(Delhi, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Patna)
Embark on a spiritual and religious journey to Varanasi and Bodhgaya where you will experience sheer enlightment and inspiration. Your journey will begin in Varanasi which is set at the left bank of the mighty river Ganges, an immensely chaotic place of pilgrimage known for its ritual burnings. A dawn boat ride down the river is a fascinating and unforgettable spectacle. The city is sacred to Hindus and also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In many ways Varanasi epitomizes the very best and worst aspects of India, and it can be a little overwhelming. You will then continue to Bodhgaya or Bodh Gaya in the eastern state of Bihar. Bodhgaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district. It is famous for being the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment. For Buddhists, Bodhgaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodhgaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Relax and enjoy an airport transfer in a private vehicle, with driver, and English-speaking assistant.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Dwarka is ideally situated in the serene locale of Dwarka, just 20 minutes from the commercial hub of New Delhi and 30 minutes from the city centre. As one of the closest five-star hotels to Indira Gandhi International Airport, the Radisson Blu offers accommodation and amenities unmatched by other hotels in Dwarka, New Delhi. Guests also enjoy easy access to popular attractions including India Gate, the Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. The Radisson Blu features exceptional dining experiences, including Spring, an all day dining restaurant, where guests can enjoy quick bites and elaborate buffets or The Atrium Tea Lounge, which offers an array of teas and coffees with flights of confectionaries.
Enjoy your flight from Delhi to Varanasi. The flight duration is approximately 90 mins.
From your hotel, a private vehicle, with driver, and English speaking guide, will transfer you to the airport for your flight.
Private guided tour of Sarnath, located 5 miles from Varanasi, the site is a deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by the Buddha himself for pilgrimage. Amongst the ruins is the Dharmekh Stupa is impressive at 128 feet high, and 93 in diameters. This dates back to 200 BC and is the sport where the Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon. Within the deer park complex is the large Dhamekha Stupa, constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE, and several other Buddhist structures that were added between the 3rd and the 11th century BC.
The Aarti Ceremony is a Hindu ritual where light or fire is offered to the deities. Each Lamp wick is soaked in ghee or purified butter and lit, whilst songs of praise are sung in front of the deities. Almost all the Hindu rituals of worship involve the ceremony of Aarti. Perhaps the earliest mention of the Ceremony of Aarti in India can be found in Rig Veda, which is considered to be the earliest scripture of Hinduism. According to the Rig Veda, the use of Aarti can be said to be derived from the Vedic concepts of elaborate sacrificial fires or Homa. The word Aarti can be itself said to be derived from a conjunction of the two words of "Aa", meaning "towards", and "Rati", which in turn means "the highest love for God" in Sanskrit. Thus, the word Aarti in actuality means the "highest love for God.
The Taj Gateway hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport. The hotel is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded, ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi, also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). Taj Gateway offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool. The hotel has 130 rooms divided in four categories - Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Executive Suites and Deluxe Suites.
Glide along the famous and holy Ganges waterway in a private boat accompanied by an expert guide. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi attract tourists and pilgrims of all ages for the opportunity to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one's sins. Pilgrims and tourists alike can be seen swimming and bathing immediately next to the funeral pyres of the riverside temples. This is a somewhat surreal experience and only for those with a strong constitution.
Winding through the streets and popping out onto the riverside will give you an insider’s look at the symbiotic life of the riverside people of Varanasi. Eventually, as you tour through the city you will end up on Bengali Tola, the street of the Bengalis, where you will be visiting the hidden Mother Goddess Kali shrines, and the vistas of life along the riverside. The tour continues to the historic ritual bathing site called Dashaswamedh, or the ten-horse sacrifice Ghat, the perfect way to conclude this walking city tour.
Drive today from Varanasi to Bodhgaya. Approx time 5 hours.
Located close to the Mahabodhi Temple, the Sujata Hotel is in the beautiful city of Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the shade of banyan tree, 2500 years ago and thereafter spread the virtues of truthfulness, love, peace and non-violence to the mankind. This property boasts 43 well-appointed accommodation units that are equipped with all the essential amenities to ensure your utmost comfort. The onsite restaurant serves delicious Indian, Continental, Southeast Asian, Chinese and a-la carte dishes for you to feast on. The hotel's lobby is an ideal place to relax or meet friends.
Traditional accounts say that, around 530 BC, Siddhartha Gautama, a young Indian Prince who saw the suffering of the world and wanted to end it, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya, India. There he sat in meditation under a peepul tree (Ficus religiosa or Sacred Fig), which later became known as the Bodhi tree. According to Buddhist scriptures, after three days and three nights, Siddharta attained enlightenment and the answers that he had sought. Mahabodhi Temple (Literally: Great Awakening Temple) was built to mark that location. In June 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Private transfer with an English speaking driver from Bodhgaya to Patna. Transfer includes tour stops at Rajgir and Nalanda.It was in Rajgir that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching. Nalanda is the name of an ancient center of higher learning. Nalanda was one of the world's first residential universities, i.e., it had dormitories for students. The subjects taught at Nalanda University covered every field of learning, and it attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. Overnight at hotel in Patna.
Hotel Maurya Patna is a 5 star hotel, situated 6 kilometers away from the airport and only 1 kilometer away from the railway station and bus stand. It is located on prime property in the heart of commercial Patna. The hotel offers 80 centrally air conditioned rooms divided into the Club room, Mauryan Chamber, Oriental room, Residency Apartment, Mithila and the Grand Prix.
The Relic Stupa is near the Coronation Tank. It is here Licchavis reverentially encased one of the eight portions of the Master's relics, which they received after the Mahaparinirvana. Buddha gave them his alms bowl but they still refused to return. The Master created an illusion of a river in spate which compelled them to go back. This site can be identified with Deora in modern Kesariya village, where Ashoka The Great, emperor of the Maurya Dynasty later built a stupa. Kutagarasala Vihara is the monastery where Buddha gave his last sermon. It is located 3 kilometres from the relic Stupa, and on its ground can be found the Ananda Stupa, with an Ashoka pillar in very good condition (perhaps the only complete Ashoka pillar left standing).
Airport transfer with private vehicle, driver, and English-speaking assistant.
Fly today from Patna to Delhi. Approximate flight time 90 mins.
India & Area
Jim & Gayle Stinson ,
April 21, 2014
"Our individualized, private trip to India was just fabulous! Sunita made the planning almost too easy, the staff who met with us at each arrival/departure ensured all was fine. Our guides, Sunil, Dhilip, Govind, and Vinney, were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating, but the person who made our trip the most enjoyable was our driver Vikram. It was so nice to have a constant on our trip anticipating our every need, even presenting me with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers on my birthday! We will only return if Vikram will be with us. Thanks to all for a trip of a lifetime!"
India & Area
Sharleen Dickson ,
April 21, 2014
"The driver and guides were excellent!"
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