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Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour with Taj Mahal ( 10 Days / 9 Nights )

Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights

Destination: Delhi - Delhi to Agra to Patna - Patna / Nalanda / Rajgir / Bodhgaya - Varanasi / Kushinagar - Kushinagar / Lumbini / Sravasti - / Lucknow / Delhi – Superfast Shatabdi Exp - depart Delhi

Day 01 - Arrive Delhi
Meeting and greetings on arrival at Delhi's International Airport and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 2 At Delhi
Morning after breakfast at the hotel commence full day city tour of Old and New Delhi. In Old Delhi you will visit Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana - the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Jama Masjid and drive past Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. In New Delhi visit Qutub Minar built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibek in 1199, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate (War Memorial Arch), Lakshminarayan Temple - a modern Hindu Temple. Also drive past President's House, Parliament House, Government Secretariat Buildings & Connaught Place shopping centre. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 03 – Delhi to Agra to Patna
Early morning transfer to New Delhi Railway Station to board superfast Shatabdi Express train for Agra at 6.15 AM. Meeting on arrival at Agra Railway Station at 8.12 AM and commence sightseeing to visit world famous Taj Mahal. Arjuman Banu the niece of Nur Jahan, at the age of 21 married Shan Jahan and took on the name that has passed through time: Mumtaz Mahal, the exalted of the palace. When she died, Shah Jahan was grief stricken and vowed to build her a memorial surpassing anything the world had ever seen in beauty and in the wild extravagance. He brought in skilled craftsmen from Persia, turkey, France and Italy. He put a huge army of 20,000 laborers to work, building a whole new village ( Taj Ganj, which still stands) to house them. Taj Mahal - this huge mass of white marble resting on red sandstone is a jewel, fashioned over 17 years. The work ended on the exact anniversary of Mumtaz Mahal's death. Glimpsed from the enormous main gateway inscribed with verses of the Koran (the entire Koran is said to be reproduced on its walls), the Taj Mahal reveals with the suddenness of a jewel box opening before your eyes , Red Fort built by three generations of Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 AD, which is a masterpiece of design and construction. It housed both the residential Palaces of the Royal family, and the military quarters, and Sikandra. The tomb of Akbar features prominently during travel to Sikandra. Started by the Mughal emperor himself, the monument was completed by his son Jehangir. Mughal architecture's finesse and grandeur is clearly etched in these monuments. Built in red sandstone, the monument is fringed by beautiful lush gardens. The Buland Darwaza is its entrance. Huge mosaic patterns adorn the gateway.

Evening transfer to Tundla Railway Station to board overnight train for Patna. Overnight on board.

Day 04 - Arrive Patna
Meeting on arrival at Patna Railway Station and transfer to the hotel for check in. Later after some relax excursion to Vaishali where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon announcing his approaching Nirvana. Visit stupas holding urns containing ashes of Buddha and Ashoka pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka to mark places sanctified by Buddha. The place is also known now for famous Madhubani paintings. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05 - Patna / Nalanda / Rajgir / Bodhgaya
Morning drive down to Bodhgaya enroute visiting Nalanda - the world's oldest university founded in the 5th century. Also visit monasteries and temples with impressive Buddhist & Hindu images. The Institute for research into Buddhism and Pali literature which houses rare manuscripts, is also worth visiting for the enthusiasts. Archaeological museum is also not to be missed for the rare collectionsand and Rajgir capital of 6th century Magadha empire. It was revered site of Buddha's discourses. Buddha spent many years here. Visit Gridhrakula, Sapataparni cave, Ajatsatru fort and Venuvana..
Arrive Bodhgaya and overnight in the hotel.

Day 06 - Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres. It was here that Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha under the "Bodhi" tree Satabodhi temple, Japanese and Tibetan monasteries along with Magadha university museum are also to be visited. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07 - Bodhgaya / Varanasi
Early morning after breakfast depart for Varanasi (243 kms / 6 hrs) by road (if one so desires one can go by train to Varanasi for Gaya). Arrive by afternoon and transfer to hotel. Afternoon excursion to Sarnath, the principle centre of Buddhism. It was here around 530 B.C that Buddha preached his 1st sermon after gaining enlightenment. Also visit Dhamekh and Dharmarajika stupas.

Day 08 - Varanasi / Kushinagar
Early morning boat ride on river Ganges to see the beautiful sunrise at Ganges followed by visit to temples and Benaras Hindu University. Late morning drive to Kushinagar - the place where Buddha passed into Parinirvana. Visit Ramabha stupa which stands on the spot where the body of the Lord was cremated. Also visit Natha Kumarka Kot enshrining the large recumbent figure of Buddha in the state of Nirvana. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09 - Kushinagar / Lumbini / Sravasti
Morning excursion to Lumbini, the place where Buddha was born. An ancient shrine with an image representing the nativity of Buddha is still preserved. Afternoon drive visit Sravasti and other Buddhist shrines enroute. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10 – Sravasti / Lucknow / Delhi – Superfast Shatabdi Exp.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Lucknow to board Superfast Shatabdi Express trainf or Delhi at 3.35 PM. Meeting on arrival at Delhi Railway Station at 10.05 PM and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay..

Day 11 –depart Delhi
Transfer to the airport in time to board your homebound flight.