Siddhartha Gautama was an ancient Indian prince who was pained to see the sufferings of people around him. He left his home and family in the search for truth, and after several years of rigorous monastic living, he reached enlightenment under a bodhi tree in present day Bihar, a state in east India. He birthed the philosophy of Buddhism, which today has flourished into a philosophy of peace, compassion and happiness.
On this specially designed tour, we will take you across the most important places associated with the Buddha’s search for, realisation of and teachings of truth. We will journey across his birthplace of Lumbini, enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, first sermon at Sarnath and death at Kushinagar. We will also visit Sravasti where we spent 24 years in his search for the truth.
If you like this itinerary and want us to design a tailor-made Buddhist pilgrimage for you or a group, contact us today.
Delhi – Lucknow – Sravasti – Lumbini Via Kapilavastu – Kushinagar – Patna – Vaishali – Bodhgaya via Nalanda and Rajgir – Varanasi – Delhi
Day 01 – ARRIVE IN DELHI
Today, you will arrive in the capital of India. We will meet you at the airport to welcome you in traditional Indian style and take you to the hotel. You can spend your afternoon relaxing or you can venture out to discover Delhi – a culmination of centuries of diverse rulers, immigration and cultural diversity. In the afternoon we will visit the Tibetan community in the north of the city called Majnu Ka Tila, which is dotted with Buddhist monasteries, temples, and Tibetan shops. Overnight and dinner in hotel.
Day 02 – DELHI
Delhi is the cultural centre of the country, a melting pot of diverse religions and heritage. Today we will spend the day discovering some of the city’s iconic monuments including the Sikh Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the Qutab Minar (the tallest brick minaret in the world), Jama Masjid (one of the largest mosques in India), and the Baha’i Lotus Temple – made of pure white marble, the Lotus symbol is common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Overnight in hotel.
Day 03 – TO LUCKNOW
After breakfast in the morning, you will be transferred to the New Delhi railway station to board a train to Lucknow. Dotted with buildings from the British era and two beautiful mausoleums, Lucknow has a rich heritage of performing arts and cuisines. Upon reaching, you will be transferred to the hotel. Later in the day, we will venture out to explore the old market of Lucknow.
Day 04 – LUCKNOW
Today we will embark on a full day of sightseeing. In the morning, we will visit the British Residency, site of the famous siege of 1857, Dilkusha Gardens (expansive gardens with the remains of an 18th century house built in the English baroque style) and La Martiniere. In the afternoon, we will visit the monuments of the Avadh Nawabs, he rulers who governed the state of Oudh or Awadh during the 18th and 19th centuries. These include Imambaras, Romi Darwaja and Lucknow’s colourful bazaars. Overnight and dinner at hotel.
Day 05 – TO SRAVASTI
In the morning, we will drive to Sravasti (approximately 5 hrs driving time) and check into the hotel. Sravasti was a city in ancient India and is an important site for Buddhist pilgrimages. It is here that Buddha and his disciples spent about 24 years living a monastic life. The city is dotted with age-old stupas, monasteries and many temples. You will visit the Ananda Bodhi tree where the Buddha meditated and the Jetavana monastery where he presented the majority of his teachings. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06 – TO LUMBINI
After breakfast, we will make the sacred visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be known as the Buddha. You will check into the hotel in Lumbini. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini is abundant with temples, monuments, monasteries and a museum. We will visit the Mayadevi temple, which is devoted to the Buddha’s mother, and several ancient ruins and modern temples built by all the Buddhist nations of the world. Overnight in Lumbini.
Day 07 – TO KUSHINAGAR
In the morning, we will leave for Kushinagar (4 hours driving time) and check into the hotel. In Kushinagar, we will visit ancient stupas, modern temples, and the stunning reclining Buddha statue commemorating the Buddha’s death and cremation. Overnight in hotel in Kushinagar.
Day 08 – TO PATNA VIA VAISHALI
We will continue our Buddhist pilgrimage by driving to Patna, stopping en route at Vaishali where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon. Excavations carried out in Vaishali uncovered ancient brick stupas, with a casket containing part of the Buddha’s ashes. Also visit the 3rd century pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka to mark the site of the Buddha’s last sermon. Overnight in Patna.
Day 09 – TO BODHGAYA VIA NALANDA AND RAJGIR
After breakfast, we will drive to Bodhgaya stopping en route at Nalanda, the Buddhist University founded in the 5th century B.C. We will visit the archaeological museum that houses relics and remains found on the site. Later, we will drive a short distance to Rajgir, stopping at Griddhkuta ‘Hill of Vultures’, where the Buddha delivered some of his most famous sermons. We will finally drive to Bodh Gaya and check into a hotel.
Day 10 – BODH GAYA
Bodh Gaya is the birthplace of Buddhism. It is here that Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree and became Buddha. Even though this diminutive town attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world every year, it retains a serene ambience. The most scared spot is a bodhi tree, which flourishes inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, amid a beautiful garden. Overnight in hotel in Bodh Gaya.
Day 11 – TO VARANASI
Today you will wake up feeling blessed, as you are in the same place where the Buddha awakened to the truth. After an early breakfast, you will catch a train to one of the most scared towns for Hindus, Varanasi. Transfer to the hotel and rest for a while. In the evening, you will experience the overwhelming and intoxicating ritual of the evening prayers by the banks of the revered Ganges River, a lifeline of India. Overnight in hotel in Varanasi.
Day 12 – VARANASI
Today you will get up early for a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. In stark contrast to the brimming evening, the quietude of the morning is humbling. You will see devotees taking holy dips in the river and praying to the rising sun.
In the afternoon, we will take a short drive out to Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment. Overnight in hotel in Varanasi.
Day 13 – TO DELHI
You will spend your morning exploring the atmospheric ancient city of Varanasi, before transferring in the afternoon to board your flight to Delhi. Transfer to hotel and overnight in Delhi.
Day 14 – INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
Transfer to the Delhi International Airport to board the flight back home.
Best time to visit: The best time for this journey is between October and March as north India enjoys pleasant weather ideal for traveling.
Duration: 14 days
Themes: Spirituality and Religion, Buddhism, Culture, Heritage, Art and Architecture.
Regions you will discover: Delhi
Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow, Sravasti, Kushinagar, and Varanasi), Bihar (Patna, Vaishali and Bodh Gaya), Nepal (Lumbini)
Transport within India:
Private air-conditioned chauffeur-driven car
First class category passenger train
Price: Available on request for relevant travel month
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