Footsteps of the Buddha Tour
Embarking on a journey to explore the life of Buddha is an opportunity to delve deeper into the spiritual roots of India. This itinerary covers some of the Indian subcontinent's key Buddhist centres and incorporates the four places pivotal to the life of the Buddha – Lumbini in Nepal, Kushinagar, Sarnath, and Bodh Gaya. The trip is a chance to experience the peace and serenity that comes with Buddhism while admiring the rich history and architecture of India's cities. The trip also includes exploring the rich history and architecture of Lucknow, Patna, and Varanasi, making it an all-encompassing spiritual and cultural journey through India.
- Walk the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi
- Explore Lucknow for it's architecture and wonderful street-food
- See the birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini
- Visit Bodhgaya to see the monasteries and temples
- See the evening pooja (prayers) in Varanasi
Day 01 - Arrive Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be met by your Indus Bound Representative and transferred to your hotel, where you’ll be staying for two nights. Spend the remainder of the day recovering from your journey, and perhaps a stroll around the local neighborhood later.
Day 02 - In Delhi
Explore Delhi today starting with Old Delhi in the morning: enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride in the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk followed by the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. In the afternoon, drive past Lutyens's New Delhi and visit the tomb of Humayun and the Qutab Minar. Spend some time at the Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple for blessings and see & participate in the community kitchen.
[Optional : Cooking Class experience with a local]
Day 03 - Fly to Lucknow
Fly to Lucknow for two nights in the historic and culturally rich city of Lucknow. Spend your rest of the day at leisure.
[Optional : Evening Food Walk in the streets of Lucknow]
Day 04 - In Lucknow
In the morning visit the Residency Complex, site of the infamous siege of 1857 which was one of the first revolts against the British authorities. We also visit the Dilkusha Gardens and La Martinière university. Continue our sightseeing tour of the city with visits to the Islamic Imambara shrine and Romi Darwaja city gate. Round off the day exploring Lucknow's colourful bazaars.
Day 05 - Drive to Sravasti
This morning leave Lucknow and drive to Sravasti (03-04 Hrs). It was here in Sravasti that Buddha gave the majority of his teachings and discourses and where, during the monsoon months, he spent much of his time. Later visit the nearby remains at Jetavana, a monastic complex containing Buddha's hut, as well as the caves at Angulimal.
Day 06 - Drive to Lumbini
Leaving Sravasti, drive towards the Indo-Nepalese border and cross into Nepal. From here continue by road to Lumbini (04-05 Hrs). Lumbini is believed to be the birthplace of Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, who was born here c.563 BC and who lived at this location for the first twenty-nine years of his life.
Day 07 - In Lumbini
Today visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site with your guide. A series of different complexes and temples, the most important place of interest here is an area called the 'Sacred Garden' which contains not only the place where the Buddha is reputed to have been born but also the 3rd or 4th century BC Maya Devi Temple, an Ashokan Pillar, the Pushkarni where the infant Buddha was given his first bath and numerous other interesting archaeological ruins.
Day 08 - Drive to Kushinagar
After breakfast leave Lumbini and, crossing back into India, continue to Kushinagar (04-05 Hrs). Kushinagar is revered as the location of Buddha's death and subsequent cremation. Rediscovered in the 19th century, later visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple and Ramabhar Stupa.
Day 09 - Drive to Patna
This morning leave Kushinagar and drive to Vaishali where the Buddha preached his last sermon, later continue to Patna (06-07 Hrs). Capital of Bihar, this state was not only the early home of Buddhism but was also the birthplace of the Emperor Ashoka. Today Patna is a large city which lines the banks of the River Ganges.
Today explore Patna with your guide. Places of interest include the Gulzaribagh, site of the former East India Company's principle opium warehouse, and the remarkable Golghar 'round house' built of stone slabs in 1786 by Captain John Garstin as a grain store. Also visit the State Museum and the Chowk area of old Patna.
Day 11 - Drive to Bodh Gaya
This morning leave Patna and drive south to Bodh Gaya (04-05 Hrs) stopping en-route in Nalanda, home to one of the world's oldest universities and an ancient pilgrimage site visited by both Buddha and Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. From here drive to Rajgir then continue by road to Bodh Gaya. One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the world, it was here under the Bodhi tree that Gautama, the prince, attained enlightenment to become the Buddha.
Day 12 - In Bodh Gaya
Today explore Bodh Gaya with your private guide. This vast area houses numerous monasteries, temples and statues, however, the focal point of the entire settlement is the beautiful Mahabodhi Temple and large Bodhi tree. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is believed to stand on the site of an earlier 3rd century BC shrine. Bodh Gaya is also home to temples built by pilgrims from other lands in their own architectural style, from the traditional Bhutanese temple to its modern Japanese counterpart.
Day 13 - Drive to Varanasi
Leaving Bodh Gaya, drive to Varanasi (06-07 Hrs). Situated on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, Varanasi has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for over 2,000 years and is one of the oldest surviving cities in the world. An assault on the senses, few places compare making any visit here an undoubted highlight of the country. Later this evening make your way to ghats and watch the beautiful evening aarti religious ceremonies take place.
Day 14 - In Varanasi
Enjoy another boat ride this morning to see the contrasts of life on the river. Along the banks you'll see pilgrims and locals washing, socialising and praying. You will most likely also see riverside cremations taking place. From here, go for a walking tour exploring the markets, small streets and endless temples. In the afternoon, enjoy a excursion trip to Sarnath.
[Optional : Visit to the Death Hostel]
Day 15 - Fly to Delhi
At time, fly to Delhi. Day at leisure to relax or any last minute shopping or visits.
Day 16 - Departure Transfer
At time transferred to Delhi Airport for your flight back home, or continue with your onward journey with us
Starting from USD 1170 Per Person
Price is based on double occupancy, and is subject to change based on hotels & dates of travel. Price includes daily breakfast, sightseeing, monument entrance fees, private guides, domestic flights, transfers, chauffeur driven air-conditioned SUV car & All Taxes.
When to Travel?
The best time to explore the itinerary is between October and April, when temperatures are comfortable throughout the day, dipping slightly at night when a light jumper should suffice if you're outdoors.
These are some of the recommended hotels for your private tour. Let us know for more options you may need, we work with a wide range of hotels in India & Beyond.
FIRST CLASS, HERITAGE
The Taj Mahal
MID RANGE, HERITAGE
Why 'Private' Travel?
Full flexibility & Personalized service with your own experienced Private guide
A private Car & Driver at your disposal for your holiday. Set your own pace
Select from Hand-picked hotels; from Luxury Palaces to boutique homestays
Meet the locals & Discover the real 'authentic' experiences of a destination
Our guests seem happy to tell us about their Indus Bound holidays and we are very happy to share their thoughts with you.
Dear Pankaj, you delivered what we missed in our last 6 trips to India, a true Indian experience!! An advise for all those hesitating working with you, 'If you are tired of cookie-cutter tours and looking for an authentic travel experience in India, you are at the right place'.
Ms Elaine & Mr Wayne Helson, UK
Tailor-made Central India & Gujarat
I wanted to take the time to thank you for all the hard work you put in to arrange a magical honeymoon for us. We had a ball. All the transfers worked like clockwork, the hotels were great and the route planning excellent. We really felt we were spoon-fed all the way through.
You guys were absolutely true to your word, the holiday experience we have been waiting for years. Big thanks for arranging our visit to Ruskin Bond's home, you are certainly more than a holiday provider.
Mr Neil & Mrs Susan Everington, UK
Tailor-made North India & Nepal
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