(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
Alton J Hundley ,
March 14, 2011
"Our trip to India was a wonderful and magical event! We owe our gratitude to Kensington Tours for making the trip run so smoothly. The guides were exceptionally friendly and caring towards our four year old son and our driver was absolutely amazing!"
India & Area
Fred and Sharon Tooley ,
November 11, 2010
"We've just returned from our second "once in a lifetime" trip with Kensington Tours. A year ago we went to Kenya and Tanzania and felt that no future trips could match that incredible benchmark. We were wrong! When we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to India and Nepal this year, we once again called Kensington. What an amazing, amazing adventure we had! The fact that we have had two "once in a lifetime" trips with Kensington, tells us that we may not know where our next adventure will take us but we do know that Kensington Tours will take us there. We send huge thanks to Brad Crockett who coordinated a trip that was like no other. We thank he and Karishma Kaul both for walking us through our concerns, dealt with via email, while in country regarding a tight flight/luggage transfer and to both of them for arranging the marvelous hotels, lodges and incomparable guides and drivers for us in both India and Nepal. We want to especially thank them for Ghanshyam, our driver for our entire stay in India. Without him, and our trusty "Tempo Traveller" we simply wouldn't have survived the traffic and hours of travel--he was not only a great driver, but a terrific guide during those long drives between cities. We will never forget the thrill of seeing Machali, the magnificent tiger known as "Lady of the Lake" at Ranthambore National Park in India. We will never forget the speechless first sight of the Taj Mahal--nor, we doubt, will we ever have an experience that will ever compare with seeing a tiger in Chitwan National Park, Nepal while on a late afternoon elephant back safari in dense jungle cover--the sights, the sounds of the elephants...words may fail, but the memories will never fade. Thank you, Kensington.
Fred & Sharon Tooley 2011"
India & Area
Glenn Dorfman ,
March 10, 2010
"Our two weeks in India and Nepal doing the Golden Triangle, Varanasi and the Ganges, and Kathmandu went precisely as planned. Airport greetings and transfers, the drivers and especially the guides were all just great; highly qualified, interesting and dedicated to see that you have an interesting and safe experience. I have many examples to share of this. The itinerary was perfect. We have no complaints at all. Would be glad to share more details with prospective travelers."
India & Area
Mohmud Kassam ,
February 24, 2010
"Very helpful from the beginning and helped us change our itinerary so many times until we got it right. We really appreciate your effort. All guides were somewhat knowledgeable. We found that they were not as forthcoming as we would have liked and therefore we had to ask many questions to get more out of them. They were however very pleasant and patient. Vehicles were excellent! We chose Kensington Tours because you gave us the option of a “private guided trip” which is exactly what we were looking for. We have been on many tours and did not want a tour package where we had to go with a big group. Overall our experience was very good. The trip was exactly what we were looking for. The accommodation, cars and guides and agent reps were all very good and helpful. India was incredible!"
India & Area
Claudia Pedreira ,
February 09, 2010
"Sorry for the late response, I've been meaning to write to you since we came back to thank you so much for your assistance with coordinating our trip. India was such an amazing experience and truly a fascinating country. We appreciate the upgrades and the travel by private car as it made a difference in our trip. All three hotels were excellent and we found the local tour service to be prompt and very accommodating. I will certainly be using Kensington Tours again for any future travel. Thanks again!"
India & Area
Joan and Sam Hubball ,
February 09, 2010
I am thinking about you and your wonderful plan and our amazing trip to India. I think the flexibility within the tour, the number of rich experiences due to the private nature of the trip, the mind,body, spirit connections of the country made this a true life experience, not a trip. I will write you a long letter with more specifics this week as I believe there are so many places and people who deserve acknowledgment and recognition for some of the most gracious and experienced tourism service. For now,Bindu, everyone should stay at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and everyone must see Varanasi. We are so glad we chose the more aggressive approach...I cannot imagine our trip without any of the places we've seen!
Warmest regards, heartfelt thanks for the plan, and will be in touch soon, Joan Hubball
India & Area
Helmut and Helga Igel ,
December 14, 2009
"Hi Bindu. Everything worked out great. The hotels all where very good. What made the trip a real pleasure was our driver, Manohar Lal Thakur. He always went out his way to take care of any requests we had. The Indian people are the friendlest we have ever met! We will use Kensington again on one of our next trips.
India & Area
Illa Gandhi ,
January 07, 2010
"We had a great time in India. Karishma Kaul from Kensington tours did a tremendous job putting our trip together. The company did second to none job making us feel at home. It was because of them, it felt like a holiday. Thank you Karishma for a wonderful experience."
India & Area
Cheryl Smith ,
September 28, 2009
"My trip to India was incredible, and I want to thank you for organizing the tours. They took very good care of us. The hotels were nice, and we felt very safe. The guides and the driver were fantastic. The guides were very knowledgeable and patient in answering all of our questions and waiting for us when I know we extended our slotted time in some places (like shopping). For instance, I went to the airport to depart and expected only a driver. I was very surprised and grateful to have another person with the driver who helped me enter the airport, obtain my boarding pass, and showed me where to get to security. "
India & Area
Frank Walchak ,
September 28, 2009
"We just arrived this morning from Delhi. The hotels, tour and driver were all excellent. We certainly got our monies worth. Thank you again for setting up this great trip. Prior to the golden triangle, we operated on 93 children with burns, cleft lip and palate at a medical school outside of Bangalore. Frank and Carolyn Walchak
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