Buddhist pilgrimage tourism in India and Nepal is a popular form of travel for those seeking to connect with the spiritual teachings of Buddhism. Both India and Nepal have a rich history of Buddhism, and are home to some of the most important Buddhist sites in the world.
In India, the state of Bihar is considered the birthplace of Buddhism, as it was here that the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and attracts visitors from all over the world. Other important Buddhist sites in Bihar include Nalanda, where the ancient Nalanda University was located, and Rajgir, where the Buddha spent many years in meditation.
In addition to Bihar, other states in India that are popular for Buddhist pilgrimage tourism include Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, and Ladakh. In Uttar Pradesh, the city of Varanasi is an important site for Buddhists as it is believed to be the place where the Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Sikkim and Ladakh are both located in the Himalayas and are home to several important monasteries and stupas.
Nepal, too, has a rich history of Buddhism and is home to some of the most important Buddhist sites in the world. The Kathmandu Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to several important Buddhist sites including the Boudhanath Stupa and the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple. Another important Buddhist site in Nepal is Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, which is located near the border with India.
Buddhist pilgrimage tourism in India and Nepal offers visitors a unique opportunity to connect with the spiritual teachings of Buddhism and to explore the rich history and culture of these two countries. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient monasteries, meditating in peaceful surroundings, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of these sacred sites, a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in India and Nepal is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Arrival at Varanasi and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at Varanasi.
Varanasi- Kaushambi – Varanasi Morning proceed for Kaushambi which is about 187 kms / 4-5 hrs drive. Kaushambi was visited by Buddha in the 6th and 9th years after his enlightenment. He delivered several sermons here,elevating it to a center of learning for Buddhist . today one can see the ruins of an ashokan pillar,an old fort and ghositaram monastery. Return to Varanasi Hotel for overnight stay.
Varanasi Early morning visit Ghats followed by Ganga Aarti at Dasaswamedh Ghat. Afternoon proceed on a half day tour of Sarnath, 10 km from Varanasi, where the Buddha preached his first sermon in the Deer Park, contains the most impressive remains, as well as a modem temple. The Dharmarajika, Chaukhandi and Dhamek stupas are outstanding. There are also the remains of a monastery, and the beautifully polished Lion Capital of Ashoka. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Varanasi – Bodhgaya Early Morning proceed for Bodhgaya which is about 247 kms / 6-7 hrs drive. Bodhgaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment. On arrival check into hotel and Visit Maha Bodhi Temple , Bodhi Tree,The Great Buddha Statue, Niranjana River, Sujata Temple and the Chinese Temple. Later, return to the hotel and have a comfortable stay at night.
Bodhgaya Early morning visit Mahabodhi Temple for prayer. Later proceed for Barabar . Visit Barabar Cave. The Barabar caves, which is a group of small caves on the Barabar hills located at a distance of 40 km from Bodhgaya in Bihar, comprise numerous temples constructed from black granite stones. Built for the first time during Ashoka’s reign with contributions in the later period also, these caves look like wood from a distance. The Barabar caves consist of mainly three types – 1. Nagarjuna caves, 2. Cave of five Pandavas, and 3. Hut Caves. Return to Bodhgaya Hotel for overnight stay.
Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Vashali Early morning proceed for patna which is about 180 kms / 5 hrs drive. Enroute visit Rajgir and Nalanda. Rajgir was the capital of the Magadha kingdom and is a pilgrimage for Jains and Hindus as well. The Japanese Buddhists have built the massive Vishwashanti Stupa on the Ratnagiri Hill which can be accessed by a chairlift. The stupa has statues of Buddha at the four stages of his life – birth, enlightenment, teaching and death. From the hill top, the Jain shrines can also be viewed scattered across 26 distant hills. Griddhakuta, located on Ratnagiri Hill is another site where Buddha stopped by to preach. Later afternoon proceed for Nalanda. Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. Nalanda was a centre of learning from the seventh century BCE to c. 1200 CE. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After that continue drive to Patna. Arrive in Patna and check into hotel. If time is permitted on same day. Visit Patna museum and other sightseeing Return to hotel for night stay.
Vaishali – Kesariya – Kushinagar Early morning proceed to Kushinagar (approx. 300 kms and 15 hrs drive). Enroute visiting Buddhist sites Vaishali and Kesariya. Vaishali – place where Buddha announced the approaching of his Mahaparinirvana. Later drive to Kesariya – visit Kesariya World’s largest Stupa. Dating back to Pala period (200 AD to 750 AD), with its 425 meters circumference and 52 feet (which was originally 51 meters) height, Kesariya is claimed as the second largest and highest Stupa in the world. Buddha is believed to rest at this place during his final journey from Vaishali to Kushinagar and also donated his begging bowl for cheering up followers when he persuaded them to leave him. After that continue drive to Kushinagar (place where Lord Buddha had left the world behind him after offering an invaluable contribution to humanity, the great religion known as Buddhism). On arrival Kushinagar, transfer to hotel. Overnight stay at Kushinagar hotel.
Kushinagar Early morning visit temple for worship. Later, visit sightseeing in Khushinagar. Left time you free for different activities Day 10: Kushinagar – Lumbini(Nepal) Morning visit Kushinagar (place where Lord Buddha had left the world behind him after offering an invaluable contribution to humanity, the great religion known as Buddhism ) sightseeing -Mahaparinirvana Temple (where Buddha took his last breathe) and Rambhar Stupa (cremation site of Lord Buddha). Later drive to Lumbini – the birth place of Lord Buddha (180 kms and 05 hrs drive). On arrival, transfer to hotel. visit the birth place of Buddha – Mayadevi Temple. This place is a blessed one for its serenity and the natural beauty, purely coinciding to the perception of a place where the legend was born. Overnight stay at Lumbini hotel.
Lumbini –Kapilavastu- Shravasti Morning proceed to Shravasti (approx. 256 kms and 15hrs drive). Enrotue visit Kapilavastu- the childhood home of Gautam Buddha & also visit ruins of the Palaces. On arrival Shravasti, check-in hotel. overnight stay at shravasti hotel.
Shravasti, In the morning proceed to Shravasti where the Buddha preached most of his sermons. Here he is said to have performed many miracles, and levitated. During the monsoon, he used to stay at the Jetavana monastery on the outskirts of this town. Visit various tourist spots such as Anand Bodhi tree, ruins of the Jetavana monastery, age-old stupas, Sahet Mahet and Angulimal caves. Overnight stay in Shravasti.
Shravasti – Lucknow Morning Ambedkar Park drive (190 kms / approx. 5.5 hrs drive) to Lucknow. Check-in hotel . later, visit Ambedkar park & lucknow s sightseeing and overnight stay at Hotel in Lucknow.
Lucknow In the morning transfer to Railway station. Departure for onward journey.