FOOT STEPS OF BUDDHA
This trip will be led exclusively by Dr. Arvind Singh, expert on Buddhist history in India.
This trip is a journey to all the major places related with the life of Lord Buddha, places where miracles of his spiritual energy have been witnessed, and where his presence is deeply felt by Buddhists from around the world. Walk in the footsteps of Lord Buddha with Dr. Arvind Singh who has worked on Buddhist philosophy and archaeology for more than a decade. Dr. Singh holds an MA in Indian History & Culture, an MA in Indian Philosophy & Religion, and a PhD in Archaeology and is the author of three books and 16 research articles on different aspects of Indian culture, numismatics, and archaeology.
Day 1 to 2 - Fly to Delhi
Arrive Delhi late in the evening of Day 2 and be met at Indira Gandhi International Airport and taken to Likir House, a Tibetan guesthouse owned by H.H. the Dalai Lama’s sister-in-law.
Day 3 - Delhi
India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is bustling metropolis that successfully combines the ancient with modern. Set amidst the rapidly multiplying skyscrapers are forts, palaces and the other monuments of the region’s ancient legacy.
Morning: After breakfast have the Orientation to India and explore the nearby
Afternoon: After lunch start your tour with a puja ceremony in Shree Lakshmi
Narayan Temple followed by a visit to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a Sikh temple. Drive past the Rashtrapati Bhawan (formerly Governor General House), India Gate and other Govt. buildings.
Evening: Free to rest or explore
Day 4 - Delhi - Bodhgaya
Morning-Afternoon: After breakfast take it leisurely before you start your Old
Delhi tour with famous Jama Masjid. Known for its architectural beauty and
grandeur, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan (the builder of Taj Mahal) in 1656. It is the most important and the biggest mosque in the Indian sub-continent. Enjoy a rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk bazaar of old Delhi before you reach the Red Fort.
After Red Fort visit Raj Ghat, the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.
Evening: Board Rajdhani Express, an overnight train to Bodhgaya.
Day 5 - Bodhgaya
Reach Gaya railway station early in the morning, and then transfer to the hotel in Bodhgaya. After breakfast take proper rest or explore the bazaar.
As the place of Buddha’s enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of
Buddhists. Situated on the bank of river Niranjana, it is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centers since it was here that Buddha attained his supreme
enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi tree. It attracts tens of thousands of believers from all over the world because of its many important monasteries and temples built by different Buddhist countries. The main attraction is the Mahabodhi Temple (Main Temple).
Afternoon: After lunch a talk on Buddhism by Dr.Arvind Singh,and then start your tour of different monasteries and also see the 25 meter great statue of Lord Buddha.
Evening: Visit Mahabodhi temple (the main shrine), and participate in the Puja.
Day 6 - Bodhgaya
Have full day to feel the sacred atmosphere of Bodhgaya, sit under the Bodhi Tree, explore the Mahabodhi Temple complex, and the Buddhist bazaar.
Day 7 - Bodhgaya - Varanasi
Morning-Afternoon: After breakfast, take a 5 hr. drive to Varanasi, seeing the rural life of India on your way. Varanasi is the most sacred city of Hindus and equally sacred for Jains and Buddhists as well. Situated on the holy Ganges, it is also known as the oldest living city on earth. During the time of Lord Buddha it flourished as a trade center and the main center of culture and trade in India. Varanasi has stood as the symbol of Hindu renaissance and preserved the tradition of Hindu philosophy and rituals. Its ghats on the Ganges and numerous temples form the major attraction in the old city. Reach the hotel and rest of the time free.
Evening: Rest, explore, or visit a silk weaving cooperative.
Day 8 - Varanasi
Wake-up early in the morning to go for sunrise boat cruise on the Holy Ganges. Here, weather permitting, you will see one of the most beautiful and memorable sunrises, during which the whole drama of life (from womb to tomb) is played out on the bank of Ganges. After breakfast attend a talk on Indian culture by a university professor.
Afternoon: free for shopping or rest.
Evening: Go to the Ganges for a spectacular evening aarti at Dashashwameth Ghat, the most fascinating daily ritual of Hinduism.
Day 9 - Varanasi
Morning: Rest or explore.
Afternoon: Tour of Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism. It is Sarnath where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after His enlightenment. It is the place which has been the witness of the birth and downfall of Buddhism in India. Visit the archaeological site of Sarnath where you will see the ruins of monasteries, stupas and temples. Also visit the archaeological museum housing the famous Lion Capital (India’s crest) and the most beautiful image of Buddha.
Evening: Enjoy performance of classical Indian dance and music.
Day 10 - Varanasi - Kushinagar
Drive for 6 hrs to Kushinagar, one of the four most sacred places of Buddhism, where Lord Buddha left his physical body. In this place you will see the spots related with the last days of Buddha’s life and death. At the archaeological site here you will visit the stupas which have been built at the spots where Lord Buddha breathed his last breath and where his body was cremated. Also visit the main temple, built at the spot of his last preaching.
Day 11 - Kushinagar
Full day in Kushinagar to meditate, walk and feel the ambiance of this sacred place.
Day 12 - Kushinagar - Shravasti
Morning: After breakfast, drive from Kushinagar to Shravasti. Shravasti was the
capital of one of the principalities of ancient India, and was a center of Buddhism as well. The rulers of Shravasti were related with Buddha’s family so it became the favorite place of Buddha. The main attractions are Jetavana Vihara and the garden where Lord Buddha spent 24 rainy-season retreats. Many of the important events of His life took place here.
Afternoon: Presentation / discussion on Buddhism
Evening: Guided meditation before dinner.
Day 13 - Shravasti - Lucknow
Morning: Visit the main places related with Buddha including Sahet–Mahet, Jetavana Vihara and Anand Bodhi. Also walk into the ruins of the sacred site where Lord Buddha walked in meditation.
Afternoon: Drive to Lucknow situated at a distance of 160 km. Overnight in Lucknow.
Evening: Explore Lucknow.
Day 14 - Lucknow - Agra
Morning-Afternoon: Drive to Agra, 7 hrs., stopping on the way to take pictures of the interesting countryside. Agra is the most famous tourist place of India as the site of the Taj Mahal, one of the Wonders of the World. For most of its history, Agra alternated with Delhi as the capital of Mughal Empire. One finds many marvels of Mughal architecture in addition to the Taj Mahal, including two other world heritage monuments, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
Evening: Arrive and check in the hotel. Free to rest or explore.
Day 15 - Agra
Morning: Rise early for a sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal, to view this incredible and extravagant monument as the sun bathes it in an ethereal light. Built in 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it took 22 years and the labor of 20 thousand men. The white marble for this perfectly proportioned building with its amazing delicate inlay work was transported to the site by elephants from a quarry 200 miles away.
After Taj Mahal come back to the hotel for breakfast and rest.
Afternoon: Following lunch drive 40 km. west of Agra to Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage Monument. Fatehpur-Sikri was built by emperor Akbar in 1571 and deserted 14 years later because its water supply failed. Visit Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khas, the treasury, and Jodha Bai Palace. Pass through the victory gate of Buland Darwaza to visit the tomb of famous Sufi Shaikh Saleem Chisti.
Evening: Musical entertainment with dinner.
Day 16 - Delhi
Morning: Following breakfast have some free time in the morning, and then visit Agra Fort situated around the bend of river Yamuna from Taj Mahal. Constructed in red sandstone, walls and gates of the fort were begun by Akbar as the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire. It was enlarged by successive generations of emperors, including Shah Jahan, who built Moti Masjid, royal pavilions and a hall of public audience.
Afternoon: After lunch drive to Delhi International Airport to board the flight Home.
Optional 4 days extension to Dharamsala - $650
Drive from Agra to Delhi and overnight Delhi. Evening free for rest.
Morning: Take Malawa Express at 5.15 AM –a 6 hrs train journey to Chakki bank and then 2 hrs drive to Dharamsala / McLeod Ganj. McLeod Ganj serves as the residence of His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama - Tenzin Gyatso, and the Tibetan Government in exile. At a height of 1700 m, McLeod Ganj is an important learning center for Tibetan
Buddhism. The whole area displays Tibetan culture and crafts at their finest.
Evening: Explore the Tibetan market around McLeod Ganj.
Morning: Presentation / Discussion on Tibetan culture.
Afternoon: Visit Tibetan Children’s Village (TVC), and place of the Tibetan
Government in Exile.
Afternoon: Tour Dharamsala including Namgyal Monastery, residence of the Dalai Lama, and Suglag Khang, the Dalai Lama’s temple complex.
Continue tour of Dharamsala. Visit Norbulinga Institute and Dolma Ling Nunnery, possibly take a walk in the countryside. In late afternoon drive to Chakki Bank Railway Station to board the train to Delhi.
Departure to the Delhi International Airport for your departure flight.
Cost: $3500 per person, Single room supplement: $900. Includes guide fees, all transportation during the retreat dates, hotel, breakfasts and dinners, hotel and driver tips, and entrance fees. Cost does NOT include tip for guide, drinks, lunches, room service, non-group activities, personal expenses and international airfare. Suggested tip for guide 5%.
A non-refundable deposit of $500 will reserve your spot. If the retreat/tour is canceled due to lack of participants, you will be granted a full refund. A minimum of 10 people is required for the trip to occur. We do anticipate meeting our goal of 10 participants. We will contact you to let you know if we have met our minimum number of participants so that you can go ahead and purchase the flight from your home city. Minimum 10 participants. Maximum 16.
To Register: Please send in your deposit, payable to Spiritual India Journeys with the Registration and Release Forms.
* Please note that itinerary is subject to change.
* Additional travel options in India are possible with prior arrangement.