Day 01:- Arrive Delhi.
On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Delhi was the capital of Indraprastha and capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. This magnificent city has been inhabited from the 6th century BC and has been a capital of many kingdoms. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times and is called the "city of cities". Delhi's culture has been influenced by its different rulers and the city is full of beautiful monuments. The Mughal rulers influenced the food habits of the residents and Mughlai cuisine originated here. Due to the proximity of different states, all festivals are celebrated here. Old Delhi is a maze of small lanes lined and old buildings and New Delhi has large road with huge buildings. Delhi is the capital of India and is the hub for politics.
Your morning tour starts with Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD. You will visit the Raj Ghat where father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You will be visiting the museum that was built to commemorate him. You will be driven past the iconic Red Fort and Chandni Chowk, a very popular and a busy market in Old Delhi to the next stop - Jama Masjid, one of the iconic, historic and largest mosques in India - built by Shah Jahan. A rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk could be quite interesting as this part of the city is quite crowded as it is full of shops. These numerous shops sell delicious mouth-watering food, clothes, jewels, household, etc. and are virtually a shopper's paradise.
In the afternoon, you will visit Qutub Minar, touted as India’s largest Minaret. Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1192 by Turk ruler Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. You will then move forward to Humayun’s tomb, yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldier. You will be driven past the Parliament House, President’s House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your final destination will be at Lakshminarayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight is in Delhi.
Day 03:- Fly Delhi to Patna and drive to Patna to Rajgir to Nalanda to Bodhgaya (251 kms).
Today you will be transferred to airport in time for your Patna flight. One arrival in Patna, you will drive directly to Nalanda and Rajgir. Nalanda an ancient centre for studies thrived from the 5th century AD to the late 12th century AD and attracted thousands of scholars from all over India as well as from far away countries. Nalanda was the world's first residential universities accommodating over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. Bakhtiyar Khilji with his Muslim army destroyed this and burnt the library. The number of books was so huge that they burnt for months. Huen Tsiang, the famous Chinese traveler has left glowing account of the activities of this great seat of learning. There is an array of monasteries and temples and museum with collection of antiquities recovered from the site.
Rajgir earlier known as Rajgrih means the House of the King. This was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha and goes back to more than 1000 BC. Rajgir is sacred to both the Buddhists and Jains. This is where Gautama Buddha held the "Atanatiya" conference at the Gridhra-kuta. Lord Mahavir spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda. Rajgir is also sacred to Hindus due to its hot water springs, known as Brahmakund. The important places here are the Bimbisar's Jail, the Ajatshatru's Fort, the Jarasandh's Akhara and Rajgir Heritage Museum. Later you will drive to Bodhgaya. Overnight is in Bodhgaya.
Day 04:- Bodhgaya to Varanasi by road (255 kms).
This morning is for visiting Bodhgaya which is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists due to the Mahabodhi Temple. Gautama Buddha attained enlightment on a Buddha Purnima under the Bodhi Tree in this place. Bodhgaya was earlier known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana and Mahabodhi. Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya 250 years after the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha and built the original Mahabodhi Temple. People from different countries like China, Japan, Srilanka, Thailand, etc have constructed many Buddhist monasteries and temples in this town. After the tour you will drive to Varanasi. Overnight is in Varanasi.
Day 05:- Varanasi.
Varanasi also called Benaras or Banaras or Kashi is said to be the oldest living city in the world, dating back to 5000 years. It has been the cultural and spiritual capital of North India for years. The belief of Hindus is that death in Varanasi leads to salvation. Varanasi is also known as the holy city of India or the city of temples, or the city of learning and also as the oldest living city on earth. This morning, you will be taken to the River Ganges for a boat ride. Two of most renowned ghats Manikarnika and Harishchandra are frequented by hundreds of devotees. These two ghats are quite famous not only for taking a holy dip, but also for cremation purposes. It is strongly believed by Hindus that whoever dies in Varanasi and gets cremated on bank of river Ganga achieves salvation, thereby releasing him form this birth cycle. You may witness numerous funeral pyres burning around in these ghats.
Your afternoon will be for visiting Sarnath. Sarnath is a deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Singhpur, a village one km away from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyansanath, the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism, and a temple dedicated to him, is an important pilgrimage site. This is one of the four places of pilgrimage which every Buddhist should visit. It was also the site of the Buddha's Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which was his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the four noble truths and the teachings associated with it. Visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple and the Museum (closed on Fridays). Overnight is in Varanasi.
Day 06:- Varanasi to Kushinagar by road (224 kms).
Today morning you will drive to Kushinagar. The afternoon is for visiting Kushinagar. Kushinagar or Kusinagar or Kusinara is the one of the four most important pilgrimage sites for the Buddhists. It is here that Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after falling ill from eating a meal made of a species of mushroom. A large number of ruined stupas and Viharas here date back to 3rd century BCE - 5th century CE. Emperor Ashoka has contributed to a significant construction at this site. The remains of the Par nirvana Stupa and Par nirvana Temple, when rediscovered, were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest. Overnight is in Kushinagar.
Day 07:- Kushinagar to Lumbini (151 kms)
This morning you will drive to Lumbini the place where the Buddha, known as the Tathagata* was born. Lumbini a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the holiest places for Buddhists as this is the birth place of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is separated into an eastern zone having the Theravadin monasteries and the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries. Lumbini has a number of ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, an Asoka pillar and the Mayadevi temple where Buddha was born. As Hindus regard Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, a large number of Hindu pilgrims come here to worship Maya Devi as Rupa Devi, the mother goddess of Lumbini. Overnight is in Lumbini.
Day 08:- Lumbini to Bhairahawa by road (68 kms) & fly to Kathmandu.
This morning you will be visiting Lumbini. Later you will be transferred to Bhairahawa airport in time for your Kathmandu flight. On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. Kathmandu is the largest metropolis and capital city of Nepal. This city has indeed a lot to offer to its guests including a number of exotic attractions carrying full of historical importance as well as religious significance. Kathmandu has a rich history, spanning nearly 2000 years and has many religious and cultural festivities taking place here. Most of Nepalese follow Hinduism and Buddhism. Overnight is in Kathmandu.
Day 09:- Kathmandu.
This morning you will be visiting Kathmandu & Swaymbhunath. Your tour starts with Durbar Square, the heart of Kathmandu, built between 12th to 18th centuries. This site displays brilliant architectural structures and comprises within itself numerous fortresses, temples, religious shrines, figurines, fountains, etc. Various striking structures built inside this square interestingly display a perfect amalgamation of ancient as well as modern style of architecture through its finely carved figurines and other stone engravings. Stone made lions stand on palace entrance, along with ancient inscriptions engraved on stone walls in various languages. Later you are taken to the renowned Mahadev and Parvati Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Next destination is Hanuman Dhoka, built by ancient monarchs, comprising of numerous palaces, shrines, etc. and spread across about 5 acres of land area with its courtyards built around middle years of 16th century. During the rule of King Pratap Malla in 17th century numerous sacred temples were installed, dedicated to various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Other developments were made by Narayan Shah and the royal family which stayed here till later years of 19th century. Afternoon is free for visiting the various other monuments or excursion to the nearby-by places of interest.
Swayambhunath also known as the Monkey Temple due to monkeys in the temple complex is one of the most sacred places for the Buddhists. Swayambhunath the oldest religious site in Nepal dates back to the 5th century CE. Swayambhu means "Self-Created." As per the Swayambhu Purana the valley was filled with a lake in which grew a lotus. The complex consists of a stupa, a number of shrines and temples, dating back to the Licchavi period. The stupa is famous as it has Buddha's eyes and eyebrows painted on it seeming to look at all the four directions. Early morning before dawn hundreds of Buddhist and devotees begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa.
Your afternoon is for visiting Bhadgaon & Pashupatinath. Bhadgaon a UNESCO World Heritage Site also known as Bhaktapur or Khwopa is an ancient Newar town and was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom. Bhadgaon was in the trade route of India and Tibet and is popular for mask dances of various gods and goddesses. It is the home of traditional art, craft works, pottery, temples, ponds, architecture, monuments, local customs, culture, religion and festivals. You will be visiting the Durbar Square, The Lion Gate, The Golden Gate, etc.
Pashupatinath Temple the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important Hindu temples of Shiva in the world. Only born Hindus were allowed to enter the temple and others could look at it from other side of the river. Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. The pagoda houses the sacred linga. The temple is of the Nepalese pagoda style of architecture. The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. Overnight is in Kathmandu.
Day 10:- Departure.
Today morning you will be visiting Patan & Boudhanath. Patan also known as Lalitpur is a large town across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu. Patan is famous for its handicrafts, statues, masks and jewelry. The places of interest in Patan are the Durbar Square, The Museum, Ashok Stupa and the various temples some of the which are - Degutale temple, Krishna temple, Shankar Narayan temple, Vishnu temples, Vishwanath temple, Bhimsen temple, Mahaboudha Temple, Machchhendranath temple, Golden Temple and Kumbheshwar Temple. Boudhanath a UNESCO World Heritage Site has one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world from the 5th century AD and is surrounded by many Tibetan Gompas.
Later you will be visiting Bodhnath also known as Boudhanath or Boudha, or Baudhanath or the Khasa Caitya. This is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the temple of Bodhnath, the colossal 2500 years old Stupa, one of the largest in the world. This Stupa has the all seeing-eyes of the Buddha by king Mana Deva in expiation of his sins of the advice inset with prayer wheels. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet. Later you will be transferred to airport to board flight for your onwards journey. End of our India Nepal Buddhist holiday package.