BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE TOUR

Departure Date

Every Monday

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91

DAY 01 ARRIVE VARANASI BY MJ-039@ 0830 HRS (L/D)
Meet and Greet on arrival at Varanasi airport by our company representative with welcome garlanding and transfer to hotel, check-in at the hotel.
After lunch proceeds for a sightseeing tour of ‘Varanasi’.
Sarnath, 10 Kms from Varanasi is the fabled place, which bears testimony to its great past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples, expounding the principles of Buddhism. The remains date back to as far as the 3rd century BC when Emperor Ashoka founded various institutions, Stupas, monasteries and pillar edicts. Visit the art collection at the Archaeological Museum. The main attractions is the superb capital from Ashokan Pillar-the Ashokan symbol of four back to back lions which have been adopted as the state symbol independent India. Also, visit the Mahabodhi Buddha temple and walk around the deer park. Later see the monastery ruins area, Dhameka Stupa.
In the evening, go down to the banks of the river Ganges and board your private boat to witness the Aarti, a prayer to the mother river conducted every by five priests on the bank of the river.
Overnight at Varanasi
Meals: Lunch/Dinner

DAY 02 VARANASI-ALLAHABAD (130 Kms/2.40Hrs) (B/L/D
SAME DAY EXCURSION TO KAUSHAMBI (55 Kms/1.40Hrs)

Early morning boat cruise on river Ganges. The western banks of Ganges have a string of Ghats the chain of stone steps, all built with pavilions, palaces and terraces, most of which are mainly used as Dharamsalas where the pilgrims stay during their visit to the holy city. At dawn, the Ghats are abuzz with activity of the devotees performing their ablutions in the river of offering prayers to the rising sun and performing other religious Rituals. A boat ride along the Ghats gives you vantage views of the activity. The Sunrise of the Ganges is a soul-lifting experience. Later visit the Vishwanath Temple also called the Golden Temple because of the Gold-Plating on its roof.
Breakfast at the hotel. Later on, depart by surface to Allahabad.
Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. Post lunch proceeds for the same day excursion to ‘Kaushambi’.
Kaushambi, considered to be the place where Lord Buddha passed his sixth and Ninth year after attaining enlightenment. Thus the place is special and linked to many sermons that were delivered by Lord Buddha. The city finds a distinct place as the center of Kuru’s Dynasty in Mahabharata and later as a wealthy city during Buddha’s time. The city is archaeologically very important due to its splendid and long history, right from the Mahabharata age. The old stupas, forts, and monasteries are in their ruins in the city, on the bank of river Yamuna.
Overnight at Allahabad
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 03 ALLAHABAD-SANKASIA (392 Kms/07 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After having early breakfast at the hotel, depart by surface to Sankasia.

Upon arrival at Sankasia, check-in at the hotel. Later proceed for a city tour of ‘Sankasia’.

Sankassa (also Sankasia, Sankissa, and Sankasya) was an ancient city in India. The city came into prominence at the time of Gautama Buddha. According to a Buddhist source, it was thirty leagues from Savatthi. After the Gautama Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana (passing away) king Ashoka developed this place and installed one of his famous Pillars of Ashoka in the city, from which the elephant capital survives. He also built a stupa and a temple commemorating the visit of the Buddha. This temple exists even today and the ruins of the stupa are also present as a temple of Vishari Devi. It is said that the name Vishari Devi is given to the mother of the Buddha.
Overnight at Sankasia
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 04 SANKASIA-SRAVASTI (395 Kms/08 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After having early breakfast at the hotel, depart by surface to Sravasti.
Upon arrival at Sravasti, check-in at the hotel. Later proceed for a city tour of ‘Sravasti’.
Sravasti, in the time of Buddha Sravasti, was the capital Kingdom of Kosala. It is thought that Buddha spent 24 monsoon seasons in the Jetvana gardens here.
Overnight at Sravasti
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 05 SRAVASTI-LUMBINI (185 Kms/06 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Lumbini. On arrival check-in at the hotel.
Post lunch, proceed for the sightseeing tour of Lumbini.
Lord Buddha was born at Lumbini while his mother was on her way to parental home from Kapilavastu. Buddha was in Lumbini during the full moon day in the month of Vaisakhi in 623 BC. He was born under a Sal tree when Maya Devi was going to her maternal town on the occasion of delivery.
Overnight at Lumbini
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 06 LUMBINI-KUSHINAGAR (175 Kms/06 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Kushinagar. On arrival check-in at the hotel.
Post lunch, proceed for the sightseeing tour of ‘Kushinagar’.
Buddha’s last journey led him to Kushinagar. Here at the age of 80 Buddha passed into Mahaparinivana. Buddha was finally freed from the eternal cycle of re-birth leaving with us all the wisdom and knowledge of Muktabandhanastupa built by the Malla dynasty to house Buddha’s relics after the cremation.
Overnight at Kushinagar
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 07 KUSHINAGAR-RAJGIR VIA VAISHALI (300 Kms/07 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Rajgir en-route visiting Vaishali.
Vaishali was one of the Buddha’s favorite retreats and he came here on many occasions. It was here Buddha delivered the last sermon, indicating that he would be soon departing from the world. Emperor Ashoka erected a huge pillar to commemorate the spot of the last sermon. Around one hundred years after he died the second council was held here. Hundreds of Indian monks met in Vaishali to discuss the Vinaya rules and to chant a sutra together. Today visitors can see a famous “Lion Pillars” which carved out of a single piece of red sandstone and stands 18.3 meter high. Also of great significance are the two stupas which house caskets containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha’s remains?
Kesariya Stupa, the stupa is the largest in the world with a height of 104 ft attracts lots of Buddhist pilgrimage around the world. Excavated in 1998 the stupa is a rare example of Buddhist architecture and archaeological preservation. Stupa competes with that of Borobudur (103 ft) in Java, a world heritage site.
Lunch at Vaishali.
Later continue drive to Rajgir. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight at Rajgir
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 08 RAJGIR-BODHGAYA (70 Kms/02 Hrs) (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a sightseeing tour of ‘Rajgir & Nalanda’.
Rajgir, was the capital of the Magadh Empire until Ajatshatru moved it to Pataliputra (Patna) in the 5th century BC. Rajgir is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site as Buddha had spent 12 years here and the first Buddhist council after the Buddha attained Nirvana was held here. Visit Ajatshatru’s fort, Venuvana, Swarna Bhandar, the Cyclopean wall. Visit the Peace Pagoda on the chair lift.
Nalanda, founded in 5th century BC, was one of the world’s great universities. Visit the remains of the brick-built Great Stupa and local archaeological museum.
Lunch at the hotel.
Later continue drive to Bodhgaya. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight at Bodhgaya
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 09 IN BODHGAYA (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a sightseeing tour of ‘Bodhgaya’.
Bodhgaya (also written Bodh Gaya) in north-eastern India is the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the most important of four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations known as Uruvela in the Buddha’s time. The two major sacred sites in Bodhgaya are the Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree, around which many other temples and monasteries of various Buddhist traditions (Japanese, Tibetan, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and others) have been built. Every year, millions of Buddhist pilgrims, mainly from Asian countries, flock to Bodhgaya to be inspired, despite negative karma and earn merit by visiting the holy site where the Buddha became Buddha (“Enlightened one”). Throughout the day and night in the height of pilgrimage season, monks in colorful robes can be seen meditating where the Buddha did, studying Dhamma texts, making offerings to the many statues and stupas on the site, and circumnavigating (walking around) the sacred Mahabodhi Temple. City tour of the religious town revered both by the Buddhists and Hindus alike. Visit the Mahabodhi Temple, known for its Bodhi Tree where Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha. The tree standing today is believed to have grown from the original Pipal tree under which Lord Buddha mediated.
Overnight at Bodhgaya
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

DAY 10 BODHGAYA DEPARTURE BY MJ-312@ 0940 HRS (B)
After having early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Gaya airport to board flight for onward destination with the best memories in your heart and mind.
Meals: Breakfast

***END OF SERVICES***
Check-in at 1400 hrs & Check-out at 1200 hrs
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THE COST INCLUDES:
• Airport transfers with staff assistance.
• Accommodation in hotels mentioned above or similar on a full board basis (breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) inclusive of all taxes starting from Lunch on Day 01 and ending with Breakfast on day 10.
• Services of Accompanied English speaking guide from arrival till departure.
• Transportation using Air Conditioned Vehicle:
• 02 Paying Pax: 01 AC Medium Car
• 03 Pax: 01 AC Toyota Innova
• 04-09 Pax: 01 Tempo Traveller (12 Seater)
• 10-14 Pax: 01 Mini Coach (18 Seater)
• 15 Pax Onwards: 01 Large Coach (41 Seater)
• Some meals at the local restaurant. (Fixed menu OR Buffet)
• Common Boat ride in Varanasi.
• Monument entrance fees as per the program.
• Welcome, Garlanding on arrival at Varanasi airport.
• 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day in the coach (500ml each).
• All current government applicable taxes.

THE COST DOESN’T INCLUDE:
• Any International / Domestic airfare / airport tax.
• Any visa charges/Nepal Visa.
• Travel/ Accidental Insurance cover.
• Tipping for Guide / Driver / Helper.
• Expenses of personal nature such as table drinks during meals at hotels/restaurants, telephone calls, laundry, porterage at airports/hotels, room service.
• Any additional expenses incurred due to any flight / Train delays/rescheduling or cancellation, weather conditions, political closures, technical faults, Fires, floods, explosions, strikes, embargoes or any other act or circumstance beyond the reasonable control of Aayan Journeys.
• Camera fee (Still/Video)
• Any other services not specified above.
• Recommended tipping for Guide/Driver and his assistant USD5 per person per day which will be shared between them.

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