Indo-Nepal Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour
Destinations Covered: Delhi, Varanasi, Sarnath, Sravasti, Lumbini, Kapilvastu, Namo Buddha Shrine, Kathmandu, Kushinagar, Kesaria, Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir, Bodhgaya.
- Delhi: The Indo – Nepal Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour starts with Delhi, the capital city of India. Delhi is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world with a long history and diverse heritage. Delhi is home to three of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and numerous other significant historical heritage sites within its small geographical area. The history of Delhi goes back to the second millennium BC, while she has been continuously inhabited since at least 6th century BC. The three World Heritage Sites in Delhi are the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, and Kutab Minar, and they are major tourist attractions in the city along with other monuments like Akshardham temple, India Gate, Lotus temple, Purana Quila, and many others. Delhi is also famous for her street foods and a plethora of shopping opportunities across the city.
- Kathmandu: Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is also the cultural and tourism epicenter of the Himalayan nation. Kathmandu valley is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites out of the list of four World Heritage Sites in the country. The major places of tourism in Kathmandu valley are the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan, and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Besides Kathmandu is also the gateway to several of the adventure activities in the hill country including mountaineering, rafting, trekking, and others.
- Namo Buddha: Namo Buddha is one of the most important destinations of Buddhist Pilgrimage tour in south Asia. It is the very site where Buddha offered his body to the starving tigress and her young cubs in one of his previous births as Bodhisattva. The Namo Buddha shrine is located around forty kilometers from the Kathmandu Valley and located on a slightly elevated land, with a mesmerising view of the Himalayan mountain range. Namo Buddha is a peaceful and quiet place, a perfect destination for mediation, and gaining spiritual bliss. The scene of Buddha offering his body to the tigress is engraved in a stone, which can be seen walking uphill from the stupa. There is another smaller stupa on the second hill of the same ridge, which marks the den of the tigress. Namo Buddha is also famous across the world for the ancient Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery.
- 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.
Retrace Buddha’s steps by visiting the most significant Buddhist places in India and Nepal. Your journey starts in the ancient city Varanasi and continues to Lumbini, Buddha’s place of birth. In Nepal, you will visit several UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as the capital city Kathmandu. This tour takes you to the four major pilgrimage sites mentioned by the Buddha (Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar) and the three major sites of miracles performed by Buddha (Sravasti, Vaishali, and Rajgir). In addition, you will travel to the highest stupa (Kesaria Stupa) 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 (Sravasti, Vaishali, Rajgir)
- Namo Buddha Shrine – where Bodhisattva fed his own blood and flesh to a starving tigress.
- 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites (Bodhgaya ,Nalanda, Lumbini, Kathmandu Valley, Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humaun’sTomb)
- The highest stupa in the world (Kesaria Stupa)
- One of the oldest universities in the world (Nalanda Mahavihara)