Tsepel, an exceptional hermit who has devoted much of his life to meditating alone in the wilderness, will travel with you in the footsteps of the Buddha. Visit the cities where the Buddha was born, enlightened and attained death (Parinirvana). This pilgrimage will open the doors of history and Buddhist philosophy. If you want to be introduced to Buddhist spirituality and ancient traditions over 2,500 years old with a guide who can answer your historic, cultural and deeply personal/spiritual questions, this trip is for you!
- Walk in the footsteps of the Buddha by visiting the four Buddhist holy cities: Lumbini – birthplace of the Buddha, Bodhgaya – the place where he attained enlightenment, Sarnath – where the Buddha gave his first teaching, and Kushinagar – where he died
- Understand the main teachings of the Buddha (the Four Noble Truths and Heart Sutra) with your exceptional guide, Hermit Tsepel
- Practice meditation in these most sacred places under the expert direction of your unique guide
- Admire one of the most exquisite of the seven wonders of the world: the Taj Mahal
- Feel the fervour of thousands of devotees during the Ganga Aarti ritual on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi
- Enjoy the experience of touring with Omalaya and our caring, expert guidance
Monday, 13th January, 2020.
Arrival in Delhi and check into the hotel.
Tuesday, 14th January, 2020.
Delhi- Lucknow- Sravasti.
Today you will head to Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.You will leave Delhi to Lucknow by plane. You will drive to Sravasti the city where Buddha has spent more than half of his monastic life. Sravasti is also known to be a symbolic place for Jainism and the capital of ancient Kosala kingdom.
Wednesday, 15th January, 2020.
In the morning, we visit Jetavana,in Srasvati, where Buddha and his disciples retreated each rainy season for twenty-five years. Later we head north towards Lumbini and India’s border where you will obtain the required visa in order to enter the nation of Nepal. An Indian multi-entry visa is needed.
Thursday, 16th January, 2020.
We will spent a day in Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sacred ground for Buddhists around the world, Lumbini is a small village in the I Nepal where the Buddha was born. In this holy and beautiful place the spiritual charge is amazing. Lumbini, a powerful place for meditation, is characterized by scenes of prostrating pilgrims and thousands of prayer flags. Hermit Tsephel will introduce you to the Sacred Garden, home to various historical treasures, including the Maya Devi Temple with its carving representing Maya Devi giving birth to Siddhartha, the future Buddha. Tsepel will share more lessons at this site as well as provide time for meditation.
Friday, 17th January, 2020.
Today you will discover Kushinagar, where Buddha left this world after having made an invaluable contribution to humanity. The place where Buddha gave immeasurable blessings as he recited all of his teachings before entering the Paranirvana, or nirvana upon death,at the end of his earthly existence. You will visit the Maha Parinirwana Temple, where Buddha breathed his last breath, and Rambhar Stupa, the site of Lord Buddha’s cremation.
Saturday, 18th January, 2020.
We will drive to Vaishali where Buddha preached his last sermon. The Second Council took place in Vasihali 110 years after the parinirvana of the Buddha. This important Buddhist gathering of monks was discuss the teaching of Buddha and future of Buddhism. Today, we will stay for the night in Patna,the capital of Indian State of Bihar.
Sunday, 19th January, 2020.
Today, you will discover a heart of Buddhism. You will discover Rajgir or “Vulture Peak,” which takes its name from the shape of the rock where the Buddha spent many years of his life. In this sacred place, he gave important sermons such as the Prajnaparamita teaching, better known as the Heart Sutra. The Heart Sutra, an important Buddhist text, is commonly chanted by Buddhists at meetings and practices dedicated to meditation. In addition to the Heart Sutra, you will learn about the five skandhas (which describe the stages and forms of awareness), the Four Noble Truths, the cycle of interdependence and the central concepts of Buddhism. It is said that even if you do not yet have awareness of emptiness, if you recognize that there is suffering in your mind as you recite the Heart Sutra mantra and meditate on its meaning, its truth will arise in you. Your expert guide, Tsepel the hermit, will introduce you to this teaching, recite necessary mantras, and then allow you to meditate on its meaning.We will walk to top sacred hills to follow foot step of thousand of pilgrim before us.
Then, you will visit Nalanda, which contains the ruins of the oldest Buddhist university, in which the most famous Indian scholars of their time had their education.
Monday, 20th January, 2020.
Bodhgaya’s historic district contains a Buddhist complex including: The Mahabodhi Temple, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 with its diamond throne (Vajrasana). The Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya (ficus religiosa or “sacred fig”) where the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Tuesday, 21st January, 2020.
In the morning, Tsepel will take you to explore one of the oldest Buddhist places of worship: the Mahabodhi Temple. It is also one of the most sacred places for Buddhists, for it is here, under the Bodhi tree, that prince Siddhartha vowed not to get up until he could understand the nature of the mind and reality. After a long meditation, he attained supreme enlightenment, nirvana. Around this sacred tree, the hermit Tsepel will invite you to join the sea of pilgrims for a special meditation.
Wednesday, 22nd January, 2020.
You will then have free time to explore at your leisure the many temples and monasteries contained in this unique town, built by Buddhist communities from around the world in the image of their respective countries. You can take this opportunity to stroll through town and visit different monasteries. If Karmapa is in Bodhgaya, you could have the opportunity to meet him.
Afternoon there will be teaching.
Thursday, 23rd January, 2020.
Bodhgaya walk to Mahakala Cave.
We will walk through India village and by the Phalgu River to visit a cave of Dungeswari, where a meditator had a vision of Mahakala,a wrathful aspect of the Compassion Buddha.You had experience of Indian village life and feel the energy of kindness in meditation cave.
Friday, 24 January, 2020.
We will again take road to Varanasi, also known, as Benares or “the City of Lights,” is the holy city of Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. Varanasi claims the title as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.
At dusk, you will witness the Ganga Aarti daily ritual dedicated to Ganga, goddess of the Ganges and wife to Shiva. Lord Shiva, according to legend, blessed the Ganges by putting his foot in the river.Today people purify themselves daily with the river’s sacred waters. On the banks facing the river, Hindu priests will wave their flaming lamps to the rhythm of traditional music and chanting so the lamps absorb the power of Ganga. Following the ceremony, you
can encircle the lamps to receive the blessings of the powerful river deity. At night, the city will sparkle as lights reflect on the shimmering water. The effect will be multiplied, as thousands of small candles are set afloat in the river as an offering.
Saturday, 25th January, 2020.
On this day you will visit Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhist teaching, where over 2500 years ago, Buddha shared his first lesson known as the Four Noble Truths.The sermon included a progressive study of oneself beginning with the acknowledgment of suffering and concluding with the steps necessary to end suffering. Thus, one can achieve inner peace through abandoning his/her ego while focusing on compassion, in hopes of attaining enlightenment. Next, you will head to beautiful Deer Park, where you will explore the massive Dharmek Stupa, a Buddhist shrine. Near the stupa where Buddha gave his first sermon, Tsepel will share with you in greater depth the philosophy of the Four Noble Truths, the foundation of all Buddhist teaching. Then, Tsepel will o er meditation time to focus on yourself in order to apply the knowledge. Then, you’ll head to the Sarnath Museum which houses, most famously, Emperor Ashoka’s lion capital, a stone statue atop a pillar. Here you will also find many other impressive stone carvings from the Gupta period and other significant stupas. Next, visit Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple whose frescoes depict the events of the Buddha’s life.We will have meeting with nuns or monk in sarnath.
Sunday, 26th January, 2020.
Early morning boat ride on the Ganga, one of the most revered rivers in the world .We walk along the Ghats, stone steps leading into the river, to discover and enjoy the mass of pilgrims from all parts of India performing devout ablution rituals. From there you will visit the old city with its narrow streets full of kaleidoscopic experiences with women in colourful saris, shouting vendors, sacred cows, motorbikes and rickshaws. This stroll will take you through many of the incredible scenes of daily life in the holy, photogenic city of Varanasi and free morning.
In late afternoon your fight to Delhi and home.
Safe travels, Tashi Delek and Namaste!