Golden Triangle with Buddhist Circuit

Golden Triangle with Buddhist Circuit

We have combined the tour of Golden Triangle with Buddhism. The doctrine or philosophy declared by the Buddha is known as Buddhism. It is not a religion or a system of faith or worship. Buddhism starts from the point of reasoning or understanding. It does not advocate any prescribed system of ritual and worship or supplication of deities or gods. It is distinguished and different from other systems of "religion." Indulge yourself in exploring the Buddhist Circuit.

More than two thousand years ago, a king gave up everything in search of enlightenment. From Prince Siddartha to Gautama Buddha. From human to divine. Buddhism is a religion followed in various parts of India and Nepal. Buddhist tour India is an enchanting experience which brings the followers near to the truths of life. Most of the selected destinations in this Buddhist tour are associated with the life of Lord Buddha. Buddhism is a way of finding peace within oneself. It is a religion that helps us to find the happiness and contentment we seek. Buddhists develop inner peace, kindness and wisdom through their daily practice; and then share their experience with others bringing real benefit to this world. They try not to harm others and to live peacefully and gently, working towards the ultimate goal of pure and lasting happiness for all living beings.

This Buddhist tour will take you to the journey of most famous Buddhist circuits of India along with the golden triangle tour of North India. Buddhist pilgrims and tourists while touring these Buddhist pilgrim sites of India and Nepal can explore the monasteries, temples and other heritage attractions. Among these Buddhist sites Lumbini is in Nepal and Bodhgaya is a place where lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Our Buddhist tour India is a blend of royal history of Rajasthan and Buddhist sites of India.

Day 01: Arrive Delhi

Arrive Delhi. On arrival, you will be greeted and assisted by our representative and transferred to the hotel.

DELHI It is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with crumbling havelis and formidable mosques. In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi created by the British Raj is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings. Delhi has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires for about a millennium. Many a times the city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt here. Interestingly, a number of Delhi's rulers played a dual role, first as destroyers and then as creators.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Delhi

After breakfast enjoy full day visit of Delhi including following:

Drive past the Red Fort The Red Fort, Shah Jahan's elegant citadel in red sandstone, was built on the western bank of the river Yamuna. Shahjahan, started the construction of this massive fort in 1638, when he shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi. The Red sandstone walls of the massive Red Fort rise 33-m above the clamor of Old Delhi as a reminder of the magnificent power and pomp of the Mughals. Inside is a veritable treasure trove of buildings, including the Drum House, the Hall of Public and Private Audiences, the Pearl Mosque, Royal Baths and Palace of Color. (It remains closed on Mondays).

Jama Masjid This great mosque of Old Delhi is the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. It was begun in 1644 and ended up being the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The highly decorative mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels.

India Gate At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triumph" like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516.

British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919. Under the arch, the Amar Jawan Jyoti commemorating Indian armed forces' losses in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.

Govt. Buildings New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of the British colonial architecture. Today we will drive past few of them, like The Parliament House, designed by Baker is 173m in diameter, the Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India. Designed by Lutyens, it combines western and eastern styles.

Raj Ghat Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. It is a black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi's cremation, on 31 January 1948, a day after his assassination. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. It is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi on Ring Road officially known as Mahatma Gandhi Road. A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the walled enclosure that houses the memorial.

Humayun Tomb Humayun's Tomb is probably one of the most innovative and experimental monuments of its time, incorporating within it Indo-Islamic architectural styles. This magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (Charbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.

Qutub Minar Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 03: Delhi - Lucknow - Sravasti

(approx. 175 kms / 04 hrs) (Flight + Drive)

After breakfast, transfer to airport and connect the flight to Lucknow. On arrival in Lucknow, drive to Sravasti.

Sravasti seems to have fascinated Lord Buddha very much for he spent over 1/4th of his life over here, recollecting the Jatakas or the stories of his previous births. Today Sravasti is full of old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples. The city is believed to be founded by Mythological King Sravasti and has old stupas, majestic monasteries and several; temples.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 04: Sravasti / Lumbini

(approx. 240 Kms / 08 hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Lumbini en-route visiting Kapilvastu:

Kapilvastu Kapilvastu, modern Piprahwa lies at a distance of 20km from Siddarthnagar. Kapilvastu was the ancient capital of the Sakya clan whose ruler was the father of the Buddha. Prince Gautam, as the Buddha was then known, left his palace in Kapilvastu at the age of 29, and revisited it 12 years later after he had attained enlightenment.

A large stupa stands at the ancient site, which is said to have housed the bone relics of the Buddha. An ancient Brahmi inscription discovered at Piprahwa testifies the presence of these relics. The ruins of the palace are spread over a large area.

Post visit drive to Lumbini.

LumbiniLumbini is the place where the Buddha, known as the Tathagata was born. It is the place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which should cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence.

The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death.

On arrival in Lumbini, check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 05: Lumbini - Khushinagar

( approx. 170 kms / 04 hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Khushinagar- a small wooded town.

Kushinagar 53 Km from Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, one of the principal centres of the Budhist piligrime, is the place where Lord Buddha left his corporeal self and attained Maharparinivana. It was one of the famous sixteen Maharanapads of ancient India. The Chinese travelers Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang have also mentioned Kushinagar in their travelogues.

In the evening visit Mutkabandha Stupa- believed to have been built to preserve the relics of Buddha.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 06: Khushinagar - Vaishali - (approx. 280 Kms / 06 hrs) - Patna - (approx. 70 Kms / 02 hrs)

After early breakfast, drive to Patna. Enroute visit Vaishali.

Vaishali Vaishali has an ancient history. The town had derived its name from the King Vishal whose heroic deeds are also mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana. However the history records that around the time Patliputra was the centre of political activity in the Gangetic plains, Vaishali became the centre of trade. Lying on the north bank of the Ganga it was the seat of the republic of Vajji. Vaihshali is credited with being India's first and the world's finest republic to have a duly elected assembly of representatives and an efficient administration in those ancient days Later continue your drive to Patna. On arrival in Patna, check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 07: Patna - Nalanda - (approx. 90 Kms / 02 hrs) - Rajgir - (approx. 12 Kms / 30 min) - Bodhgaya (approx. 80 Kms / 02 hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Bodhgaya en-route visiting Rajgir & Nalanda:

Rajgir Rajgir is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by rocky hills The "Peace Pagoda" stupa built by the Japanese can be reached by an aerial ropeway. On one of the hills is the cave of Saptaparni where the first Buddhist Council was held. Hot water springs here have curative properties and are sacred to the Hindus. Rajgir is 10 km south of Nalanda, sacred to the memory of the founder of both Buddhism and Jainism as the Buddha lived here in the sixth century BC. He used to meditate and preach on the " Hill of the Vultures" .Mahavira was born here in 567 BC and spent fourteen years. It was in Rajgriha that Lord Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons and had converted king Bimbisara "of the Magadha empire and countless others to his creed. Once a great city, Rajgir is just a village today but vestiges of a legendary and historical past remain, like the cyclopean wall that encircles the town and the marks engraved in rock that local folklore ascribes to Lord Krishna's chariot. This legend like many others associated Rajgir to that distinct time when the stirring events recorded in the epic Mahabharata were being enacted.

Nalanda A great Buddhist centre for more than 1000 years until the monastery, school and library were sacked and burnt by Muslims. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsan stayed here for 5 years in the early 7th century A.D. There were 10000 monks and students in residence. The remains are still extensive and include the "Great Stupa" with steps, terraces and a few still intact stupas around it.

Post visit drive to Bodhgaya.

Bodh Gaya "Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment. It is a place which should be visited or seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence".

On arrival in Bodhgaya, check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 08: Bodhgaya

After breakfast, enjoy half day visit of Bodhgaya including following:

Mahabodhi Temple Complex The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

Bodhi Tree The most important of the sacred places is the giant Bodhi Tree. This tree is to the west of the main temple and is supposed to be a direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha spent his First Week and where he had his enlightenment. To the north of the central path, on a raised area, is the Animeshlochan Chaitya (prayer hall) where the Buddha is believed to have spent the Second Week.

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 09: Bodhgaya - Varanasi 

(approx. 243 Kms / 6 hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Varanasi.

VARANASI Situated between the rivers Varuna and Assi as they join the Ganges, Varanasi takes its name from its location. It is often referred to as the oldest living city in the world.

It is also known as Kashi, the city of light, but the British, in an endeavor to simplify matters, had coined their own name for the place- Benaras. Varanasi is the city of a thousand temples. Its Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled.

According to Hindu belief, Varanasi is the cosmic centre of the Universe. The renowned American novelist Mark Twain once wrote "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

On arrival, check in at the hotel. later visit Sarnath.

Sarnath A major Buddhist centre, Sarnath lies 10 kilometres north east of Varanasi. It was here that Buddha preached his message of the 'middle way' to nirvana after achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. In around 234 BC, Emperor Ashoka, a great follower of Buddhism, erected a stupa here. Between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, several Buddhist structures were built here in Sarnath. Most of the Sarnath's monuments are set in large gardens making it quite pleasant for a visitor to spend some time here.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10: Varanasi - Agra 

(Overnight Train) (Marudhar express - Dep 1720 hrs / Arr 06:10 hrs)

Early morning enjoy boat ride on River Ganges:

Boat ride Early morning you experience the life of this ancient city. See the beauty of the rising sun on the Ganges. Enjoy the boat ride, experience the early morning rituals of the Hindus being performed, thousands of people taking a bath in the holy river believing they will be free from the circle of rebirth. It is interesting to see the pilgrims offering sweets, flowers and holy water to the Sun God.

Post visit come back to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, enjoy a half day city tour of Varanasi including following:

Durga Temple Located 2 kilometres south of the old city, this eighteenth century Durga Temple is also known as the Monkey Temple due to many aggressive monkeys that reside here. The temple was built in a common north Indian style with an ornate shikhara, consisting of five segments symbolizing the elements and supported by finely carved columns. Here Durga is represented as the embodiment of shakti or female power, clad in red and riding a tiger and fully armed with Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus and a sword. Non-Hindus are admitted to the courtyard but not the inner sanctum.

Bharat Mata Temple This temple of Bharat Mata (Mother India), inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, lies about 3 kilometres west of Godaulia, outside the old city. Here, instead of gods and goddesses, one finds a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian subcontinent and Tibetan plateau. The map is said to be perfectly to scale both vertically and horizontally with mountains, rivers and the holy tirthas (pilgrimage centres) all clearly visible.

Banaras Hindu UniversityOne of the oldest educational centres in India, the Banaras Hindu University was built in 1917. The university was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya as a centre for the study of Indian art, culture, music and Sanskrit. The university campus is spread over five square kilometres and houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan. The Bhavan has a fine collection of miniature paintings, sculptures from first to fifteenth centuries, old photographs of Varanasi and brocade textiles.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple The temple is located in the premises of the Banaras Hindu University and is about thirty minutes walk from the gates of the university. The temple, built by the Birlas, was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Unlike many other temples in Varanasi, this temple is open to all irrespective of caste or creed.

The temple is located in the premises of the Banaras Hindu University and is about thirty minutes walk from the gates of the university. The temple, built by the Birlas, was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Unlike many other temples in Varanasi, this temple is open to all irrespective of caste or creed.

In the evening, transfer to railway station to board the train to Agra.

AGRA The city of the inimitable "TAJ MAHAL".

The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire. While its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. A pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals.

Overnight in the Train.

Day 11: Agra

In the morning, arrive Agra. On arrival in Agra, transfer to hotel (Rooms will be available from 1200 noon).

After breakfast, enjoy half day visit of Agra including following:

Taj Mahal Taj Mahal or Crown of Palaces is a white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. A world-renowned wonder, Taj Mahal looks the same from all the four sides and is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". The Taj Mahal is phenomenal not in the beauty alone but in the deep planning and design that went into its making. This enchanting mausoleum started in 1631 and it took 22 years to complete with the help of an estimated 20000 workers. (It remains closed on Fridays).

Agra Fort The great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1666, A.D. although additions were made till the time of his grandson Shahjahan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid - a white marble mosque akin to a perfect pearl; Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-I-Khaas, Musamman Burj - where Shahjahan died in 1666 A.D. Jahangir's Palace; Khaas Mahal and Shish Mahal. The massive Agra fort is 2.5 km long and is considered as the predecessor of the Delhi Red fort.

Also enjoy Tonga Ride.

IMP: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

Day 12: Agra - Jaipur

After having breakfast, drive to Jaipur.

Post sightseeing, continue drive to Jaipur.

JAIPUR The fascinating capital of the marvellous state of Rajasthan.

Jaipur is popularly known as the Pink City, thanks to the colour of its buildings. It was built in 1727 A.D by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, followed a grid system, which made it the only planned city of its time. A young Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya designed the city in accordance with Shilp Shastra - an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. There are innumerable sagas and stories of culture, traditions, practices and valour. This diverse land of rich cultural heritage is a royal treat for tourists all over the world.

On arrival in Jaipur, check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13: Jaipur

After breakfast, enjoy full day visit of Jaipur including following:

Amber Fort The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh, the fort was made in red sand stone and white marble. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. Built mainly for the warring enemies as a safe place, the heavily structured walls could defend the residents within the ramparts of the fort.

Enjoy Elephant ride up to the Amber Fort like the royalty of Rajasthan once did. Mount the animal from a raised platform and sit comfortably in a specially designed, secure seat as the majestic animal winds its way up the ramparts of the fort. The Elephants look beautiful as the mahouts (the person who drives the elephants) decorate them, especially the trunk, with floral and geometric patterns using coloured chalk and powders.

Hawa Mahal Palace The poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace of winds. This is easily the most well-known landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon. This five-storey building overlooking the busy bazaar street is a fascinating example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its delicately honeycombed 953 pink sandstone windows known as 'jharokhas'. It was originally built for the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life and processions in the city from their veiled comfort.

City Palace Located in the heart of the walled city, the City Palace Complex gives you an idea about the farsightedness of the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. He left behind a legacy of some of the most imposing and magnificent architecture in the city. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh built many buildings but some of the structures were also built by later rulers. The palace is a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture and the ex-royal family still lives in a part of the palace.

Jantar Mantar The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period".

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Jaipur - Delhi - Fly Out

Breakfast at the hotel.

Later drive to Delhi. On arrival, transfer to airport to connect the flight back home / onward destination.

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