The city of Rajgir was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city.
Visit Rajgiri ,Rajgir pilgrimage is a very important Buddhist site since Lord Buddha spent 12 years over here and also preached two sermons. The first Buddhist Council, after the attainment of Nirvana by Buddha, was hosted over here in the Saptaparni caves. Buddha’s favorite retreat was at the Jivkamaravana monastery located amidst scenic thickets. Venuvana; a park presented to Buddha by king Bimbisara, who also built a vihara in it.
Later visit Griddhkuta Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Griddhkuta, (‘Hill of the Vultures’)
Further drive continues to Nalanda. Here you can visit the ruins of the oldest known university of the world. The excavations undertaken at the site have unearthed a huge complex of a University founded and patronized by the Gupta emperors.
Drive continues to Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and spiritual home of Buddhists. It attracts many believers from all over the world. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centers and in the second place of the four holy sites in Buddhism. Upon arrival check in at hotel.
Overnight stay in Bodhgaya.
Days 13 : Bodhgaya / New Delhi by train
Train Details: Calcutta Rajdhani 2301 Departure : 2239 Hrs, Arrival: 0955 hrs
Morning after breakfast, take a tour of Bodhgaya. As the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buddhists. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres since it was here that Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Later proceed for the sightseeing including MahabodhiTemple ,Sujata Village and Monasteries of different countryâ€™s around the city.Later in the evening transfer to Gaya railway station to board train for New Delhi.
Night on Board
Days 14 : Arrive Delhi / Departure to home country
Arrive Delhi from Gaya. Meet our representative at New Delhi railway station and further transfer to International airport to board flight for onward destination.
Other Buddhist Destinations in India
Arunachal Pradesh – Bomdila and Tawang
Sikkim – Kalimpong and Rumtek
Jammu & Kashmir – Ladakh, Harwan, Ambarani and Parihaspura
Himachal Pradesh – Spiti, Kinnaur and Dharamshala
Haryana – Stupa at Sugh, Yamunanagar and Asangh (Jind)
Madhya Pradesh – Sardarah, Sanchi and Murakott
Maharashtra – Karala, Ellora, Kanheri, Ajanta Caves, Pitalgora and Nasik Caves
West Bengal – Darjeeling and Kolkata (Indian Museum)
Andhra Pradesh – Amravati, Salihunda, Borrah Caves and Nagarjunkonda
Tour Duration: 13 Night / 14 Days
Destination: Kolkata – Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Patna – Vaisali – Sarnath – Kushinagar – Lumbini – Kapilvastu – Sravasti – Delhi