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13 Days / 12 Nights (Tour Code: PC-599)
Sonepur Mela starts in November and lasts for next 15 days to one month every year. It draws more than 600,000 visitors to the Sonepur. One of the major attractions of the fair is the sight of scores of elephants that are beautifully decorated and lined up for sale. This is the only place in India or probably in the world where largest number of elephants are traded at one place. The buyers are mainly government forest department officials. You may even find the trading of large number of horses, goats, buffaloes, donkeys, ponies and dogs etc. along with elephants and other household cattle. In his very first sermon Lord Buddha put forth the Middle Way, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path - the message spread rapidly, penetrating caste and class barriers; today Buddhism is a way of life in large parts of the world, its message of peace and tolerance speaks to us all. Buddha preached that the way to salvation is not dependent on God but on understanding the way things really are for all living beings subject to desire. We take you on a journey to places associated with important events in Buddha's life. Prince Siddhartha was born at Lumbini, became Buddha, the Enlightened One, at Bodhgaya, gave his first sermon at Sarnath, lived the greater part of his monastic life in Sravasti, and attained Nirvana at Kushinagar.

Day 1: Delhi

Fly to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, you will be Greeted and Escorted by Indo Asia Tour Executive to your Hotel.

On arrival at hotel check in. (Room will be available from 1200 Noon).
In its 3000 years of existence; seven cities have risen where the present capital of India stands. Here youll encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars exist beside a modern metropolis. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2: Delhi

After breakfast enjoy a full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. Visit the <a class="PIInfosoft-placeName" onclick="openAttractionDescriptionPopup('en', 'A7J','DEL','IND','India');" data-target="#PopUp5" href="javascript:void(0)" data-toggle="modal">Red Fort</a> the 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge 33m high boundary wall. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens.

Opposite the <a class="PIInfosoft-placeName" onclick="openAttractionDescriptionPopup('en', 'A7J','DEL','IND','India');" data-target="#PopUp5" href="javascript:void(0)" data-toggle="modal">Red Fort</a> lies Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656 at a cost of one million Rupees has perfect proportions. Indias largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels.
Also visit the <a class="PIInfosoft-placeName" onclick="openAttractionDescriptionPopup('en', 'RGH','DEL','IND','India');" data-target="#PopUp5" href="javascript:void(0)" data-toggle="modal">Raj Ghat</a> on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhis Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.
Drive through Lutyens Delhi and see <a class="PIInfosoft-placeName" onclick="openAttractionDescriptionPopup('en', 'A7M','DEL','IND','India');" data-target="#PopUp5" href="javascript:void(0)" data-toggle="modal">India Gate</a> Built of Bharatpur stone, commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Photo stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroys residence is now the official residence of the President of India.
Later in the afternoon explore New Delhi. Visit the Humayuns Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th Century. An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The elements in its design a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by the char bagh (garden divided into quadrants), water channels and fountains.
Later visit the <a class="PIInfosoft-placeName" onclick="openAttractionDescriptionPopup('en', 'A7K','DEL','IND','India');" data-target="#PopUp5" href="javascript:void(0)" data-toggle="modal">Qutub Minar</a> the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The Minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. The tower has 379 steps to the top.
Overnight at Hotel

Day 3: Delhi - Lucknow

Morning, transfer to the railway station to board the train Lucknow Swaran Shatabdi at 0615 Hrs to Lucknow.

On arrival in Lucknow at 1230 Hrs drive to Sravasti.
Sravasti seems to have fascinated Lord Buddha very much for he spent over 1/4th of his life over here, recollecting the Jatakas or the stories of his previous births. Today Sravasti is full of old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples. The city is believed to be founded by Mythological King Sravasti and has old stupas, majestic monasteries and several; temples.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 4: Lucknow - Sravasti

Morning visit the stupa and monasteries town and then drive to Lumbini. Prince Siddhartha was born here in about BC 563.

Lumbini - a place in the South-Western Terai of Nepal evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world-as do the Jerusalem to Christians and Mecca to Muslims. Lumbini is the place Lord Buddha - the apostle of peace and the light of Asia, was born in 623 B. C. On arrival, check in at the Hotel.
Later visit Sacred Garden, a small complex lying at the southern end of Lumbini. It marks the place where the Buddha is reputed to have been born and contains all of the areas important historical monuments and archaeological finds. You will visit Maya Devi Mandir, believed to date as far as the 3rd or 4th century BC. Peepul tree, under which Maya Devi is believed to give birth, Ashokan Pillar and Pushkarni.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 5: Sravasti

After breakfast, drive to Khushinagar- a small wooded town. It was here Lord Buddha ended his earthly journey passed into Mahaparinirvana. In the evening visit Mutkabandha Stupa- believed to have been built to preserve the relics of Buddha.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 6: Sravasti - Lumbini

After breakfast drive to Patna. Enroute visit Vaishali. Vaishali is an important destination in the Buddhist circuit because this is where Buddha announced his approaching Nirvana (salvation) to his disciples. Emperor Ashoka erected a lion pillar here to mark this event and it stands till today. Also visit the Vaishali Museum and see figures, old coins and photographs of the excavations. Later continue your drive to Patna. On arrival in Patna, check in at the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 7: Lumbini

After breakfast drive to Sonepur.

One of the most astonishing cattle fairs to be held in Asia in terms of its size and scale. The sleepy little town of Sonepur (22 km. from Patna) is thrown into frenzy on Kartik Purnima, in the month of November, this fair commemorates Harihar Nath. Also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela, the Sonepur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia. Till date, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia and stretches on from fifteen days to one month.
Another major attraction is the sight of numerous elephants, beautifully decorated for the purpose of sale. However, people from forest departments and those involved with logging operations mostly purchase these elephants.
Also, a large number of horses are also traded at the Sonepur Mela. Folk shows, games and jugglers further add to the attraction of the Sonepur Cattle Fair. Later in the evening drive back to Patna.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 8: Lumbini - Kushinagar

After breakfast again drive to Sonepur to explore the Cattle Fair. Later in the evening drive back to Patna.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 9: Kushinagar

Patna - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya

After early morning breakfast drive to Nalanda, a great Buddhist centre for more than 1000 years until the monastery, school and library were sacked and burnt by Muslims. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsan stayed here for 5 years in the early 7th cent. AD. There were 10.000 monks and students in residence. The remains are still extensive and include the "Great Stupa" with steps, terraces and a few still intact stupas around it.
Further drive to Rajgir or Rajagriha. It was the capital of Magadhan empire before Pataliputra occupied from 1800 BC. Visit Gridhkuta, the "Hill of Vultures". It was one of Buddhas favorite places where he delivered many important sermons. Also visit Saptaparni Cave on Vaibhara Hill. The first Buddhist council was held here and Buddhas teachings were written down for the first time. Visit Vishwa Shanti stupa & Venuvana, the bamboo grove where Buddha spent some time.
Later continue your drive to Bodhgaya. It was here that Siddhartha meditated for 48 days under a "Bodhi" tree and was enlightened on the 49th day and became Buddha, the enlightened one!!!
On arrival in Bodhgaya, check in at the hotel
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10: Kushinagar - Varanasi

After breakfast, visit Mahabodhi temple with the tree, below which Buddha was enlightened, the footprints of Buddha & the monastery. Also visit Sujata village and Niranjana River.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 11: Varanasi - Patna

After breakfast, drive to Varanasi.

Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasis Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". According to the Vamana Purana, the Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be Varanasi, the holiest of all pilgrimages.
To every visitor; Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmer -ing across the Ganges... the high-banks; the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue ...soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air...and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats. Varanasi - the land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss.
En-Route visit Sarnath.
Sarnath one of Buddhisms major centers in India. It was here that Buddha gave his first Sermon after attaining Nirvana. In the complex is the Dhamekh Stupa (5th 6th AD) or Dharma Chakra, the most imposing monument at Sarnath built to commemorate the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon to the five disciples.
On arrival, check in at the hotel.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 12: Patna

Early morning boat rides on the river Ganges and sees the sunrise. The boat ride passes along some of the 100 Ghats, with numerous palaces built by Hindu kings. Experience the early morning rituals of the Hindus being performed on the Ghats. Thousands of people take a bath believing they will be free from the circle of rebirth. It is interesting to see the pilgrims offering sweets, flowers and holy water to the Sun God.

Later transfer to the airport to board the flight to Delhi.
On arrival, check in at the hotel.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 13: Patna - Sonepur

Transfer to International Airport for flight to onwards destination.

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