India Tours

West India Buddhist and Culture Tour

Mumbai - Aurangabad - Ajanta/Ellora - Delhi - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna - Vaishali - Kushinagar - Lumbini - Shravasti - Lucknow - Delhi
16 Nights - 17 Days

01 Day: Arrival Mumbai

Welcome to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai assistance on arrival, our representative assists and escorts you by a/c car and transfer to the pre-booked hotel. After check in, you will be given all the required documents related to your tour plan; he will explain all your queries about the entire tour plan. If you are arriving by early flight, after relaxation you can take a walk to have a glance of the city, visiting local markets and restaurants. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Mumbai is a cluster of Seven Islands and derives its name from Mumba Devi, the patron goddess of the koli fisher folk, its oldest inhabitants. Mumbai pulsates with activity. It is a city that is disciplined by nos time frame neither day nor night. It is also the country's financial powerhouse, the nation's industrial heartland, and its economic nerve center. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, nightclubs & discotheques, theatre & music, gourmet restaurants and interesting sightseeing.

02 Day: Mumbai

Today morning after breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Mumbai city, firstly visit to Gateway of India and cruise by motorboats to Elephanta Caves - ancient rock cut caves dedicated to Lord Shiva. Later cruise back Gate Way of India. And sightseeing continue visiting Prince of Wales Museum- A heritage museum exhibits ancient artifacts. Parliament house- (From outside), Nariman Point- Commercial Hub, Marine Drive- a most beautiful laid boulevards of the city. Dhobhi Ghat- a famous open air laundry, Mani Bhawan- Known also Gandhi Bhawan. Later return to the hotel. If time permits visit to Bandra and Juhu area where bollywood celebrity houses are located like Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan etc, (can be seen from outside). In the evening, visit Iskcon Temple: dedicated to Lord Krishna, The architectural splendour of the ISKCON Temple is adorned with murals and sculptures. After visit return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Note: Elephanta Caves and Prince of Wales museum are closed on every Monday.

03 Day: Mumbai

After breakfast, takes an excursion to Kanheri caves (40 kms from the main city) The 109 caves are reachable through the Sanjay Gandhi national park, a good way to reach a religious destination. The place is splendid, considering the integration of lush greens and rare artistic examples, but is surprising to learn that once it was a thriving trade route, and home to a Buddhist university, well known to the world. Also visit at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the main attraction of the park is its lion and tiger safari. One of the main attractions to the National Park is the lion safari, which has been drawing people to the park ever since it was started. If time permits than visit The pagoda, is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. Afterwards return to the hotel for overnight at Mumbai.

The Kanheri Caves constitute a group of rock-cut monuments that are located north of Borivali on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India. Located within the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, they were chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping. These caves date from the first century BCE to the 10th century CE. One hundred and nine caves have been carved from the basalt. Unlike the elegant splendor of the adjacent Elephanta Caves, the earlier cells are spartan and unadorned. Each cave has a stone plinth for a bed.

04 Day: Mumbai – Aurangabad (By Air)

After breakfast check out of the hotel and drive to the airport to board the flight for Aurangabad. On arrival, transfer into hotel. After refreshment take sightseeing tour of Aurangabad, visit to Bibi ka Maqbara Built by Azam Shah in 1678, the Bibi ka Maqbara is a son's loving tribute to his mother. Panchakki - which literally means 'Water Mill' by Malik Ambar in 1695. An artificial waterfall has been created near the mill, through which this water is discharged on to the wheel to power the flourmill and grind grain for the pilgrims. Daulatabad also known as Devagiri, is a town which includes the Devagiri-Daulatabad fort It is a 14th-century fort city in Maharashtra state of India, about 16 kilometers northwest of Aurangabad. Chand Minar in Daulatabad, situated about 15 km from Aurangabad, return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Aurangabad: Malik Ambar, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II, founded the city of Aurangabad in 1610 A.D, on the site of a village, Khirki. When Fateh Khan, Malik Ambar's son succeeded the throne in 1626, he named the city 'Fatehpur'. In 1653, when Aurangzeb became the Viceroy of the Deccan, he made it his capital, and renamed it Aurangabad. Maurya rule heralded the advent of Buddhism in the state of Maharashtra.

05 Day: Aurangabad – Ajanta (Excursion 105 kms: 2 hrs)

After early breakfast take an excursion to the famous Ajanta caves. Ajanta is one of the few historical and architectural marvels of India. Recognized as the World Heritage Site today, it was discovered during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. Later if time permit you may opt to visit Jami Masjid, Bharatmata Mandir, Elephant Tank and 'Chini Mahal' or Chinese Palace are the important monuments inside the fort. Khuldabad ("Heavenly Abode"), Many historical figures are buried here including Aurangzeb, the last major Mughal emperor. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Note: The Ajanta Caves are closed to public on all Monday.

Ajanta: It was only in the 19th century, that the Ajanta group of caves, lying deep within the Sahyadri hills, cut into the curved mountain side, above the Waghora river, were discovered. A group of British officers on a tiger hunt, stumbled on these ancient works of art. They depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning, and nerve - centres of the Buddhist cultural movement

06 Day: Aurangabad – Ellora (Excursion 40 kms: 1 hr) – Delhi (By Air)

After early breakfast take an excursion to Ellora, one of the highly visited World heritage sites of India. It houses 34 monasteries and temples with some exclusive uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. The temples of Ellora are dedicated to Brahmanism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It also has some of the excellent stonework depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva. Later check out the hotel and drive to airport to board the schedule flight for Mumbai. On arrival transfer to the hotel. In the evening you can visit see light and sound show at Red fort. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Note: The Ellora cave cslosed to public on all on Tuesday.

Ellora: The Ellora caves, 34 in number, are carved into the sides of a basaltic hill, 30 kms from Aurangabad. The finest specimens of cave - temple architecture, they house elaborate facades and exquisitely adorned interiors. These structures representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, were carved during the 350 AD to 700 AD period. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain.

07 Day: Delhi

After breakfast, take a sightseeing tour & explore the historic city, starting with Old Delhi: (Shahajahanabad) the majestic Red Fort, a marvel in red sandstone, Jama Masjid, the largest and most splendid mosque in India, Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, where he was cremated. Later take a cycle rickshaw ride through the bustling and colourful bazaar of Chandani Chowk. The sightseeing continues to explore the best tourist attractions of New Delhi including President House (Rashtrapati Bhawan), the regal residence of British rulers; a palace built for British Viceroys. India gate; built to honour and pay a tribute to the Indian soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the Afghan war, Birla Mandir (Laxmi Narayan Temple) built by the Birla family. Humayun’s Tomb, lotus shaped Bhai’s Temple, Qutub Minar; built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty; return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Delhi, towering capital city of independent and largest democratic country in the world: India. It is one of India's modern and fastest developing cities with charismatic charm on its visitors. Delhi is located and sprawled on the both side banks of Yamuna River. The city is enriched with culture, architecture and human diversity, Delhi city is blend of ancient past of India with vibration of modern world.

08 Day: Delhi – Varanasi (By Air)

After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to airport to board schedule flight for Varanasi. Assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel. After relaxation take an excursion to Sarnath, located at 10 kms from Varanasi where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to the five holy men; visit at Dharmarajika Stupa, the 110 ft tall Dhamekh Stupa marks the place where Buddha preached first sermon, also visit to Archaeological museum, the collection of ancient Buddhist relics and antiques comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisatva images, Ashok Pillar with 4 lions, built in 3rd Century BC., symbolize both Ashoks's imperial rule and the kingship of the Buddha. The four-lion capital was adopted as the emblem of the modern Indian republic. After visit drive back to Varanasi for overnight stay.

Varanasi: Sandwiched between the rivers Varuna and Ashi as they join the Ganges, Varanasi takes its name from its location. It is also called 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. The main object of all devotees is the Kasi Vishwanath Temple.

09 Day: Varanasi

Early morning take dawn BOAT RIDE at holy river Ganges, during the sunrise the city and river come alive, in the magical rays of the Sun; the city looks so exotic and lively. Later return to the hotel, after refreshment and breakfast take a sightseeing tour of the city visiting various ghats of Varanasi: two cremation ghats are Manikarnika & Harishchandra, sightseeing continues visiting the Bharat Mata temple Durga temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, the most famous temple is the Kashi Vishvanath or Golden temple which though off-limits to non-Hindus, can be seen from the top floor of the old house opposite it. Afterwards visit Banaras Hindu University: the largest residential university in Asia. In the evening visit at the bank of Ganga River to witness speculative Aarti (worship) ceremony. Later return to the hotel for overnight stay.

10 Day: Varanasi – Bodhgaya (245 kms: 6 hrs)

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Bodhgaya, on arrival transfer to the hotel. After refreshment visit Bodh Gaya Museum, Chinese Temple, Magadh University, Mahabodhi Temple is a famous temple standing tall at 54 mts. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bodhi Tree where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and the Vajrasana or throne, where Buddha sat. Later visit Niranjana Temple and River. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Bodhgaya is one of the sacred places for the Buddhists as well as for the Hindus. Here under the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha, the `Enlighted One'. The Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, under the Bodhi tree, which still stands in the temple premises. The magnificent Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries’ cultures and many heritages that came to pay their homage here. The temple definitely has architecture of the Gupta and later ages, inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD.

11 Day: Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Patna (165 kms: 5 hrs)

After breakfast check out the hotel and drive to Patna, enroute visit Rajgir was home for a considerable time to Lord Buddha and Mahavir. Rajgir is also famous as the place where the Magadha ruler, King Bimbisara converted to Buddhism. Sightseeing of Rajgir includes Shanti Stupa, Saptparni Cave, and Gridhakuta Hill. Later drive to Nalanda. Nalanda had the honor of being visited by Lord Buddha a number of times, in His lifetime. Take a sightseeing tour visiting Nalanda University - founded in the 5th century BC is the oldest Universities of the world. Surya Mandir, Nalanda Museum, Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall - dedicated to Hieun Tsang, a Chinese traveler. After visit proceed to Patna. On arrival, transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Rajgir the ancient capital of Magadha kings. The Buddha often visited Rajagriha to retreat at the Jivkamaravana monastery, preaching and meditating on the Gridhakuta Hill. The disciples of the Buddha built many structures here. Rajgir is also sacred to Jains as Lord Mahavira studied and meditated here.

Nalanda is believed to be the oldest university in the world. Founded in the 5th century BC, it became a renowned centre of Buddhist and Jain learning. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, spent several years here in the 7th century AD. Nalanda Archaeological Museum has a magnificent collection of Pali and Mauryan statues, bronze and manuscripts. Nalanda Mahavihara an institute for the study of Pali literature houses rare Buddhist manuscripts.

12 Day: Patna

After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Patna, visit the Golghar - this huge granary was constructed in 1786 by Captain John Garstin for the British army, Patna Museum, Pathar ki Masjid, Padri Ki Haveli - Place where Mother Teresa got her training. Gandhi Setu - Asia's longest roadway bridge. Followed by visit to Har Mandir one of the four sacred shrines of the Sikhs, stands at this holy site, Martyr's Memorial - built as a tribute to seven freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives in the Quit India Movement of August 1942. Jalan Museum or Quila House was constructed at the Sher Shad Fort's site. In the evening visit Bihar Institute of Handicraft and Design, the institute is trying to revive the old crafts and art of Bihar to modern use, especially Mithila paintings. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Patna: Situated on the southern bank of the holy river Ganges, Patna is a large city with a considerable population and quite a few places of interest. A typical tropical city of northern India, Patna is famous for its glorious past, especially the period of Magadh and the Mauryan rule. The historical monuments and beautiful countryside make it an interesting place to visit. It is the capital city of the Indian state of Bihar. Patna is a part of the Buddhist Circuit of Bihar, as it is the ideal gateway for all the places on this circuit.

13 Day: Patna – Vaishali – Kushinagar (255 kms: 6 hrs)

After breakfast check out the hotel and drive to Kushinagar, enroute visit Vaishali sacred to both Buddhists and Jains. Buddha preached his last sermon here. Vaishali is the birthplace of Lord Mahavira, the last Tirthankara of Jainism. Take a sightseeing tour of Vaishali visiting Ashokan Pillar, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Stupa I & II Bawan Pokhar Temple, Raja Vishal ka Garh which is an ancient fort, Coronation Tank - an excavated site believed to be the ancient parliament house of the Lichchavi government. Later proceed to Kushinagar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Kushinagar, one of the principal centers of Buddhist pilgrimage is the place of Mahaparinrvana. The monument of Kushinagar are situated in three distinct comprising in the main site of the Nirvana Temple houses over 6meter long statue of the reclining Buddha The image was unearthed during the excavations in 1876. An inscription below dates the statue to the 5th century BC Mathakaur shrine is black stone image of Lord Buddha in the Bhumi Sparsha Mudra (a posture showing him touching the earth ) was recovered here. The credit for bringing this ancient site to light goes to General A.

14 Day: Kushinagar

After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Kushinagar Nirvana Stupa, Nirvana Temple, this houses the over 6 meters long statue of reclining Buddha, Mathakuar Shrine, this Shrine lies about 400 yards form the Parinirvana stupa, Japanese Temple, a beautiful Ashta Dhatu (eight metlas) statue of Lord Buddha. Kushinagar Museum, the museum has 248 precious antiques related to coins, visit Japanese Garden and Buddha Vihar, the Myanmar Buddha Vihar, first Monastry in Kushinagar, Mahaparinirvana Temple. A huge "Samridhi Chaitya" Stupa which will contain 5000 brass statues of Lord Buddha, Wat Thai Temple, Chinese Temple, the Lin Sun Chinese Temple is the another attraction of Kushinagar, Meditation Park, Birla Temple. Overnight stay at the hotel.

15 Day: Kushinagar – Lumbini – Shravasti (255 kms: 6 hrs)

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Shravasti . Enroute visit to the Birthplace of Buddha Lumbini is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas in modern Nepal. The shrines and monasteries that many countries have built or are still building reflect the architectural traditions of those countries, and thus giving Lumbini an international feel with a message of universal love and brotherhood. Afterwards proceed to Shravasti , on arrival transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Lumbini: The birthplace of the Buddha was located in 1890 after being untraced for 1,500 years. Lumbini grove, the sacred site of Lord Buddha's birth is today a small village in Nepal, 27 km from Sonauli on the Indo-Nepal Border. Three hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana, Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini and erected a pillar there. This pillar, though broken, still remains at the site.

Shravasti is one of the eight most important pilgrimages of Buddhists. While Lord Buddha walked from Kapilavastu in Nepal to Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, renounced the world and attained mahaparinirvana, he left behind a trail of footsteps which are revered till today. Shravasti is one such place. According to legend, it is here where Buddha confounded his critics by making them witness a miraculous million-fold self manifestation seated on a thousand-petalled lotus, as fire and water emanated from his body.

16 Day: Shravasti – Sahet & Mahet – Lucknow (155 kms: 4 hrs)

After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Shravasti - the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honour for sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens. Also visit Sahet Mahet, 15 kms from Balrampur. Shravasti has the honour for sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Vihar and has the famous Anand Bodhi tree, age-old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples. Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here. After visit drive to Lucknow, on arrival transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Lucknow is a city synonymous with the Nawabi Culture. The imperialistic splendor and magnificence of the Nawabi Era has been glorified and eulogized down the ages by writers, poets and historians alike. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh, one of the biggest states in India and is situated on the banks of the river Gomati, tributary of the Ganga. It is famous for its Gardens, Parks and unique archaeological monuments.

17 Day: Lucknow – Delhi (By Air)

After breakfast take a half day sightseeing tour of the Lucknow city, visiting Bara Imambara: Built in the year 1784 by the champion of charity, Clock Tower, tallest tower (221 ft) in India and one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India, Jama Masjid: The construction of this mosque was started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah but it was finally completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his death. Later check out from the hotel and transfer to the airport to board the flight for Delhi. On arrival transfer to board the connecting flight for home town. Tour concludes here with happy memories.

Tour Package Guidelines:

Since the precise cost of a customized tour is subject to specific accommodation choices, travel period (date/month/year), nos of pax travelling together and other custom preferences. However, to enable you to chalk out your holiday plan, we suggest following budget guidelines (minimum 2 people are travelling together & sharing one double room) for a customized tour:

  1. 3-Star: $90 - $100 per person per day
  2. 4-Star: $110 - $170 per person per day
  3. 5-Star: $175 - $250 + per person per day.

The Package Inclusive of:

  1. Hotel accommodation on twin sharing with buffet breakfast.
  2. Aircon car with English speaking driver throughout the tour for all transfers, sightseeing, intercity travel.
  3. Car services are inclusive of all services; right from pick up from the airport till departure.
  4. Driver allowance (food & Stay)
  5. All toll taxes, entry permit and parking charges.
  6. English/Multilingual guide at the time of sightseeing.
  7. Boat Ride at holy river Ganges Varanasi.

The Package Excludes:

  1. Any international/domestic air/train fare.
  2. Monuments/sightseeing entry charges.
  3. Government tax 5% on the tour package.
  4. Any expenses of personal nature such as laundry, tips, phone calls, insurance, portage, soft/hard drinks, meals unless not specified etc.
  5. Anything which is not mentioned in the 'Inclusions' shall not be the part of this package.

Please Note:

  1. As the above is a customized package of a private tour, we can modify the tour and services as per your requirement.
  2. Any specific requirement, special interest tour, conferences, seminar, shopping, national events, fair and festivals, meeting with local people, safaris, excursion, and meal plan, accommodation etc., can be arranged accordingly at additional cost, if any.
  3. During the National Ceremonies, Major Sports Events, New Year, Christmas, Fair and Festivals the package cost will be worked out accordingly.

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