OUTLINE ITINERARYDETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Kathmandu

Day 02: Kathmandu

Day 03: Drive to Sravasti (approx. 255 km). O/N Hotel

Day 04: Sravasti – Kushinagar (approx. 300 km). O/N Hotel

Day 05: Kushinagar – Sarnath / Vanarasi (approx. 265 kms). O/N Hotel

Day 06: Varanasi – Bodhgaya (approx. 265 km) 4-5 hours drive.

Day 07: Bodhgaya: Extension Excursion to Rajgir & Nalanda.

Day 08: Depart Bodhgaya for International Journeys.

Day 01: Kathmandu
Arrive Kathmandu. Transfer to Hotel. Visit to Patan. Patan City is an enchanting melange of palace buildings, artistic courtyard and former Royal palace complex. One remarkable monument here is a 16th century temple dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna, built entirely of stone. Tibetan Refuge Camp is famous for its weaving carpet and other Tibetan art. The famous Kwa Baha also popularly called Golden Temple is situated in Patan. The vihara is known by several names such as Sri Bhaskaradeva Samskarita Hiranyavarna MahaVihara, Kwa Baha, Kwaba and Hiranyavarna MahaVihara. Kwa Baha is a Tibetan style monastery. The Mahabouddha Temple also known as Mahabodhi Mandap Vihara is one of the most well-known Buddhist sites of Patan. The temple architecture is said to be inspired by Bodh-Gaya temple structure in Bihar. The temple is a branch of Rudravarna MahaVihara (Ukubaha).

Day 02:Morning visit to Swayambhunath.

Swoyambhu is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for both Nepalese and Tibetans. It is one of the most ancient chaityas in Asia and a major symbol of Nepal’s Buddhist heritage. Swoyambhu represents the Primordial Buddha or Adi-Buddha. The hillock where Swoyambhu Chaitya is built is called by the names of Padmagiri, Vajrakuta, Gosringa, Gopuchha, Samhegu, and Simbhu and is enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vijeshwori Yogini temple is located on the banks of River Bishnumati, a few minutes walk from Swayambhunath. There is also a Buddhist monastery called Bilas Vihara. There are several votive chaityas in the courtyard of Vijeshwori. The Vijeshwori shrine is situated in the northeast corner of the complex. The main shrine is located on the second floor.

Afternoon sightseeing of Boudhanath. Bouddhanath is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage and old heritage sites in Nepal. It is said that this stupa contains the relics of Buddha Kashyapa. Almost 176 miniature stupas and paintings of Tibetan Buddhist pantheons cover the walls that surround the stupa at Bouddhanath. Newari style chaityas adorn the four gates of the stupa.

The Bouddhanath Stupa is believed to be the embodiment of Dharmakaya (Buddha mind) and hence an object of devotion for all Buddhists. The stupa built in traditional Nepalese architectural style consists of a raised plinth, a spherical dome, a cubical steeple and a spire of 13 discs. The plinth that consists of three terraces is believed to represent thirty-seven factors of enlightenment. The dome represents Tathagatagarbha (the Buddha nature) from which virtuous special qualities develop.

Bouddhanath Stupa is an important pilgrimage site for Tibetans. The stupa is mentioned in the Tibetan classical texts such as Biography of Yeshe Tshogyal (A.D. 8-9) and Padma Ka’thang (A.D.14). The Tibetan government had jurisdiction over the stupa from seventeenth century to the nineteenth century. Bouddhanath has numerous Tibetan monasteries. The area around Bouddhanath is even called the Vatican of Tibetans by some.

In afternoon, light lunch at Cafe and take a flight to Bhairahawa to continue to Lumbini. Rest of the afternoon sightseeing tour of sacred garden. Return to hotel for checking and night stay.

Lumbini
Sightseeing of Lumbini. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha situated in western Tarai of Nepal holds a special place in the Buddhist world. It is also mentioned in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta that the Buddha advised his followers to visit Lumbini. Emperor Ashoka of erstwhile Magadha Kingdom of India made a pilgrimage in 3rd century BC and erected a world famous pillar with inscription stating ”Here the Buddha was born”. Chinese pilgrims Tsen Tsai (4th Century A.D.), Fa-hsien (5th Century A.D.) and Hiuen-Tsang(7th Century A.D.) accounted their travel to Lumbini mentioning that they saw the holy tree, the pond, stupas and shrines. Hiuen Tsang described the Ashokan Pillar with a horse capital on the top of it. Temple of Maya Devi, mother of Lord Buddha has been recently renovated under the vigilance of UNESCO. Several foreign monasteries and stupas have been constructed in Lumbini. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Drive to Sravasti (approx. 255 km). O/N Hotel
Morning drive on the flat terai country on the low belts of the Himalaya to Sravasti. Saravasti, is the most commonly visited place. It is here that the Buddha is said to have performed great miracles. One story tells of how on throwing down the seed of a mango, a great mango tree instantly arose. Another story tells of how the Buddha stood in the air, the lower part of his body engulfed in flames, with five hundred jet of water streaming from the top of his body.

Saravasti was a garden of prince Jeta which was brought by Sunanda popularly known as Anathapindika. He built a beautiful 9 storey monastery for Lord Buddha which is known as Gandha Kuti. Today we can see remains of Gandha Kuti, Rahul Monastery, Ananda Monastery and all the remains. There is another archeological site known as Mahid. There are resident of Anathapindika and Angulimal.

Day 04: Sravasti – Kushinagar (approx. 300 km). O/N Hotel
Today we drive to Kushinagar following the town Basti & Gorakhpur. Lunch at hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of Kushinagar visiting the Mahaparinirvana Stupa & Ramabhare Stupa.

This is the place where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon and said, “All Things must Pass. Decay is inheritance in all things’”. Kushinagar was an important center under Mauryan King Ashoka, a great Buddhist follower. Ramabhare Stupa is the most important landmark of Kushinagar, the Stupa is said to have been built on the same spot where Lord Buddha was cremated in 543 BC.

Mahaparinirvana Temple is another attraction in Kushinagar with a huge statue of Lord Buddha in reclining position. Mathakuar shrine is the place where Lord Buddha had given his last sermon.

Day 05: Kushinagar – Sarnath / Vanarasi (approx. 265 kms). O/N Hotel
Morning proceed to Sarnath, our route passes through small hamlet rice fields, rivers & rivulets. It is where the Buddha turned the Wheel of Law. It was here, he taught the Four Noble Truth, Eight Fold Path & Depending Origin. The Buddha encouraged followers to avoid extremes of austerity or pleasure.

The site represents the remains of monasteries & Stupas dating from the 3rd century BC to the 5/6 century AD indicate a thriving monastic community.

Also it is believed that Buddha preached his first sermon in this spot where the Deers listened the Dharma Talks thus it is known as Deers Park. The most impressive remains is the Dhammeka Stupa, which was erected by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd Century BC. The place is represented by an Ashoka Pillar with inscriptions indicates the importance of the site. There is another Stupa named Panchawati, where Lord Buddha met his five Brahmins, with them Lord Buddha practiced meditation for 6 years. There are the remains of Monasteries indicating a big Monastic settlement.

Proceed to Varanasi for the night halt. Varanasi is India’s oldest city and one of the holiest, where age-old temples overlook the broad waters of the Ganges and where multitudes of devout Hindus come each year to wash away their sins in the sacred waters.

Hightlights of Vanarasi are Vishwanath temple, Banaras Hindu University, Dasomedha Ghat.

Those interested can take early morning boat ride to the Ganges for sunrise and to watch other religious activities performed by Holy Pundits along the Ganges river banks before they depart for Bodhgaya.

Day 06: Varanasi – Bodhgaya (approx. 265 km) 4-5 hours drive.
Interested people will take early morning boat ride to the Ganges for sunrise and to watch other religious activities performed by Holy Pundits along the Ganges river banks.

Leave for Bodhgaya passing through many towns & villages inhabited by rural populace. Today we are entering another State of India called Bihar at Sasaram village. Bodhgaya is the place where Siddhartha reached the state of Enlightenment commanly known as Buddhahood. Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buddhists of all over the world & attracts tens of thousands of believers. it is situated on the bank of the river Niranjana, one of the holiest river of the Buddha time.

Siddhartha attend the enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi Tree, which still stands in its original place. It was here Buddha spent 7 weeks meditating in & around 7 different spiritual spots. Across the river Niranjana, there is a village known as Sujata Kuti – the girl Sujata (daughter of a village head of Uruvela), who offered the pudding rice to Siddhartha before Enlightened. Bodhagaya represents the house of different Buddhists Monasteries belonging to different sects of Buddhism such as Therabada, Mahayana & Vajrayana. Therabada is practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos. Mahayana is popular in China, Japan, Korea & Vietnam. Vajrayana is followed in Tibet & Nepal.

Day 07: Bodhgaya

Extension Excursion to Rajgir & Nalanda.
Morning – Sightseeing to Rajgir, one of the most important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. It was an ancient capital of Magadha Kingdom ruled by Bhimbisara, who was a devotee of the Buddha. One can see in Rajgir the remains of Jibaka who was a personal physician of the Lord Buddha. The remains of Gridhakuta (the vultures beak) & King Bhimbisara’s jail are the important archaeological and historical monuments at the site.

Nalanda: We continue to Nalanda in the afternoon. Nalan means Lotus which is signified the supreme wisdom & Da means to give. Nalanda is a place which provides supreme wisdom. It was a center for Buddhist learning during the 5th to 11th centuries. Buddha passed many times through Nalanda on the way to Vaishali to Bodhgaya. Nalanda University had 22 thousand students and 17 hundred proffessors. The famous Chinese Scholor of 7th century Yuan Chwang (Huang Tsang) studied 6 years in this University. Package Lunch will be provided at Nalanda.

We will return to Bodhgaya in the afternoon. Rest of the afternoon is free for independent activities. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Depart Bodhgaya for International Journeys.

Transfer to airport for flight to onward journey by Thai International.

Bon Voyage. You have completed the original Buddha’s Path. May Buddha bless you with the Buddha Wisdom.