Following the footsteps of Buddha – LUMBINI (Birth), Bodh Gaya (Enlightenment), SARNATH (First Sermon), and KUSHINAGAR (Mahaparinirvana)

ITINERARY:

Day 1: Arrival in Bhairahawa. Evening visit to Lumbini Sacred Garden.

Welcome to Bhairahawa – the gateway to Lumbini. Our representative will be at the airport to welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. After you freshen up, you will be taken to Lumbini Sacred Garden where you will visit attractions like Mayadevi Temple – which bears the  Ashokan Pillar, Bodhi Tree and Pushakrini Pond, among others. You can see ruins of buildings built during Buddha’s lifetime.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Full Day Sightseeing of Kapilvastu and Moanstic Zone in Lumbini and leave for Bhairahawa.

Today, you will tour the Kapilvastu region where the Buddha is believed to have grown up and spent many years of his life till he denounced royal comfort and gave up princely life in search of enlightenment. We will first visit a site called Gotihawa which is believed to be the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha. You can see a broken Ashokan stupa, which confirms the place as the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha. You can also see remnants of a stupa now covered by a grassy mound.

Next destination on our list is Kudan which is believed to be the place where the Buddha was welcomed by his parents when he returned to the country following his enlightenment. He also accepted many members of Shakya clan to Buddhism in this very place.

Then we move on to Niglihawa which is believed to be the birthplace of Kanakumuni Buddha. Here also you can see a broken Ashokan pillar which confirms the place as the birthplace of Kanakmuni Buddha. After visiting sites like Twin Stupa and Sagarhawa, we return. In the evening, we visit monastic zone where we can see monasteries of countries like Cambodia, Vietnman, Thailand, Sri Lanka and China among others.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Sightseeing of Ramgram Stupa and drive to Kushinagar Town (India)

After breakfast, we drive to Ramgram Stupa in Nawalparasi. The stupa is believed to contain one of the eight relics of the Buddha. As per Buddhist literature, the relic of Buddha was divided into eight parts after his cremation and distributed to eight neighboring kingdoms. Though other seven relics were divided and distributed to many places by Ashoka, the relic at Ramgram remains untouched till date.

Then we move on to Nepal-India border at Sunauli. After completing customs formalities, we drive toward Kushinagar town where we stop for the night.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Visit Kesharia-Vaishali-Nalanda and Rajgir

After early breakfast, we drive toward our first destination Kesharia. Kesharia lies about 124 kilometers east of Kushinagar town. The main attraction here is the Kesharia stupa. It is believed to have been built by the Lichchhavi rulers of Vaishali to house an alm bowl that the Buddha gave to them. Kesharia is one of the largest stupas in India. From Kesharia, we resume our drive toward Vaishali. Vaishali lies at a distance of 110 kilometers from Kesharia. The main attraction here is a stupa and an Ashokan pillar with an Asiatic lion. It is believed that the Buddha used to visit this place frequently. It is also believed to be the place where the Buddha delivered his last sermon before he attained Mahaparinirvana. Also, it is believed to be the place where the Second Buddhist Council was convened in the 3rd century BC.

After lunch, we resume our drive toward Nalanda. Nalanda lies about 104 kilometers away from Vaishali. Nalanda is used to be one of the prominent learning centers between 5th and 12th centuries. Chinese traveler Xuanzang has written elaborated accounts about this place. The place is believed to have been destroyed by Muslim rulers of Delhi in the 13th century.

Then we continue our drive to Rajgir where we stop for the night.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 5: Visit Griddh Kut in the morning and leave for Bodh Gaya.

We check out from the hotel after breakfast and drive toward the Gridhkut hill. On the way, we will visit ruins of Bimbisar jail where King Bimbisar is believed to have been jailed by his son Ajatshatru for giving a bamboo grove to Buddha and his Sangha. Then we move on to Gridhkut aka Vulture Hill where Buddha is believed to have meditated and delivered sermons many times. Other Buddhist attractions in Rajgir are Venuvana and World Peace Stupa, among others.

Then we start driving toward Bodh Gaya. The journey takes around 4 hours.

In the evening, we will tour the Mahabodhi Temple premises. Mahabodhi Temple signifies the place where the Buddha is believed to have meditated and attained enlightenment. We can also see a Bodhi tree on the premises which is believed to be the descendant of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. One can see ruins of several ancient structures in the temple premises. We can see Buddhist followers meditating and chanting holy the sacred Buddhist texts on the main temple premises.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 6: Visit Dhungeshwari Cave, Sujata Stupa and Sujata Temple

We begin the day with a visit to Dhungeshwari Cave where the Buddha is believed to have practiced strict meditation. The main attraction here is the statue of a frail Buddha inside a cave. One can see pilgrims chanting sacred Buddhist texts and meditating. After visiting Dhungeshwari cave, we drive toward Sujata Stupa. The brick stupa is believed to have been  built in memory of Sujata, who is believed to have offered rice pudding to the Buddha, before he began his final meditation under a Bodhi tree and the present day Mahabodhi temple premises. Next, we move on to Sujata Temple where Sujata is believed to have offered rice pudding to the Buddha. Then we cross the Niranjana River where the Buddha is believed to have taken bathe before starting his last leg of mediation.

After lunch, we tour the Great Buddha Statue and other monasteries in the vicinity.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Drive to Sarnath and then to Varanasi

We begin the day with a drive to Sarnath – the place where Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. The main attraction here is Ashoka Pillar which signifies Sarnath as the place where the Buddha delivered his first sermon. The stupa originally was topped by four Asiatic lions facing four directions sitting on a Chakra. The Lion capital has now been preserved at Sarnath museum while the broken remains of the pillar can be seen near. Dhamek and Chaukhandi stupas are the other attractions here. Dhamek Stupa is believed to have been built in the place where the Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon. The present day stupa, which dates back to 5th century, is believed to have been built to replace an earlier structure built by Emperor Ashoka. The Chaukhandi Stupa is believed to be the place where the Buddha met his first disciples while traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath.

Then we drive to Varanasi. In the evening, we will enjoy the famous Ganga Aaarti on board a boat.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 8: Drive to Kushinagar

Kushinagar is the last leg in our Buddhist Circuits Tour that follows the footsteps of the Buddha. The town of Kushinagar lies about 230 kilometers north of Varanasi. It is the place where Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. The main attraction here is the statute of Reclining Buddha, which represents the last few days of the Buddha’s life and the Ramabhar Stupa which is believed to be the place where the Buddha was cremated. We also visit different monasteries built by countries like Myanmar and Thailand, among others.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 9: Drive back to Bhairahawa

After completing our Buddhist Circuits tour, following the footsteps of Buddha, we will drive toward Bhairahawa now. The drive takes about 4-5 hours only. The tour ends upon your arrival in Bhairahawa.