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.
(09 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS)
Covering Cities - Delhi / Lucknow /
Sravasti / Lumbini /Kushinagar / Patna / Nalanda / Rajgir / Bodhgaya /
Varanasi / Agra / Delhi
Here For Detail Itinerary
CLUB'S BUDDHA'S FOOT STEP
Duration - 15
Delhi / Jaipur / Agra / Varanasi /Bodhgaya / Vaishali / Kushinagar /
Lumbini / Kapilvastu / Sravasti / Balrampur / Lucknow / Delhi
Here For Detail Itinerary
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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.