Buddhism came into being in north eastern India, during the period from the late 6th century to the early 4th century BC, a period of great social change and intense religious activity.
It was Siddhartha Gautama, born a prince 2,500 years ago in Lumbini, renounced his royal heritage, and as a young man, sat under a tree in Bodhgaya determined to find a way to transcend suffering. He recognized that all of the world's problems begin with a fundamental ignorance that causes beings to misunderstand the true nature of reality. Because of this, they engage in actions that lead to their own suffering and fail to recognize what leads to happiness. Highlights include: Lumbini, Buddhas' place of birth, Bodhgaya, where he gained enlightenment, Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon, Kushinagar, where he left his mortal body, Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
Arrival Delhi: Met on arrival by representative. Traditional welcome with garlanding and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Delhi / Jaipur (250 Kms - 05 hrs): After a morning at leisure we drive to Jaipur - the fabled "pink city" of the desert named after Jai Singh, the former Maharaja of Jaipur. The palaces and forts of the yester years, which were witnesses to the royal processions and splendors, are now living monuments. We arrive and check inn to the hotel.
This will be a cultural evening, we visit Chokhi Dhani - An ethnic village resort, the vitality of Rajasthani folk culture comes alive as children dance rhythmically to the loud tenor of folk songs sung by men and women, festooned in bright clothes. Gaily caparisoned camel, horses and bullock carts offer joy rides. A traditional Rajasthani dinner will be served. Overnight stay at the hotel.
In Jaipur: After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the hotel we leave for a half - day sightseeing stopping to view the elegant Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) - this elaborate building, now little more than a fašade, is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world.
We visit the Maharajah's City Palace, now partly a museum display a unique fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and house a rare collection of paintings, Rajput armoury and costumes. Later we visit the unique Jantar Mantar Observatory - situated in the heart of the city where time has been accurately measured since the 17th century. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Jaipur / Agra (250 Kms - 5 hrs): After a breakfast at the hotel we visit the dramatic hilltop fortress at Amber - ascend the imposing fort on a painted elephant. We wander among glittering inlays and the Hall of Mirrors.
Later we drive for five hours to the City of Taj, Agra enroute visiting the evocative city of Fatehpur Sikri - built by Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century, it is a veritable fairytale city built of red sandstone, and its "ruins" are in pristine condition.
Reach Agra by evening and check in to the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Agra / Varanasi (By Overnight Train): After having our breakfast we proceed for the city sightseeing tour visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal, which is entirely made of white marble and its walls are decorated with exquisite Pietra Dura (stone inlay) work.
Post lunch tour of the imposing Agra Fort - built of red sandstone and marble is a hilltop citadel with fabulous courtyards, fountains and gates.
Evening transfer to the Railway station to board Overnight Train to Varanasi.
In Varanasi: Arrive Varanasi in the morning and transfer to hotel visiting Sarnath enroute, an important Buddhist pilgrimage point. Afternoon we proceed for the city tour visiting various temples including The Vishwanath Temple, built by the Birlas, was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. The Bharat Mata Temple houses, instead of gods and goddesses, a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian subcontinent. The Tulsi Manas Temple, built in 1964, is dedicated to Lord Rama.
Evening view "Aarti" ceremony on the Ghats. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Varanasi / Bodhgaya (242 Kms - 06 hrs): Morning we take a Boat cruise at the river Ganges to observe the way of life of pilgrims by the Ghats and later we drive to Bodhgaya. Arrive Bodhgaya and check - in at hotel. Bodhgaya - most sacred place for Buddhists as it has a Peepul tree under which Gautama the Buddha attained enlightenment some 2500 years back. Overnight stay at the hotel.
In Bodhgaya: After enjoying our breakfast we embark on a sightseeing tour of Bodhgaya visiting Mahabodhi Temple - depicting the various phases of Buddha's journey towards enlightenment, showing different aspects of his life; Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum - houses a small collection of Buddhist sculpture from the 1st century B.C, to the 11th century A.D; Jagannath Temple close by has a four armed statue of Shiva in black stone. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Bodhgaya / Patna (109 Kms - 4.5 hrs): After breakfast drive to Patna, we arrive by lunch and check - in at hotel. Post lunch city tour visiting Har Mandir Sahib - also known as Patna Sahib consecrates the place where the 10th Guru of the Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh was born in 1776; Golghar - is a large dome-like structure from where one can have a fine view of the Ganga and the surroundings of the city; Patna Museum - has a rich collection of Mauryan and Buddhist sculptures, terracotta and other interesting items of the items. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Patna / Kushinagar (253 Kms - 06 hrs): Morning drive to Kushinagar, on arrival check - in at hotel. Later we visit the Rambhar Stupa - which marks Buddha's cremation ground. Our second stop is Mahaparinirvana temple - which houses the recumbent figure of Lord Buddha. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Kushinagar / Balrampur (216 Kms - 05 hrs): Morning drive to Balrampur. On arrival check - in at hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Balrampur / Lumbini (197 Kms - 4.5 hrs): Morning drive to Lumbini. Arrive Lumbini and check - in at hotel. Lumbini is the place where Buddha was born 2500 years ago.
Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Lumbini / Kathmandu (By flight): Half Day sightseeing of Lumbini and later at 1545 hrs. Transfer to airport to board flight for Kathmandu (Buddha Air Flight). Arrive Kathmandu at 1620 hrs and transfer to hotel. Kathmandu - surrounded by green hills and mountains with snow-capped peaks against its northern and eastern background the Valley is indeed beautiful. Overnight stay at the hotel.
In Kathmandu: After breakfast we embark on a city tour of Kathmandu visiting Pashupatinath Temple - the most sacred of the Hindu temples in Nepal dedicated to lord Shiva, built in 1696. We carry on the sightseeing tour of the Patan - a city of architecture and fine arts. Sometimes known as "Town with a Thousand Golden Roofs". Visit Tibetan Handicraft center at Jawalakhel to watch carpet weaving.
Post lunch Sightseeing tour of Swayambhunath - the oldest Buddhist shrine. Looking east from here, one can see the entire Kathmandu valley spread out below. A short drive will take you to Boudhanath - the worlds largest stupa; a sight of great reneration to the Buddhist. We continue to Kathmandu Durbar Square - the temple of the Living Goddess and the old Royal Palace. Finally, visit Kasthamandup - a temple built from a single tree from which the Kathmandu derives its name. Overnight at the hotel.
Kathmandu / Delhi (By Flight): Morning at leisure. Afternoon fly to Delhi, met on arrival by PCTI representative and leave for a small ride of New Delhi drive past India Gate, President's House, Parliament House, stop to explore the local markets. Later have your dinner and than transfer to the international airport to Board your homeward flight or connect to your onward destination.