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Buddha circuit India
Several religions of the world have their origins in India. Apart from Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism were born here. Buddhism has transcended India's boundaries and taken root in East, South and South East Asia. Gautam Buddha, born a prince in Lumbini set out towards India in search of the questions that troubled him about life and suffering. His penance and meditation for years showed him the path to 'nirvana'. After achieving enlightenment, he set about preaching and sermonizing on the middle path to salvation, till he left for his heavenly abode from Kushinagar.
On this guided tour, let's re-trace the steps of the Buddha from the place where he meditated, to where he attained enlightenment, to where he gave his first sermon, to where he donated his begging bowl before his death, and finally, to where he breathed his last.
Day 01: Gaya/Bodh Gaya
A number of Buddhist nations like Thailand, Japan and Burma have set up monasteries and meditation centres in Bodh Gaya. Some of these include: the Indosan Nipponji temple, the Thai monastery, the Tibetan Karma Temple and Namgyal Monastery, and others by the Chinese, Burmese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, Tamang, Daijokyo and Nepali Buddhist communities.
During October and March, monks from Dharamsala descend to Bodh Gaya. The Dalai Lama pays a visit here too during December and January.
The Mahabodhi temple is a World Heritage site, built adjacent to the site of enlightenment in the 6th century AD. The temple was attacked and plundered by Muslim invaders in the 11th century and re-built several times.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 02: Bodh Gaya - Dungeshwari Caves - Gaya
Day 03: Bodh Gaya - Rajgir
Return to hotel for night stay.
Day 04: Rajgir - Nalanda
After the walk around the ruins, visit the Xuan Zang Memorial Hall, a Chinese pagoda built by Chinese Buddhists. Return to Rajgir hotel for night stay.
Day 05: Rajgir - Patna
After lunch, take a local sightseeing tour of Patna. This would include: Golghar (built as a granary), Gandhi Museum, Patna Museum, Har Mandir Takht, Qila House or Jalan Museum with some really rare relics like Napolean's bed and Marie Antoinette's porcelain; and the ruins of Pataliputra.
Return to hotel for night stay.
Day 06: Patna - Vaishali - Kesariya
Day 07: Patna - Kushinagar - Gorakhpur
After breakfast, depart for Kushinagar, 220 km by road. Or else, you can take the train to Gorakhpur and drive 55 km from there to this historic town.
Arrive in Gorakhpur and check into hotel.
Buddha breathed his last here, leaving a message for all mankind to find their salvation. Several monuments built by devotees from across the world have built monuments on this holy site along the Buddha Marg. These include: Vietnam's Linh Son Buddhists temple, meditation centre and gardens, the Burmese Mahasukhamdadacham Thargyi Pagoda, the Mahaparinirvan Temple with a tranquil and reclining Buddha and the Matahkuar temple, the Japanese - Sri Lanka temple and the Wat Thai temple. The Ramabhar Stupa, or the Mukutbandhan Stupa is the site of the cremation of Buddha.
Return to Gorakhpur for overnight stay
Day 08: Gorakhpur - Sarnath
Day 09: Varanasi - Delhi/Mumbai/Onward Destination
After breakfast, take a tour of this holiest of cities for the Hindus. The River Ganga is the lifeline of the city, and all spiritual and religious activities are performed along its bank
Take a cruise along the river between the Dasaswamedh Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat and visit the temples. Participate in or observe the "Ganga aarti" in the evening, a spiritually uplifting experience in which the holy river is paid homage. Take the evening flight out to Delhi or your preferred destination.