Tour at a glance
Shakyamuni Buddha discovered the truth of overcoming suffering and bringing happiness to the individual, family and society. Before he died, the Buddha suggested that it would be of great benefit to those who are concerned in his teachings to make a pilgrimage to the places associated with his life.
We have an opportunity to travel in the company of Geshe la, an experienced and renowned guide on the Buddha’s path, who has been leading pilgrimages many years. A Buddhist scholar and practitioner, he is an ordained Dharma teacher in the Tibetan buddhist tradition of the Master, Tsuklak khang. As we journey, Genshe la shares stories and teachings of the Buddha and the practices of daily meditation and mindfulness. In this way the Buddha comes alive not only as a historical person, but in the here and now, someone who is relevant to our lives today.
Together we visit the actual sites where the historical Buddha was born, spent his childhood, attained enlightenment, taught, meditated and where he passed away. We travel along the fertile plains of the Ganges, beautiful with its mustard and lentil fields, to the lush ‘terrain’ that leads to the foothills of the Himalayas. We visit the remains of ancient monasteries and stupas, museums with exquisite art, living temples and villages that have changed little since the time of the Buddha 2,500 years ago. We take a boat ride, stop at mango groves, visit Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, visit schools and meet/mingle with pilgrims from all over the world.
The pilgrimage has all the ingredients of a truly memorable journey, widening our perceptions and consciousness. It is an opportunity not only to deepen our knowledge and practice of the Buddha and his teachings but also to get an insight into an India that few penetrate. On this journey we touch a culture and civilization that are both ancient and contemporary. We take an inner and an outer journey through a fascinating and mysterious India.
This journey is not only intellectually stimulating, exposing the mind to challenging ideas and diverse lifestyles, but also spiritually transformative.
Normally there are 14-21 people on each journey, which allows for greater individual attention in the context of a supportive sangha and also makes it possible to cater to personal needs and interests.
Retracing Buddha Path 2018:-
This journey will begin in New Delhi on the 16th of February. The next day we will fly to Varanasi. Thereafter we travel by our own private coach to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda/Rajgir, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilavastu, Sravasti, Agra, Delhi and Daharamsala. From Sravasti we go to Lucknow and fly to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi in the evening of the 1st of March 2018, where the tour ends. You should book your departure flight for either late night of 1st of March or early morning of March 2, 2018.
For those who take the optional journey to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we fly from Delhi to Aurangabad in the morning of 3rd March 2018. We will spend two nights in Aurangabad visiting Ajanta and Ellora and will return to Delhi in the evening of 6th March. You should book your departure flight for either late night of March 5th or early morning of March 6, 2018.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||New Delhi / New Delhi|
||Delhi – Jaipur – Agra-Taj Mahal – Varanasi – Bodhgaya – Patna – Kushinagar – Lumbini – Sravasti – Delhi-Dharamsala|
|TIME||13 Nights / 14 Days|
|WEAR||Comfortable warm clothings, gloves and sunscreen.|
Retracing Buddha Path:-
The Buddha lived and traveled along the Gangetic plains in Northern India. Besides New Delhi, the pilgrimage visits two states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
India’s cities stand in large contrast to her villages and have their own interesting (if seemingly chaotic) lifestyle. Varanasi and Bodh Gaya are both significant pilgrimage sites, having their own distinct character and personality. In these places we get a closer view of how modern and traditional India co-exist. Kushinagar, Sravasti and Rajgir are smaller towns and relatively quiet, giving the pilgrims the opportunity to absorb the nuances of the local culture and society.
In Delhi, we will visit the place where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, lived his last days. This is a wonderful place to begin the pilgrimage. Gandhi reminds us of the Buddha in our living memory, and personified a unique way
of peaceful living and politics. He was a man open to all cultures and religions but with deep faith in his own.
Our journey will take us across the plains of the river Ganges to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the Deer Park at Sarnath, where he gave his first teachings. We will visit his favorite meditation places such as Vulture Peak in Rajgir, the Jeta Grove at Sravasti (where he spent 24 rainy season retreats), and Kushinagar, where he passed away. We will also visit Lumbini, where he was born, and the palace at Kapilavastu, where he spent his childhood. Aside from visiting the places where the Buddha lived, we will visit monasteries, temples and shrines. The trip includes visits to homes of locals in cities and villages, a gentle walk to the Dungasiri Mountain (Mahakala Cave) where the Buddha practiced his austerities. We would meet environmental and social activists and visit the homes of both the homes of the poor and the privileged to get a sense of contemporary India. We would combine this with the underpinnings of the Buddha’s teachings, and some of the places he lived and visited so we can examine what we are witnessing and experiencing both from an external and internal perspective. In Varanasi we will also take a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise.
At each pilgrimage site along the way, our tour teacher will tell stories of the Buddha’s life and give teachings to help us understand the Buddha as a human being, the drama of his life and the significance of what he taught. We will schedule time for daily sitting and walking meditation, regular discussions, and contemplative time for ourselves.
The creation of a traveling sangha will be an important aspect of this trip, giving the journey a greater cohesiveness and building a sense of support for those seeking to deepen their practice.
Accompanying us on this journey is Wendy Garling, who will offer a perspective on Buddhism’s feminine roots. Seemingly forgotten, many early sources hold an abundance of women’s stories that were originally integral to the earliest biographies of the Buddha. Wendy will share these ancient women’s stories, weaving them into a refreshing new biography that aims to shift the traditional patriarchal paradigm to a more accurate, gender-balanced and female friendly understanding of early Buddhism. These stories along with Geshe la’s stories and teachings will become our pilgrimage narrative.
The pilgrimage is an unforgettable opportunity to explore areas that few tourists visit and to see and experience aspects of contemporary Indian life that, in many ways, have not changed since the time of the Buddha. We invite you to join other practitioners on a transformative journey that will allow you to touch an ancient and diverse culture and civilization, and experience the life of the Buddha through the places he lived and taught. Join us on a fascinating journey in the women’s footsteps as well as those of the Buddha, through a mysterious India.
16th February 2018: Arrival in Delhi
Arrive Delhi Airport, meet & greet at airport then transfer to Hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Delhi.
17th February 2018: Delhi – Agra: (05 hrs , 205 Kms)
After breakfast at hotel then drive to Agra, arrival & transfer to hotel. After lunch at hotel, visit the world famous Taj Mahal “(its closed on every Friday). Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his Empress Mumtaz Mahal. The construction believed to have taken 22 years to complete with over 20,000 craftsmen working round the clock. After sightseeing of Tajmahal visit magnificent Agra Fort, built in the bank of Yamuna River, is situated in the center of the town, (Taj mahal & Agra Fort both UNESCO World Heritage sites) evening free for shopping /own activities, Overnight at Hotel.
18th February 2018: Agra-Lucknow- via Sankasya: (09 – 10 hrs)
Early morning, after breakfast drive to Lucknow with packed lunch enroute visit Sankasya, where Lord descended from heaven after giving sermon to his mother after 7 years of her dealth. Later continue drive to Lucknow, on arrival check-in at Hotel, Dinner at hotel.
Overnight at Hotel, Lucknow.
19th February 2018:: Lucknow – Varanasi: (7 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Varanasi, Check-in at Hotel . Lunch at hotel. Later Visit SARNATH (where Buddha delivered his first sermon) Sarnath – where Buddha preached his first sermon after he had attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. Next visit to Dhamekha Stupa, The Dhamekha Stupa is the most remarkable and massive structure at Sarnath. Built partly in stone and partly in brick, the Dhamekha Stupa is 28 meter in diameter at the base and 43.6 meter in height. The stone facing the lower part is decorated with delicate floral carvings of Gupta period. Tour continues to visit Deer Park.. Evening free for local shopping etc. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
20th February 2018: Varanasi – Bodhgaya: (5 hours)
After breakfast drive to Bodhgaya. Check-in at Hotel. Lunch at hotel. Rest day free for own activities. Evening visit Mahabodhi temple – The Bodhi tree, situated in the premises of the temple, is the one under which Buddha attained enlightenment, Dinner and overnight at hotel in Bodhgaya
21th February 2018: Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Bodhgaya
Early morning, after breakfast drive to Rajgir. Reaches Rajgir at 2:30 hrs (from Bodhgaya which is 85 kms) Rajgir is a site of great Sanctity and significance for Buddhists. Afternoon visit Gridhakuta Hill, Bimbisara jail & Ajatashatru’s Fort.
Drive to Nalanda, which is 12kms. Drive (15 minutes), and It was one of the oldest Universities of the World & International Centre for Buddhist Studies., Nalanda was one of the greatest monastic universities of the ancient world University established in 5th century BC. It is believed that Lord Buddha and also the founder of Jainism religion Lord Mahavir taught at this university for years. There is even a look monument to facilitate Chinese traveler monk and writer Hiuen Tsang who studied at this university in the 7th century A.D
Lunch at Nalanda Cafetaria. Evenining drive back to Bodhgaya (105 KMS, 02.5 Hrs Drive) on arrival check in at hotel. Dinner at hotel and overnight at Bodhgaya.
22nd February 2018: Bodhgaya
Early morning visit Mahabodhi temple to offer Gee Rice Pooja (Kiripidu Dhana). Thereafter return to hotel.
Lunch at hotel. After lunch visit to Sujata Village, Niranajana River, various monasteries, etc, Evening free for local shopping or own activities, Dinner & over night at hotel.
23rd February 2018: Bodhgaya - Vaishali – Kushinagar: (10 hrs)
After early breakfast morning drive to Kushinagar. Lunch on the way at local restaurant. Visit Vaishali. After visit Vaishali drive to Kushinagar. Visit Parinirwana Temple (where Buddha took his last breathe). Check in at hotel.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
24th February 2018: Kushinagar – Lumbini: (191 kms, 05 hrs drive)
After breakfast, morning visit Rambhar Stupa (cremation site of lord Buddha), then drive with packed lunch to lumbini. While going to Lumbini, stop at India/Nepal border for Visa/Immigration formalities. Later check-in at Hotel.Evening visit Lumbini, the Birth place of Lord Buddha.
Over night at hotel – Lumbini.
25th February 2018: Lumbini – Kapilvastu – Saravasti
After breakfast leave for Sravasti, enroute visit Kapilavastu – where Lord Buddha’s childhood was spent & also visit ruins of the Palaces. Later continue drive to Sravasti & on arrival check-in at hotel . Later visit Sravasti, where Buddha spent his 24 monsoons, visit Jetvana and Ananda Bodhi Tree. Dinner and overnight at Hotel – Sravasti.
26th February 2018: Sravasti – Lucknow – Delhi: (4-5 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Lucknow. Lunch at Lucknow. Thereafter transfer to airport to board flight to Delhi, Dinner on Board, Arrive New Delhi and transfer to Hotel.
27th February 2018: flight to Dharamsala
Early morning, after breakfast, drive to airport to fly to Gaggle Airport, Dharamsala. About an hour drive from Mcleod Ganj and check into hotel. Take a rest for while, we are going to have lunch at special Tibetan restaurant and proceed to Local sightseeing.
28th February 2018: Dharamsala Local Sightseeing
1st March 2018: flight back to Delhi
Breakfast at hotel. Later Proceed for sightseeing of delhi including India Gate, Parliament House, President House.
2nd March 2018: Return back to Home
After breakfast, you are free travel on your own or join an optional tour of Delhi.
At evening, pack for your international flight. Transfer to International Airport for outbound flight in the late evening.
Overnight at Delhi.
Retracing Buddha Path 2018: 16th February to 2nd March 2018 (14 days)
Price: US$ 2190 (US$ 660* single room supplement)
Early bird price of $2090 per person (based on double occupancy)
After Jan, 01, 2018, price is $2190 (based on double occupancy)
|All breakfast and Dinner included|
|All transport and listed activities|
|Tour leader throughout|
|All internal flight|
|Arrival and departure transfers|
|Single accommodation supplement|
|International Flight to/from Delhi|
|Visas or vaccinations|
- International airfare (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
- Indian visa fee (e-Tourist visa is about $60USD; we can advise on other types on visas)
- Travel insurance (required)
Building Love – Agra, the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort (beginning and ending in Delhi) March 1-2, 2018 – US$ 340
Agra was the capital of the great Mughals. Emperor Akbar, was the main architect of the Agra Fort. His grandson Shah Jahan built the beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal, as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both these monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Exquisite Caves – Ajanta & Ellora (beginning and ending in Delhi) March 2-5, 2018 – US$ 1160
Ajanta is situated near Aurangabad. Beginning in the 2nd century BCE and continuing for 900 years, twenty-six caves were chipped out of a horseshoe shaped cliff. The early followers of the Buddha created an isolated haven, shrouded in the darkness of the caves where they could meditate in peace. The exquisite Buddhist paintings and sculptures created by using simple tools in the glow of lamps rank among the world’s most important cultural treasures and the area has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Although the Jataka Tales form the main theme of the paintings, also depicted are scenes from contemporary courtly life all demonstrating a startling degree of sophistication. In the Ajanta paintings we see the brilliant union between sacred and secular art.
Ellora Caves: Nearby is Maharashtra state’s most phenomenal ancient monument, the Ellora caves which carried on the legacy of Ajanta from the 7th century AD and was subjected to Buddhist, Jain and Hindu influences. The sculptures at Ellora are massive in form and the entire spectrum of carvings pulsates with life and energy. The phenomenal rock cut Hindu temple of Kailash which is carved out of a hillside is the world’s largest monolith and the site’s principal attraction. Ellora too, is a World Heritage site declared by UNESCO.