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club travels

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Covering Cities : Delhi / Lucknow / Sravasti / Lumbini /Kushinagar / Patna / Nalanda / Rajgir / Bodhgaya / Varanasi / Agra / Delhi
Tour Duration : 9 Nights / 10 Days


CLUB'S BUDDHA'S FOOT STEP

Covering Cities : Delhi / Jaipur / Agra / Varanasi /Bodhgaya / Vaishali / Kushinagar / Lumbini / Kapilvastu / Sravasti / Balrampur / Lucknow / Delhi
Tour Duration : 14 Nights / 15 Days


Related Tours
Amarnath Yatra
Char Dham Yatra
India Temple Tour
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Buddhist Sites :

From Siddharta to Sakyamuni and finally to the Buddha or the Enlightened one - an incredible transformation of a prince to an enlightened teacher, who walked the earth more than 2500 years ago. Upon seeing sorrow, misery, pain and death, in the prime of his youth, prince Siddharth decided to discover their causes and means of overcoming their occurrences. Thus renouncing worldly pleasures and leaving home and family behind , he traveled from place to place until finally attained enlightenment by fixed meditation under the Bodhi Tree. He then preached the truth he discovered, and exhorted his disciplines to follow the Eight Fold Path for the cessation of the endless cycle of birth and re-birth.

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KAPILAVASTU (PIPRAHWA) :

The capital city of SAKYA clan, and one of the earliest republics, it was in Kapilavast,s opulent environs, that holy soul of prince Siddharth (Gautam Buddha) spent his childhood. Here he saw sorrow and pain , disease and death. The place holds significant value for Buddhist pilgrims and has several Stupas. The archaeological excavations have revealed stone caskets containing relics believed to be that of Buddha's.

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BODHGAYA :

The four most holy places associated with Buddha are Lumbini, in Nepal, where he was born; Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he first preached his message; Kushinagar, near Gorakhpur, where he died; and Bodhgaya, where he attained enlightenment. For the traveller, Bodhgaya is probably the most interesting of the four, being much more of a working Buddhist center than an archaeological site. It’s also the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world.
The focal point is the Mahabodhi Temple which marks the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment and set out on his life of preaching.
Buddhists from all over the world flock to Bodhgaya, along with non-Buddhists who come to learn about Buddhism and meditation. Bodhgaya is small and quiet, but growing rapidly and accumulating all the usual ‘tourism’ paraphernalia. However, it is still a pleasant place to stay a few days. The best time to visit is during winter when Tibetan pilgrims come down from Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama often spends December here. When the Tibetans leave in mid-February they seem to take some of the atmosphere with them.

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Mahabodhi Temple :

Standing adjacent to a descendent of the original bodhi tree under which Buddha meditated on the excesses of life and the formulated his philosophy of a balanced approach to it, this temple is a place of pilgrimage for all Buddhists.
A sapling from the original Bodhi tree was carried to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta (the Emperor Ashoka’s daughter). That tree now flourishes there and, in turn, a cutting from it was carried back to Bodhgaya when the original tree died. A red sandstone slab under the tree is said to be the Vajrasan, or diamond throne, on which Buddha sat.
The Mahabodhi Temple stands on the site of a temple erected by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Topped by a 50m pyramidal spire, the ornate structure houses a large gilded image of Buddha. The current temple was restored in the 11th century, and again in 1882. The stone railing around the temple, parts of which still stand, is considered to be from the Sunga period (around 184-172 BC). The carved and sculptured railing has been restored, although parts of it now stand in the museum in Calcutta and in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Stone stupas, erected by visiting pilgrims, dot the temple courtyard.
There is a great sense of peace and serenity within the temple compound. Pilgrims and visitors from all walks of life and religions come here to worship or just admire.

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Monasteries :

Most countries with a large Buddhist population have a temple or monastery here, usually built in a representative architectural style. Thus the Thai temple looks very much like the colourful wats you see in Thailand. The Tibetan temple and monastery were built in 1934 and contain a large prayer wheel.
The Burmese, who led the campaign to restore the Mahabodhi Temple in the 19th century, built their present monastery in 1936. The Japanese temple (Indosan Nipponji) has from Japan – across the road is the Daijokyo Temple. There are also Chinese, Sri Lankan, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Korean, Taiwanese and Bangladeshi monasteries. The Tai Bodhi Kham Monastery was built by Buddhist tribes from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

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Other Attractions :

The archaeological museum (10am to 5pm) has a small collection of Buddha figures and pillars found in the area. The Hindu Shankaracharaya Math has a temple, and there’s a sculpture gallery in the grounds. Across the river are the Dungeshwari and Suraya temples.
The 25m Great Buddha Statue in the Japanese Kamakura style was unveiled by the Dalai Lama in 1989. There’s a plan to build a Maitreya Buddha statue over 100m high in Bodhgaya as a symbol of world peace.
Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar, reckoned as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage center, is the place where Lord Sakyamuni(Gautam Buddha) entered into meditation after being moved by the sufferings of mankind.The giant Bodhi Tree (Peepal) that we see today is believed to have grown from the original Bodhi Tree under which, sitting on the raised platform, Prince Siddharth meditated and finally attained Nirvana. Then there is Chaukramana, the jewel walk, where it is believed that the Buddha strolled while in deep thought.

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SARNATH :

The Buddha came to this hamlet, 10km north-east of Varanasi, to preach his message of the ‘middle way’ to nirvana after he achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya. Later, the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka erected magnificent stupas and monasteries here.
Sarnath was at its peak when the indefatigable Chinese traveller Fahsien visited the site early in the 5th century AD. When Xuan Zhang, another Chinese traveller, dropped by in 640 AD, Sarnath had 1500 priests, a stupa nearly 100m high, Ashoka’s mighty stone pillar and many other wonders. The city was known as the Deer Park, after the Buddha’s famous first sermon, The Sermon in the Deer Park.
Soon after, Buddhism went into decline and when Muslim invaders destroyed and desecrated the city’s buildings, Sarnath became little more than a shell. It was not until 1835 when British archaeologists started excavations that Sarnath regained some of its past glory. It’s now a major Buddhist center.
Most of Sarnath’s monuments are set in landscaped gardens, making it a pleasant place to spend half a day. During the Buddha Purnima Festival in May, Sarnath celebrates the birth of the Buddha with a big fair and a procession. Although you may be able to arrange to stay in some of Sarnath’s monasteries, you’d be better off going to Bodhgaya or Dharamsala if you’re interested in studying Buddhism.

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Dhamekh Stupa :

This 34m stupa dominates the site and is believed to mark the spot where the Buddha preached his famous sermon. In its present from it dates from around 500 AD but was probably rebuilt a number of times. The geometrical and floral patterns on the stupa are typical of the Gupta period, but excavations have reveled brickwork from the Mauryan period- around 200 BC. Originally there was a second stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa, but this was reduced to rubble by 19th century treasure seekers.
The nearby Jain Temple, built in 1824, is thought to mark the birthplace of the 11th Jain Tirthankar, Shreyanshnath.

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Main Shrine & Ashoka Pillar :

Ashoka is said to have meditated in the building known as the ‘main shrine’. The foundations are all that can now be seen, and to the north of it are the extensive ruins of the monasteries.
Standing in front of the main shrine are the remains of Ashoka’s pillars. At one time this stood over 20m high, but the capital is now in the Archaeological Museum, significantly shortening the column. An edict issued by Ashoka is engraved on the remaining portion of the column.

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Archaeological Museum :

The main attraction at this excellent museum is the superb capital from the Ashokan pillar. It has the Ashokan symbol of four back-to-back lions, which has been adopted as the state emblem of modern India. Below this are representations of a lion, elephant, horse and bull. The lion represents bravery, the elephant symbolizes the dream Buddha’s mother had before his birth, and the horse recalls that Buddha left his home on horse recalls that Buddha left his home on horse-back in search of enlightenment.
Other finds from the site include figures and sculptures from Sarnath’s Mauryan, Kushana and Gupta periods. Among them is the (very fine) earliest Buddha image found at Sarnath and many images of Hindu gods dating from the 9th to 12th centuries.

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Mulgandha Kuti Vihar :

This modern Mahabodhi Society temple has a series of frescoes by the Japanese artist Kosetsu Nosi in the interior. A bodi tree growing here was transplanted in 1931 from the tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, which in turn is said to be an offspring of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment.

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Other Temples & Deer Park :

You can visit the modern temples in the Thai, Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese and Japanese monasteries.
The Chaukhandi Stupa dates from the Gupta period. There’s a good view from the Gupta period. There’s a good view from the Moghul tower, which was built by Akbar
North of the Mulgandha Kuti Vihar is the deer park, where the deer inmates are accompanied by some Indian birds and waterfowl.
Saranath, about 10kms from the holy city of Varanasi, is the blessed locale where more than 2,500 years ago Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon, after attaining Nirvana.

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RAJGIR :

This was the capital of the Magadha empire until Ajatasatru moved to Pataliputra (Patna) in the 5th century BC. Today, Rajgir, 19km south of Nalanda, is a minor Indian holiday centre. In winter, visitors are drawn by the hot springs and healthy climate.
Rajgir is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site since Buddha spent 12 years here, and the first Buddhist council after Buddha attained nirvana was held here. It’s also an important place for Jains, as Mahavira spent some time in Rajgir and the hills are topped with Digambara (the ‘sky-clad’ Jain Sect) shrines. A mention in the Mahabharata also ensures that there is a good supply of Hindu pilgrims.

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Thing to See :

Most people rent a tonga for half a day to see the sites, as they’re spend out over several kilometers.
Main sites include parts of the ruined city, caves and places associated with Ajatasatru and his father Bhimbisara, whom he imprisoned and murdered. The pink building by the crowded hot springs is the Lakshmi Narayan Temple.
There’s also a Burmese temple, an interesting Jain exhibition and a modern Japanese temple. On the top of Ratnagiri Hill, 3km south of the hot springs, is the Japanese Shanti Stupa, reached by a chairlift (10 am to 5 pm)

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PAWPURI :

Mahavira, the final Tirthankar and founded of Jainism, died and was cremated here in about 500 BC. It is said the demand for his sacred ashes was so great that a large amount of soil was removed around the funeral pyre, creating the lotus-filled tank. A marble temple, the Jalmandir, was later built in the middle of the tank and is now a major pilgrimage spot for Jains.
Rajgir, meaning "the Royal Palace", (Raja Griha) lies 12kms south of Patna. The Gridhakuta Hill, in Rajgir, was the seat from where Buddha delivered many of his sermons. It was here that the teachings of Buddha were recorded in writing for the first time. An aerial ropeway takes visitors up the hill where the Japanese have built a beautiful Stupa.


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