Destinations Covered in Buddhist Pilgrimage with Taj Mahal Tour:
Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Sarnath, Sravasti, Lumbini, Kapilvastu, Kushinagar, Kesaria, Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir, Bodhgaya.
- Agra: Agra is home to one of the Seven Wonders of World, “The Taj Mahal – the monument of eternal love”!! However, Agra is more than just the Taj Mahal, which is reflected by the fact that it is home to three of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Agra are the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is one of the three pillars of the famous Golden Triangle tourist circuit of India. Other important tourist attractions in the tourist city are Itimad-Ud- Daula tomb, Kind Akbar’s Tomb, Chini – Ka- Rauza, Aram Bagh, Mehtab Bagh, and many other monuments of the Mughal era and later periods. Agra is also a heaven for foodies and popular for its Mughal cuisine, Petha, and street food.
- Varanasi: Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city draws Hindu and Buddhist Pilgrims from across the world because of its very high spiritual significance in the religious traditions. The major tourist attraction of the city is the boat ride on the river Ganges and numerous temples and Ghats on the holy river the Ganges.
- Sarnath: Sarnath, is located around 10 km from the ancient city of Varanasi and is one of the most important centers of pilgrimage for the Buddhists. It was here where Buddha preached his first sermon and the Dhammacakkra was set rolling through the preaching of Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta.
- Sravasti: Sravasti was the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom and one of the six largest cities in India at the time of Buddha. It was here in Sravasti where Buddha performed the twin miracles. He also spent 25 annual rainy retreats at Jetavana Vihara and Pubbarama, two monasteries just outside the city.
- Lumbini: Siddhartha, the son of Sakya king Suddhodhana and queen Maya Devi was born in the Lumbini garden in 623 BC. Lumbini, a “UNESCO World Heritage Site”, is located in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. Queen Maya Devi gave birth to little Siddhartha while traveling from Kapilavastu to Devadaha (her parents’ home) to give birth to her first child as per the tradition of that time.
- Kapilvastu: Kapilvastu, the ancient capital of Sakyan Kingdom and the place where Siddhartha spent his 29 years, is around 27 km from Lumbini at the present-day Tilaurakot (in Nepal). This is also the place where Siddhartha renounced the material world in search of enlightenment. The ruins of Kapilvastu include the remains of the fortification wall & eastern and western gates. The Eastern gate, through which Siddhartha took renunciation, is called the Mahabhiniskramana Dwara.
- Kushinagar: Kushinagar is one of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, around 52 km from the town of Gorakhpur. It was earlier called Kusinara and was the capital of Malla kingdom. It is the place where Buddha attained parinirvana at the age of eighty. The followers of Buddhism wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.
- Kesaria Stupa: The Kesaria Stupa is the highest stupa in the world and stands in the East Champaran district around 56 kilometers from Vaishali. The height of the Kesaria Stupa is 32 meters (30 cm taller than the Borobodaur Stupa in Java) and spans 427 meters.
- Vaishali: The ancient city of Vaishali is of great significance to Buddhists on their pilgrimage because it is not merely the place where one of the four major miracles was performed by Buddha, but here Buddha also gave his last sermon before his parinibbana.
- Nalanda: Nalanda, a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” was the home of a famous university and is situated around 70 km from Bodhgaya and 100 km south of Patna. Two chief disciples of Buddha, Sariputra, and Moggallana, belonged to Nalanda. This was possibly the first international residential university in the world, where more than 2,000 teachers and 10,000 monk students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied more than 100 subjects.
- Rajgir: Rajgir is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. This is the place where Buddha subdued Nalagiri, the charging elephant, which is counted as one of the major miracles of Buddha.
- Bodhgaya: Bodhgaya is the holiest site on every Buddhist Pilgrimage and it is the very place where Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. It is a “World Heritage Site” situated in the Indian state of Bihar. During the time of Buddha, this place was called Uruvela and is located on the banks of river Niranjana. The first temple in Bodhgaya was built by King Asoka in 250 BC. The main monastery of Bodhgaya was earlier called Bodhimanda Vihara and is now called the Mahabodhi temple.
For the dreamers and romantics, this tour takes you to the magnificent Taj Mahal (Agra) and the historic city of Varanasi before diving into the spiritual realms along the Buddhist Circuit. You will visit the four major pilgrimage sites mentioned by the Buddha (Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar) as well as the three major sites of miracles performed by Buddha (Sravasti, Vaishali, and Rajgir). In addition, you will travel to the highest stupa (Kesaria) and one of the oldest universities (Nalanda Mahavihara) in the world.
Highlights of the tour:
- The 4 major places of Buddhist pilgrimage mentioned by the Buddha (Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar)
- The 3 places of supreme miracles of Buddha (Sravasti, Vaishali, Rajgir)
- Delhi,the capital city of India
- Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world
- 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites (Bodhgaya, Nalanda, TajMahal, Agra fort and Lumbini)
- The highest stupa in the world (Kesaria Stupa)
- One of the oldest universities in the world (Nalanda)