Buddhist Circuit With Sonepur Mela

(Delhi – Lucknow – Sravasti – Lumbini – Kushinagar - Patna – Sonepur – Nalanda – Rajgir – Bodhgaya – Varanasi – Delhi)

Day 01: Arrive at Delhi
Arrive at Delhi, after traditional Welcome representative would assist you at airport & transfer to hotel for check in. Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds the ancient with modern. Its strategic location was the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. In fact, more mythological cities are believed to be here, like the city of Indraprastha from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, founded around 5000 BC. Numerous monuments were built over several centuries by different rulers like Qutub-ud-din Aibek, Alauddin Khilji, Tughlaks, Humayun & Shah Jahan, who built the Walled City Shah Jahanabad. Later in first half of 20th century much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British rule in India. The division in walled city & New Delhi also marks the division in life styles.
Overnight at hotel in Delhi

Day 02: Delhi
After breakfast visit Old Delhi, the 17th century walled city of Shah Jahanabad, Visiting the great Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in the year 1656 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest & best known mosque in India. Later we walk down or take a rickshaw ride through Chandani Chowk, the old marketplace of Shah Jahanabad now a picturesque bazaar to reach Red Fort, built in the year 1648 by Shah Jehan. In New Delhi, we visit Raj Ghat, memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. Further we drive past India Gate, memorial built in the year 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I & the Afghan Wars. The names of the soldiers who died in these wars are inscribed on the walls. President's House, the official residence of the President of India, built in the year 1931. Until 1950 it was known as Viceroy's House & served as the residence of the Governor-General of British India. We will also visit Humayun's Tomb, memorial of Mughal Emperor Humayun, built in the year 1562. The complex is a World Heritage Site & the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India. Qutub Minar built in the year 1206 by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. It is the tallest (72m) brick minaret in the world, an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. Qutub Minar & its monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight at hotel in Delhi

Day 03: Delhi – Lucknow by train (Shatabdi Train @ 0615/1230 Hrs) Lucknow-Sravasti (160 Kms, 03-04 Hrs)
After breakfast assistance on check out departure transfer railway station for board the train for Lucknow. On arrival Lucknow our representative meets & drives to Sravasti. Check in at hotel Overnight at hotel in Saravasti

Day 04: Sravasti – Lumbini (210 Kms 05-06 Hrs)
After breakfast visit Sahet Mahet. Later leave for Lumbini- the birthplace of the Buddha, was located in 1890 after being untraced for 1,500 years, enroute visit Kapilvastu - it was in Kapilavastu's opulent environs, that the holy soul of prince Siddharth (Gautam Buddha) spent his childhood. Here he saw sorrow and pain, disease and death. Then, finally when he saw a radiant happy Sadhu who had conquered all these, he decided to renounce all worldly riches and pleasures to seek truth and embark on the path of salvation. On arrival transfer to hotel Overnight at hotel in Lumbini

Day 05: Lumbini – Kushinagar (170 Kms, 04-05 Hrs)
After breakfast visit Birth place of Lord Buddha, Later leave for Kushinagar - Kushinagar is where the Buddha finally attained Mahaparmirvana. Amongst the ruins are the Mukutbandhan Stupa and a beautiful statue of the reclining Buddha on arrival transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit Nirvana Temple, Ramabhar Stupa & Cremation site of Lord Buddha .Overnight at hotel in Kushinagar

Day 06: Kushinagar – Patna (270Km 5-6Hrs)
After breakfast drive to Patna. Enroute visit Vaishali. Vaishali is an important destination in the Buddhist circuit because this is where Buddha announced his approaching Nirvana (salvation) to his disciples. Emperor Ashoka erected a lion pillar here to mark this event and it stands ti today. Also visit the Vaishali Museum and see figures, old coins and photographs of the excavations. Later continue your drive to Patna. Overnight at hotel in Patna

Day 07: Patna – Sonepur (30 Kms, 1Hrs)
After breakfast drive to Sonepur. Sonepur Mela is 0ne of the most astonishing cattle fairs to be held in Asia in terms of its size and scale. The sleepy little town of Sonepur (30 km. from Patna) is thrown into frenzy on Kartik Purnima, in the month of November, this fair commemorates Harihar Nath. Also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela, the Sonepur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia. Till date, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia and stretches on from fifteen days to one month. Another major attraction is the sight of numerous elephants, beautifully decorated for the purpose of sale. However, people from forest departments and those involved with logging operations mostly purchase these elephants. Also, a large number of horses are also traded at the Sonepur Mela. Folk shows, games and jugglers further add to the attraction of the Sonepur Cattle Fair.
Overnight at hotel in Sonepur

Day 08: Sonepur – Nalanda – Rajgir – Bodhgaya
After early morning breakfast drive to Nalanda, a great Buddhist centre for more than 1000 years until the monastery, school and library were sacked and burnt by Muslims. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsan stayed here for 5 years in the early 7th cent. AD. There were 10.000 monks and students in residence. The remains are still extensive and include the "Great Stupa" with steps, terraces and a few still intact stupas around it.
Further drive to Rajgir or Rajagriha. It was the capital of Magadha Empire before Patliputra occupied from 1800 BC. Visit Gridhkuta, the "Hill of Vultures". It was one of Buddha's favorite places where he delivered many important sermons. Also visit Saptaparni Cave on Vaibhara Hill. The first Buddhist council was held here and Buddha's teachings were written down for the first time. Visit Vishwa Shanti stupa & Venuvana, the bamboo grove where Buddha spent some time. Later continue your drive to Bodhgaya. It was here that Siddhartha meditated for 48 days under a "Bodhi" tree and was enlightened on the 49th day and became Buddha, the enlightened one on arrival in Bodhgaya, check in at the hotel
Overnight at hotel in Bodhgaya

Day 09: Bodhgaya - Varanasi (250 Kms, 05-06 Hrs)
After breakfast visit Mahabodhi Temple & Bodhi Tree, Great Buddha Statue, Niranjana River, Sujata Temple - which is across the Niranja River & its 30 minutes walk through the paddy fields. Also visit various other Buddhist Temples of Bodhgaya Tour with Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour. Later drive to Varanasi, carrying box lunch on arrival transfer to hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Varanasi

Day 10: Varanasi
After breakfast boat ride over holy river Ganges which will take you to is famous bathing ghats (banks) where hundreds of pilgrims can be seen cleansing their souls by taking a holy dip. Also visit its burning ghats where bodies are cremated after performing the last rites according to ancient Hindu customs return hotel. After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing of Varanasi ancient city. Varanasi-This sacred city over two thousand years old is the holiest city of the Hindus and a great centre of learning and civilization. It has now more than 200 temples and shrines. Visit Bharat Mata temple, Durga temple, Banaras Hindu University. Drive past the and local bazaars, brocades & you can also visit the famous Banarasi silk sari shops. Later excursion to Sarnath, the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the basic principles of Buddhism. It has been a premier centre for Buddhism & has a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics & antiques comprising numerous Buddha & Bodhisattva images on display at the Archaeological Museum. Overnight at hotel in Varanasi

Day 11: Varanasi -Delhi (By Flight)
After breakfast assistance on checkout departure transfer Varanasi airport. Arrive Delhi representative would assist you at airport & transfer to hotel for check in. Evening is free for you. Overnight at hotel in Delhi

Day 12: Delhi (Departure)
Breakfast at hotel in time transfer to International airport to board flight for onward destination.