Begin your pilgrimage trip in Kathmandu, between trans-Himalayan Tibet and the plains of India, was probably used as transit point when Buddhism travelled north to Tibet from India.
Visit important Buddhist sites in the ancient Nepalese capital, and then fly to Lumbini, where the Buddha was Born. Cross the border at Sunauli to India, and visit Kushinagar where the aged Buddha died on his way back home.
From Kushinagar drive Varanashi via Balarampur, Hiduism’s holiest city on your way to Sarnath. This is the place, where the Buddha delivered his first sermon as the Buddha. Then visit Bodh Gaya where he attained enlightenment and continue to Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali, all important centers in the Buddha’s lifetime.
Before flying to Delhi and continuing to Dharmasala, known as a little Tibet, where His Holiness The Dalai Lama heads the presnt day Tibetan Government in exile, visit Mandi, the influences of Guru Rimpoche shape local folklore.
Day 01 Arrive Kathmandu, explore Thamel
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met and transferred to hotel, rest of the afternoong at liesure, or just explore around the Thamel, a tourist hub in Kathmandu with many restaurants, cyber cafes, book stores and colorful shops.
Day 02 Tour in and around Kathmandu
Today you have the full day sightseeing tour of various temples and monasteries .
Begin the tour with Swayambhunath, a 2000 year-old Buddhist monument on a hilltop overlooking Kathmandu Valley. Surrounding the hemispherical Stupa are many temples and pagodas and a large band of monkeys.
Visit Pasupatinath : Situated near the banks of sacred Bagmati River the temple of lord Siva-Pasupatinath with two tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its superb Newari architecture. Continue to Baudhanath : This colossal and ancient Stupa, one of Nepal’s most unique monument and said to be the world biggest, attracts Nepalese pilgrimage of Tibetan stock from as far as Dolpo and Mugu as well as Tibet, Ladhak in India and Bhutan.
Your next stop is Bhadgaon, also called Bhaktapur, the city of devotees, is located nine miles to the east of Kathmandu.
The tour visits: Durbar Square, the main palace square of the city containing many temples and other architectural showpieces, including the Golden Gate, described as the finest piece of art in the Kingdom.
Nyatapola Temple, The five-storied pagoda style temple built in 1708 AD. , the largest and the most famous example of Nepalese pagoda architecture.
Dattatraya Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built in 1427 AD. Nearby is the monastery with exquisitely carved windows, which now serves as the National Works Museum.
Day 03 Fly Kathmandu-Bhairahawa, transfer to Lumbini
Fly Kathmandu - Bhairawa. Our representative will meet you at the airport and then tranfer you to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Visit the stone Pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka on the spot where Buddha was born and the surrounding monuments.
Continue your drive to Taulihawa, which is about 10 miles from Lumbini. Its ancient name Kapilavasttu was the capital of King Suddhodana of Sakya Race, whose only son Prince Siddartha became the Buddha.
Day 04 Cross the border at Sunauli, and overland to Kushinagar
Drive to Sunauli, go through Nepal, and then Indian immigrationi, and then continue to Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is the place where Buddha entered into Mahaparnirvana after forty years of teaching Buddha Dharma to all sentient beings. Morning visit the temple where reclining image of Buddha is installed. This reclining image depicts Buddha's final act on Earth. Visit the Mahaparnirvana Stupa, this stupa as the name indicates marks the place where Lord Buddha left his mortal body and attained to the supremely blissful State of Nibbanadhattu. Visit the excavated area, it contains foundations of a few monasteries and cells.
Finally visit Angara Chaitya, the stupa is situated about a mile away from the above places. This is the very site where the body of Tathagata was cremated.
Day 05 Overland Kushinagar- Saravasthi
Drive to Balrampur and continue to Saravasti and visit the ruins of the Jetvana Monastery, which is believed to be the most popular Buddhist monastery during the time of Buddha, and he had spent most of his time during the monsoon here giving teachings. Get the blessing from the Ananda Bodhi tree, it is said that Buddha's one of the chief disciples Mahamogallana had brought a sapling of Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya and was planted there to represent Buddha during his absence.
Also visit to Angulimala Cave.
Day 06 Overland Saravasthi - Varanashi
After breakfast drive to Varanasi which is about 185 miles and takes about 5-6 hours depending on the road condition.
Enjoy the Indian countryside.
Day 07 Tour Varanashi
Morning: Boat ride in the river Ganges. Sightseeing of Varanasi includes visits to Temples and Raj Ghats.
Afternoon visit Sarnath, Eight kms (5 miles) north of Varanasi is Sarnath where in Deer Park; Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon after he became the "enlightened one". The ruins of monasteries built more than 2000 years ago, the Dhamok Stupa, the Dharmarji Ka Stupa and maon shrine draw Buddhist pilgrims yearly to Sarnath.
Day 08 Overland Varanashi-Bodhgaya
After breakfast, continue to Bodh Gaya, it is about 157 miles and takes about 5-6 hours depending on and the traffic.
Overnight at Bodhgays.
Day 09 Tour Bodhgaya
The history of Bodh Gaya as a place of sacred importance to the Buddhists commences from the time when Buddha started austerities in the forest around the place, then known as Uruvela. Ever since Buddha attained supreme enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya has remained the most sacred spot on earth for entire Buddhist world.
During the Tibetan lunar 12th month from 1st - 10th the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism organizes here a grand prayer ritual known as Monlam Chenmo. People from all over the world gather here to attend this ritual. They circumambulate the stupa chanting mantras. Also during this time HH the Dalai Lama perform the Kalachakra empowerment.
Day 10 Bodhgaya
The day is at leisure for you to join with the Buddhist practitioners offering butter lamps, prayer and circumambulation of the stupa.
Day 11 Overland Bodhgaya - Patna
After breakfast, drive to Patna. On your way, visit the ruins of Nalanda Institute. Nalanda did not gain its popularity during the time of Buddha, even though Buddha's main disciple Shariputtra was born here and Buddha had visited here on his way to and back from Rajgir. The real importance of the place for Buddhists began with the establishment of the Nalanda University which became world famous on account of its galaxy of brilliant professors and the high standard of teaching. Great Buddhist scholars, such as Nagarjuna had passed out from this University and he later became the principal of the University.
Continue your drive to Rajgir, the oldest city of India. This city was favorite residence of Lord Buddha who had given many teachings at the vulture peak. Visit the places of interest and resume your drive to Patna.
Day 12 Fly Patna-Delhi, overnight train to Pathankot
Morning tour of Patna. Drive to Vaishali, which is about 35 miles. This place is also a very important pilgrim site for Buddhist. Buddha gave his last sermon here and announced his impending nirvana. If time permits visit Patna Museum.
Afternoon fly to Delhi and board the overnight train to Pathankot.
Day 13 Arrive Pathankot, transfer to Dharmasala
Morning arrive Pathankot, your vehicle will be waiting outside the train station. Drive to Dharamsala.
Rest of the day at leisure for you to relax or explore Dharamsala on your own.
Day 14 Tour Dharmasala
Full day sightseeing of Dharamsala. Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar Mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley. It is a charming town with elegant bungalows nestling in thick conifer forests.
Dharamsala is also the home of the Dalai Lama, who is quartered at Mcleodganj. Little Lhasa is an enchanting world where spinning prayer wheels and fluttering prayer flags spread the message of peace and universal harmony.
Day 15 Dharmasala - Mandi
After breakfast drive to Mandi. Enjoy the countryside. Mandi is the ancient kingdom of prince Mandarawa who later became first consort of Guru Pamasambhava.
Upon arrival check into hotel. After lunch, sightseeing of Mandi Visit Temples, palaces and the bazaar.
Day 16 Tour Mandi
After breakfast drive to Lake Rewalsar it is about 22 miles from Mandi. Visit the Guru Cave, where Guru Padmasambhava gave teaching to prince Mandarawa, Zigar nunnery retreat houses, monasteries and circumambulate the lake.
Return to Mandi and Overnight.
Day 17 Mandi - Chandigarh
After breakfast drive Chandigarh.
Day 18 Train Chandigrah - Delhi, fly Delhi - U.S.or an extension.
After breafkfast, board your train to Delhi. Transfer to airport and fly back home or extend your trip to Bhutan or South India.