BUDDHIST MONASTERIES TOUR
Buddhism is not only a religion, it is the ‘way of life’ or the philosophy of life and that philosophy means ‘love of wisdom’. It is a religion followed by about 300 million people around the world. Buddhism is derived from the word ‘budhi’ which means ‘awaken’. It came into existence about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha who is known as the Lord Buddha, was himself enlightened or awakened. Buddhist can be a path to lead a moral life, to develop wisdom and understanding, and to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions.
Though Buddhism is not the main religion in India but it was born here and its early nurturing was done here in India. Lord Buddha who is also known as Siddhartha was born and raised in India, and attained enlightenment. Hence, India is one of the most important pilgrimages in Buddhism culture.
India is the country of wide and stunning variety of flora and fauna, ancient traditions, amazing architecture, remarkably warm hearted friendly people of various religious faiths. While visiting India choosing a tour package is the better option than organizing it yourself. It’s an absolute use of your money. With a tour package you are very definite regarding the amount you are spending and it completely elaborates, what are the things included in the package and what not. It is a perfect value of your money as you need not to worry about anything and they would arrange everything from accommodation to meal.
Arranging your tour is quite simple and straight forward. All you need to do is to contact any local tour operator and finalize your date of visiting and select the most suited package. Now everything is on your tour operator. The operator will do all the necessary formalities and will arrange your tour. Different tour operators offer different kind of tariffs so it is advisable to choose your tariff wisely and beware of the operators providing under-quoted tariffs.
Buddhism tour India is one of the best tour operators active in India. They offer an 8 nights and 9 days package. The tour starts from Bodh Gaya and ends in Varanasi. Here is a schedule of the tour:
The tour starts with sightseeing of the holy seat of Buddhist religion after you arrive in Bodh Gaya; you arrive and check into your hotel. It is the place where Lord Gautam Buddha achieved enlightenment or ‘awakened’ while meditating under a ‘Boddhi Tree’. The place has a serene temple along with the offshoot of the tree which once offered shade to Lord Buddha. The queen of Emperor Ashok, destroyed the original tree, but a sapling of it was saved in time and was planted in Sri Lanka by his daughter. This offshoot is exactly a sapling of the brought back to Bodh Gaya from Sri Lanka, which is still standing to tell his tale.
Many of the Buddhist nations like Japan, Thailand and Burma have set up their medication centres and monasteries in Bodh Gaya. The Indosan Nipponji Temple, The Tibetan Karma Temple, The Thai Monastery and Namgyal Monastery are a few to name and many others by the Chinese, Bhutanese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Daijokyo, Tamang and Nepali Buddhist communities. Bodh Gaya becomes a festive place during October and March. Along with Monks from Dharmshala who comes to Boch Gaya, Dalai Lama too pays a visit here during December and January. Built adjacent to the enlightenment site, Mahabodhi Temple, is a world heritage. This temple built in 6th century AD was attacked and plundered several times by Muslim invaders in the 11th century.
Next day the tour moves towards Dungeshwari Cave, which is 13 km from Gaya. Before attaining enlightenment or ‘nirvana’, Lord Buddha spent years of sacrament. After the lunch, the tour moves to Gaya to visit the Brahmajuni hills; that is a cave and a temple on the hill top. Then you return back and stay in hotel for night stay.
On the third day, after breakfast, the tour proceeds to Rajgir that is about 70 km and 2 hours by road. Here you arrive and check into your hotel, after it the tour departs for sightseeing.
Rajgir, which was the capital of Magadha Kingdom in the time Lord Buddha, is a pilgrimage for Jain’s and Hindus well. A massive Vishwa-shanti Stupa have built on the Ratnagiri Hill by the Japanese Buddhist, this can be accessed by the chairlifts. This stupa has the status of Lord Budha depicting his four different stages of life – his birth, enlightenment or ‘nirvana’, teaching and death. You can also, see Jain shrines from the hill top, scattered across 26 distant hills. After this the tour returns back to hotel for night stay.
On the fourth day the tour proceeds to Nalanda, about 12 km away from the Rajgir. Spread in 14 hectares, Nalanda University is an archeological complex and the most ancient university. Chinese traveler Xuan Zang, who was also a scholar of Nalanda University during 685 and 762 AD, claims that about 10,000 monks and professors would reside here at that time. After a walk around the ruins, you can visit the Xuan Zang Memorial Hall, it is a Chinese pagoda built by Chinese Buddhists. And then the tour returns to Rajgir Hotel for the night stay.
Journey starts with breakfast and proceeding towards Patna, about 80 km by road. Patna the capital of Bihar; is a base to visit Vaishali and Kesariya. Earlier Patna was known as Patliputra, which was capital of the various dynasties that ruled over the region.
After the lunch, the tour moves to take a local sightseeing tour of the city, which would include Gandhi Museum, Golghar, Quila House, Patna Museum, or Jalan Museum with some really rare relics like Marie Antoinette’s porcelain and Napoleon’s bed; along with the ruins of Patliputra. The tour reruns back to hotel after the sightseeing.
On the 6th day the tour moves to visit Vaishali and Kesaria. Here the lord Buddha preached his last sermon. The ruins here offer a beautiful sightseeing with historic essence. After the lunch, the tour proceeds to Kesaria, 70 km from Vaishali. It is remembered as the place where Lord Buddha gave away his begging bowl before his death. During the rule of Pala King a massive Buddhist Stupa was built which was excavated later. With the end of day the tour return back to Patna for night stay.
Earlier on the 7th day, after the breakfast the tour proceeds for Kushinagar, in Gorakhpur, about 220 km by road. Or else, you can get there by train and drive 55 km from there to historic place. Leaving his last message for all mankind to find their salvation, Lord Buddha took his last breath here. Devoties from across the world have built many monuments in the memory of Lord Buddha.
On the 8th day the tour moves to Sarnath, about 10 km away from Varansi. Buddha gave his first sermon to his followers at Sarnath, after attaining enlightenment. Emperor Ashoka built many monasteries and stupes here but they were destroyed by the Muslim invaders. Some remains were discovered later by the British archeologists in 1835. Among the four main pilgrimage site of the Buddhist religion, Sarnath is one. After this the tour returns back to hotel.
Day 9, the last day of the tour, after the breakfast, the tour moves to take a tour of the holy city of Hindus, Varanasi. The centre of all the religious and spiritual activities, The River Ganga is the lifeline of Varanasi. Take a visit to the various temples and a lovely cruise experience along the river. If you are in Varanasi and you didn’t took part in ‘Ganga Arti’ in the evening, means you lost the most amazing spiritual experience. With this the tour ends and everyone leaves for their preferred destination.