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Cultural Buddhist India Tours

CULTURAL BUDDHIST INDIA TOURS

Mumbai – Kanheri Caves – Lonavala Kamshet – Aurangabad – Udaipur – Pushkar – Jaipur – Agra – Varanasi – Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Patna – Delhi

DAY 01: ARRIVE MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Assistance by our Company Representative at Mumbai International airport arrival Terminal, transfer to your prebooked hotel, relax & overnight in Mumbai.

DAY 02: MUMBAI Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, after breakfast meet the guide who will take you to city tour visiting Gateway of India – The imposing stone archway in Indo-Saracenic architecture built in 1911, later cruise by motor boats to Elephanta island, island which was known as Gharapuri earlier is the glorious abode of Lord Shiva. This island was renamed, Elephanta by the Portuguese who landed here, after they saw the majestically carved elephant on this island. Spread over an area of 500 sq mt is the cave temple of Elephanta. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where it is set. The temple houses large pillars that seem to hold the ceiling which is made of cross beams. The picturesque presentation of the 9 marvelous sculptured panels, set on the walls is awe-inspiring. The most famous of the panels is the Trimurthi, or triple-headed Shiva, where the God is depicted as the destroyer, the preserver and the creator. Later in the afternoon cruise back to Gateway of India. Later visit Prince of Wales Museum, Parliament House, Marine Drive, Jain Temple, Hanging Gardens, Mani Bhawan, Mahalaxmi Temple and Dhobhi Ghat – the Indian Laundry system. Evening free for leisure, overnight in Bombay.

DAY 03: MUMBAI – KAMSHET – KANHERI CAVES – MUMBAI After breakfast take an excursion tour of 100 kms from Mumbai to Kamshet near Lonavala Hill Station to see the Karla & Bhaja Buddhist Caves, after visiting drive to Kanheri Buddhist Caves of 6th Century which is located in the heart of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Evening free to relax after the long tour, overnight you will staying at the hotel in Mumbai.

DAY 04: MUMBAI – AURANGABAD (BY AIR AT 0700 HRS / ARR AT 0800 HRS) Morning transfer to the airport to board the flight for Aurangabad at 0700 hrs, assistance on arrival in Aurangabad at 0800 hrs, transfer to hotel. The city – named after Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, is now more renown for its close proximity to Rock hewn caves of Ajanta and Ellora. After freshen up visit Ellora Caves carved between 7th & 11th century AD. Carved in sickle shaped hill, spread north to south in a area of 3 kms. Of these caves 12 are Buddhists, 17 are Hindus and 5 are Jains. The most remarkable of the carved shrines at Ellora is the Kailasa Temple, chiseled out by hand from single rock with Gateway, Pavilion, Courtyard, Assembly Hall, Vestibule, Sanctum and Tower-hall. Later drive back to Aurangabad & visit the City of Aurangabad visiting Bibi Ka Maqbara & Pan Chakki, evening free to relax, overnight in Aurangabad.

DAY 05: AURANGABAD – AJANTA CAVES – AURANGABAD (105 KMS ONE WAY – 2 HRS) After breakfast take an excursion tour to Ajanta caves. Dated back to 200 BC and 650 BC. These 30 Buddhist caves hewn painstakingly are cut into the scrap of a cliff are Chaityas (Chapels) & Viharas (Monasteries). These caves are known for their architectural beauty and for their remarkable frescoes- paintings with infinite charm , which speak about the civilization of more than 2000 years. Painting in the caves and sculptures outside speak of some kind of transformation from Hinayana in the earlier caves to Mahayana in the latter caves where Buddha is shown in an human form. Drive back to Aurangabad, evening free to relax, overnight in Aurangabad.

DAY 06: AURANGABAD – UDAIPUR (BY AIR AT 1530 HRS / ARR AT 1700 HRS) After breakfast day free to visit the City of Aurangabad, afternoon checkout & transfer to airport to board the flight for Udaipur at 1530 hrs, assistance on arrival in Udaipur by Companys Representative at 1700 hrs, transfer to lake side hotel in Udaipur, evening stroll near the Ghats & see the daily chores of People on the bank of Lake Pichola, relax & overnight at the hotel in Udaipur.

DAY 07: UDAIPUR Enjoy breakfast at the Restaurant of the hotel over looking the lake, meet your guide after breakfast & start your sight seeing tour of Udaipur visiting the City Palace Complex – part of City Palace Complex are 2 hotels belonging to Maharana of Udaipur visit Durbar Hall, Palace Museum, Jagdish Temple – The Diety of the Maharanas of Udaipur, Jagmandir Palace & Crystal Gallerry, also see the collection of Vintage Cars belonging to His Highness of Udaipur. Later in the day visit Sahelion ki Baari (Recreation Club of olden days specially made in the honour of the Royal Ladies to meet friends), Shilp Gram & Lok Kala Mandal – a museum of ethnic village art. Evening take an excursion tour to the Ruins of Nagda not very far from Udaipur a pretty half an hour drive from the lake city you will reach Nagda to see the Sas Bahu Temple & the famous Temple of Lord Ek Lingji on the bank of Lake Bagel, evening drive back to Udaipur & pack your bags for tomorrow to leave for Pushkar.

DAY 08: UDAIPUR – RANAKPUR – PUSHKAR (275 KMS – 5 TO 7 HRS INCLUDING SIGHT SEEING) Morning leave for Pushkar after breakfast at hotel, enroute visiting the famous hand carved marble temple of Ranakpur of 12th Century which is standing on 1444 carved marble pillars & each pillar at this temple is carved differently from others & carrying a statue of Jain Deities. Later proceed to Pushkar, on arrival transfer to hotel over looking the Pushkar Lake, Pushkar & its lake is believed to be as old as creations & pilgrimage centre for the Hindus, the only temple of Lord Brahma is situated in Pushkar. Pushkar is also famous for its annual fair which attracts millions of Tourist every year in the month of October / November. Evening visit the Ghats of Pushkar Lake & witness the devotees taking holy dip to get cleansed, overnight in Pushkar.

DAY 09: PUSHKAR – JAIPUR (131 KMS – 2 TO 3 HRS) Morning enjoy breakfast & leave for Jaipur which will take 2 to 3 hrs, on arrival transfer to hotel in the Capital City of Rajasthan also known as Pink City of India, it is literally pink due to all the official buildings painted in pink. Today the day is free to relax, start your evening tour by visiting Temple of Goddess Galta also known as valleys of Monkey due to large monkeys found in the premises of Temple, drive pass through Rani Sati Gardens & visit the pure white Temple of Birlas, evening you will be driven to an ethnic resort to enjoy traditional Rajasthani cuisine with live folk dance & music – a different experience & a chance to see the locals gathering at the venue for enjoyment. Drive back to your hotel for overnight in Jaipur.

DAY 10: JAIPUR Enjoy breakfast at the hotel & start your sight seeing tour of Jaipur by 0900 hrs, drive 11 kms out of the city to reach the Fort of Amber, over here you have choice of reaching the fort on Elephant Back or by open jeeps, though elephant ride is recommended because the Kings at there time use to travel on Elephant back & will give you the same feeling of the golden era visit the Amer Fort & Palace & several chambers & ancient temples in the premises of the fort. After this wonderful experience, we will drive back to the city of Jaipur to continue our sight seeing tour comprising of City Palace Complex, Hawa Mahal – the Palace on winds specially made in the honour of Royal Ladies of the bygone era to watch the processions & other festivals from here without being seen from the eyes of the local crowd. Later visit the Royal Observatory & take a peep into the markets of Jaipur known for the superior quality of Handicrafts, Arts, Gems & Jewellery. Rest of the day is kept free for individual activities, relax & overnight at the hotel in Jaipur.

DAY 11: JAIPUR – FATEHPUR SIKRI – BHARATPUR – AGRA (230 KMS – 6 HRS) After an early breakfast leave for Agra by 0830 hrs enroute enjoy bicycle rides in the National Park of Keoladeo very famous for housing more than 385 species of migratory birds, later we will drive to Agra enroute visiting the city of Fatehpur Sikri built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar but later shifted to Delhi due to scarcity of water in Fatehpur Sikri the most importance places to see in Fatehpur Sikri is Bulund Darwaza, Panch Mahal, & Shrine of Shaikh Salim Chisti. Proceed to Agra & transfer to your prebooked hotel. Evening free to stroll in the markets of Agra, overnight in Agra.

DAY 12: AGRA – VARANASI (BY OVERNIGHT TRAIN AT 2200 HRS) After breakfast get ready to see the 7th wonder of the World – The Great Taj Mahal built by Mughal Icon Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Queen Mumtaz. After admiring the Taj Mahal you will proceed to Agra Fort & visit its Chambers of Kings, Common Man, the prisons & also enjoy a panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from here. Later drive to Ittamuddaulahs Tomb which is also referred as mini Taj for its superb marble inlay works gifted by Mughal King Jehangir to his wife in honour of her Parents. Evening visit the Tomb of the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar at Sikandra & rest of evening is kept free to walk in the markets of Agra & exploring the skills of artisan at the Handicraft factories. You can have dinner at the hotel & time to checkout to catch the train for Varanasi at 2200 hrs, overnight in the train.

DAY 13: VARANASI Assistance on arrival by our Company Representative at Varanasi Railway station at 0800 hrs, you will be transferred to your hotel which is prebooked by the Company. Get fresh quick to start the tour of Varanasi visit the temples of Varanasi – the Golden Temple dedicated to lord Shiva, the Durga temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. Interestingly the Durga Temple is also known as the Monkey Temple due to the large number of monkeys found in the Temple complex. Evening you will enjoy unforgetfull tour of the holy River Ganges and see the various Ghats with people ritually cleansing their sins. While on the boat you will also see the cremation ceremonies of dead bodies as per Hindi Rituals. Later drive back to hotel for overnight.

DAY 14: VARANASI – SARANATH – BODHGAYA (200 KMS – 5 HRS) Morning leave for Bodhgaya after heavy breakfast enroute visiting the Saranath – to see the Chaukhandi Stupa, Ashok Pillar, Dhamek Stupa, Dharamika Stupa, Dhamek Stupa, Archaeological Museum also visit the deer park and Bodhi Tree where Lord Buddha perched his First Sermon. Proceed to Bodhgaya on arrival transfer to hotel. Evening free to relax overnight in Bodhgaya.

DAY 15: BODHGAYA After breakfast set out to the most important day of your pilgrmage tour of the Bodhgaya visiting Mahabodhi temple, Bodhi tree where Lord Buddha received Enlightenment, shrine opposite the Bodhi Tree known as Animeshlochan Chaitya or the place of Unwinking Gaze, Cankamana, shrine of Jewel House, place where buddha conversed with Brahma under the Ajapala Nigrodha tree, Lotus pond or Mucalinda tank, foot of tree Rajayatana where two merchants Tapussa and Bhallika became Buddha’ first disciples. Later visit Mahakala (Dungeswari) cave, located 12 kms from the main town of Bodhgaya. The Vajrasana in Bodhgaya is also known as the Navel of the Earth (puthavinabhim) or the Victory Throne of all Buddhas (sabba buddhanam jayapallankam). The Vajrasana is the place where Lord Buddha achieved divine knowledge, light, wisdom, understanding and vision. After visit day is free for individual activities. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 16: BODHGAYA – NALANDA – RAJGIR – PATNA (180 KMS – 5 HRS) – DELHI (BY AIR AT 1600 HRS / ARR AT 1900 HRS) After breakfast checkout & drive to Patna enroute visiting Rajgir the ancient capital of Magadha kings. The Buddha often visited Rajagriha to retreat at the Jivkamaravana monastery, preaching and meditating on the Gridhakuta Hill. Later proceed to Nalanda the oldest university in the world, founded in the 5th century BC a renowned centre of Buddhist and Jain learning. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler, spent several years here in the 7th century AD. Here visit to Nalanda Archaeological Museum has a magnificent collection of Pali and Mauryan statues, bronze and manuscripts. Nalanda Mahavihara an institute for the study of Pali literature & houses rare Buddhist manuscripts. Later proceed to Patna to board the flight for Delhi at 1600 hrs, assistance on arrival in Delhi at 1900 hrs, transfer to prebooked hotel, relax & overnight in Delhi.

DAY 17: DELHI After breakfast at the hotel, start for a sight seeing tour of Delhi to discover the Old & New Delhi. In Old Delhi you will see the Jama Mosque one of the largest mosque in Asia, the Red Stone Red Fort same as Red Fort of Agra & Chandni Chowk where you will enjoy a rickshaw ride to see the tiny bylanes of this old city. Afternoon take a tour of New Delhi visiting the famous Laxmi Narayan Temple, The India Gate, President House, Parliament House, Humayuns Tomb an architect delight, Qutub Minar & the Lotus Shaped Bahai Temple. Evening free to relax, overnight in Delhi.

DAY 18: DELHI – BACK HOME Now is the time to pack your bags & head back to the same old routine, checkout after breakfast & get transferred to the international airport to board the flight back home.

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