|Group size:||2-12 people||Max-Altitude:||1,300m/4,264ft|
|Arrival on:||Kathmandu, Nepal||Departure from:||Kathmandu, Nepal|
Footsteps of the Buddha Tour takes you into a journey through time as you retrace the footsteps of Lord Buddha. A meditation on the road, this tour traverses through four significant pilgrimage sites marking various epochs of Buddha’s life- Lumbini (birth place of Buddha), Kushinagar (death site of Buddha), Bodhgaya (where Buddha attained enlightenment) and Sarnath (Buddha’s first sermon). Discover the universal truths and acquire the divine Buddhist wisdom as you travel through Southern Nepal, Gangetic plains of Northern India and pay homage to the sanctified Buddhist sites. For those who wish to get closer to the world beyond and are in search of Nirvana, our ‘Buddha Sites Pilgrimage Tour’ might just be the soul-cleansing experience that you have been looking for.A spiritual odyssey, Buddha Sites Pilgrimage Tour
The holy site of Lumbini, also enlisted within the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, holds immense archaeological and religious importance. It comprises of ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi Tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashok Pillar (erected by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC on the spot of Buddha’s birth which also bears the oldest inscription of Nepal) and the Maya Devi temple. Maya Devi temple is the spiritual heart of Lumbini which marks the spot where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site. You also visit the museum, peace pagoda and spend your day exploring the area and its temples, monuments and ancient sites soaking up the serene ambience.
From there you drive about 29km west of Lumbini, and reach Tilaurakot, the historical site of Kapilavastu, where Siddhartha Gautam spent the first 29 years of his life. The site sits in a peaceful meadow on the banks of the Banganga River. The showy shrine nearby with several carved pachyderms is dedicated to Maya Devi. There’s a small museum at the final turn-off to Tilaurakot that displays some of the artefacts found at the site. After you’ve visited the place, you drive back to Lumbini. Overnight in Lumbini.
You drive from Lumbini towards Sunauli, the most popular tourist border crossing between Nepal and India and head towards Kushinagar. After nearly 4 hours drive you reach Kushinagar which is one of the four main pilgrimage sites marking Buddha’s life where Lord Buddha breathed his last. Here you can find several peaceful modern temples and stupas including three main historical sights: Ramabhar Stupa, Mahaparinirvana Temple and Mathakuar Temple. The half-ruined, 15m high Ramabhar Stupa is where Buddha’s body is said to have been cremated where monks and pilgrims can often be seen meditating and searching whereas Mahaparinirvana temple is well-known for its serene 5thcentury reclining Buddha, unearthed in 1876. It depicts Buddha on his ancient death-bed and is one of the world’s most moving Buddhist icons where scores of devotees pay homage and seek nirvana. Set among monastery ruins, Mathaukar Temple marks the spot where Buddha made his final sermon and now houses a 3m-tall blue-stone Buddha statue. Buddha museum, Tibetan temple, Japan-Sri Lanka Buddhist meditation centre are other notable attractions around here. Overnight in Kushinagar.*Note: Multiple-entry visas are available at the immigration post just across the border. You will need two recent passport photos and USD. The border is open 24 hours but closes to vehicles at 10pm.
Bodhgaya is the quintessence of Buddhist pilgrimage where Prince Gautam is believed to have attained enlightenment beneath a Bodhi tree and became Buddha. A beautiful temple in the garden setting marks the spot and a descendent of that original bodhi tree flourishes here, its roots embedded in the same soil as its celebrated ancestor. The exact spot is now marked by the magnificent Mahabodhi Temple (World Heritage Site), where Buddha attained enlightened and formulated his philosophy of life and now forms the spiritual heart of Bodhgaya. Topped by a 50m pyramidal spire, the ornate structure houses a 2m high gilded image of a seated Buddha.Another major attraction is the towering 80 foot statue of Lord Buddha. Bodhgaya also has an Archaeological Museum displaying an interesting array of relics, scriptures, and ancient statues of Buddha. Many monasteries and temples dot the bucolic landscape built in their national styles by foreign Buddhist communities. Overnight in Bodhgaya.
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