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Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour India

Duration : 06 Nights / 07 Days
Places covered : Delhi - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna - Delhi Departure.
Code : FVI- 030

Day 1: Arrival / New Delhi
Old Fort - Delhi Late night arrival, Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your van.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.
Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight : At The Connaught - a 4* Downtown Hotel

Day 2: Delhi / Varanasi (Shivganga Express - 182 / 7*)
After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun's Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 15 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-193) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

We cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old Delhi. The capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries, Old Delhi seems somewhat anachronistic as compared to New Delhi. It draws one through congested roads and lanes, interesting mosques, monuments and forts relating to its chequered history. Our tour includes visits to the Jamma Mosque (165) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi, on to the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

Vacation Review
"Kashi books you to the divinity it hold in it's aureole and meeting Buddha 's oldest oracle- the tree- at Bodhgaya is delightful. The 'pan' at Varanasi had a nostalgic scent and the 'Pandas' are best guide of the city."
» Katakana San, Japan

The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.

Later in the evening drive to the Delhi Railway station to board an overnight train to Varanasi.

Overnight : 1st Air-Conditioned Sleeper Accommodation

Day 3: Arrival / Varanasi
Varanasi GhatMeeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Hotel Clarks
Varanasi is quite possibly the world's oldest living city. Religious artifacts link it to the sixth century BC Said to be founded by Shiva, Varanasi's Vedic affiliation goes back to the beginning of time.

It is also a city of many names. The present name, Varanasi (derived from the names of two nearby rivers) is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The ancient name is Kashi, the City of Light. To the devout it is also called Kashika, the shining one, referring to the light of Shiva. Many others prefer the anglicized Benares. Revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jain alike, Varanasi is considered the holiest city in all of India. It is presided over by Shiva in his manifestation as Vishwanatha, Lord of the Universe. Buddha delivered a sermon in nearby Sarnath and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived in Varanasi. As a result, more Indians will make a pilgrimage to Varanasi in their lifetime than any other place.

After breakfast we proceed for the sightseeing tour. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.

The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.

This evening we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath .It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment. The highlight of this tour would be a participation in the evening prayer service (aarti) of the main Buddhist temple here - the synchronized chanting of himns to the accompaniment of traditional temple music is a sole stirring experience.

Overnight : At Hotel Clarks (Standard Room)

Day 4: Varanasi / Bodhgaya
At dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps-the ghats-that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city.

Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life's earthly confines.

We would dock our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here, The ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.
Later we drive to Bodhgaya. Upon arrival check into your Hotel Taj Darbur

Overnight : At Taj Darbur (Standard Room) (B)

Day 5: Bodhgaya
Full day touring of Bodhgaya.

One of the holiest of holy pilgrim places for the Buddhists of the world is Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya The Mahabodhi Temple built on the east of the sacred tree stands majestically 17 feet high on a base 5 feet square, and consists of a soaring pyramidal tower surmounted by a stupa. The Vajrasan or Diamond Throne lying between the Bodhi Tree and the temple marks the actual spot where Buddha sat in meditation and attained supreme knowledge. A gilded Buddha smiles upon the visitors from a niche in the wall of the temple, and his footsteps carved in stone hold flower offerings from the devout. Unbelievable peace pervades the atmosphere giving credence to legend

Besides the Mahabodhi temple, we would visit several Buddhist temples built by the followers of Buddhism from all over the world.

Overnight : At Taj Darbur (Standard Room) (B)

Day 6: Bodhgaya / Rajgir / Nalanda / Patna Patna / Delhi (Magadh Exp: 185/1145 hrs)
Bodhgaya Morning we drive to Patna en-route we visit Rajgir & Nalanda.

Rajgir is a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills. Here on Griddhakuta or Vultures Peak the Buddha set in motion his second Wheel of Law and for three months every year during the rainy season preached many inspiring sermons to his disciples. The Buddha Sangha of Japan have constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti (peace) stupa at the top of the hill in commemoration. The view from the top is breathtaking. One can climb up to the top along a bridle path. However, the aerial chairlift is far more exciting.

Twelve kilometres from Rajgir is Nalanda which was in Buddha's time a lovely resort of Saints and ascetics. Lord Buddha visited Nalanda several times and delivered some important sermons. It emerged as a university in the 5th century A.D. and remained the greatest seat of learning for 7 years. Great thinkers like Nagarjuna, the Mahayana Buddhist Philosopher. Dharmapala the Brahman scholar, Aryadeva, and Padmasambhava taught here. After sightseeing we drive to Patna Train Station in time to board overnight train for Delhi.

Overnight : 1st Air-conditioned Sleeper Accommodation

Day 7: Arrival / Delhi Delhi / Departure
Meeting and assistance on arrival in Delhi and transfer to the hotel, The Connaught where a day use room is booked for you.

Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities Delhi today is truly the melting pot of India, and the main gateway to one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Your Hotel in Delhi is a Downtown Hotel - The Connaught Place is the heart and pulse of New Delhi. This Hotel will give you an opportunity to view the busy streets and bazaars of the capital of India. In other words, you will 'feel' India. Late night transfer to the International airport in time to board flight back home.

End of Service
Thank You for Giving Us an Opportunity to Serve You!
Indicative Low Season Cost Based on 2 People Traveling Together: USD 767 Per Person

Accommodation on Twin Sharing Basis; Daily buffet breakfast basis; Transport in an air-conditioned private car; Services of Guides for Sightseeing tours; Train Travel in Second Air Condition Sleeper Coach

Qutub Minar
Red Fort
Varanasi Ghats
Bodhgaya Temple
Nalanda University
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