- Visit Lodhi Garden in Delhi before experiencing prayer ceremony in Varanasi
- Float along the Ganges to observe a spectacle of events on the ghats at sunrise
- See the key sights in Bodhgaya and learn about Buddihism's history in this region
- Visit Rajgir to see its holy sites and Saptapari Cave, where Buddha attained Nirvana
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi, Optional Visit to Lodhi Garden||New Delhi|
|Day 2||Fly to Varanasi, Evening Aarti (Prayer Ceremony)||Varanasi|
|Day 3||Sunrise River Trip on the Ganges, Varanasi City Tour & Visit Sarnath||Varanasi|
|Day 4||Transfer to Bodhgaya, Half-Day Sightseeing Tour||Bodhgaya|
|Day 5||Free Day at Bodhgaya||Bodhgaya|
|Day 6||Transfer to Patna||Patna|
|Day 7||Fly to Delhi & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi, Optional Visit to Lodhi Garden
Welcome to India! Your guide will meet you at New Delhi International Airport, and you'll be given a traditional swagat (welcome) before driving to your hotel in Delhi. Once you've settled in, enjoy some free time exploring. India's capital is a huge and densely populated city where ancient culture meets modern life. Head to the winding alleyways of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, a vibrant bazaar full of spice shops, sweet vendors, and food carts. In New Delhi, explore Dilli Haat with handicrafts, food, and music, and Janpath Market with crafts, clothing, jewelry, brassware, and leather goods.
Day 2: Fly to Varanasi, Evening Aarti (Prayer Ceremony)
After breakfast, a driver will take you to the airport to board a flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival, a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel. Once settled in, you have the rest of the day to explore. Built in the 11th century on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is widely regarded as the spiritual capital of India, a central place of pilgrimage, death, and mourning in the Hindu world. Thousands of pilgrims, sadhus (religious ascetics), and visitors crowd the streets and ghats (bathing stairs) of the Ganges. Wander Varanasi's narrow streets to gain insight into the life of the people and its surroundings.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Sunrise River Trip on the Ganges, Varanasi City Tour & Visit Sarnath
Every day, Hindu pilgrims and devotees in the thousands make their way to Varanasi's ghats (steps leading down to the river) to offer prayers, meditate, and purify themselves by taking a dip in the holy river. Just before dawn, take a boat trip on the Ganges to witness this amazing spectacle of events on the ghats. The boat ride takes you past several ghats of Varanasi, offering a glimpse of the city at its religious best. See life and death together, and perhaps even capture a glimpse of a Hindu cremation on the banks of the river as you float past.You can walk around the historical ghats such as Harischandra Ghat and Dashwamedha Ghat and learn the typical rituals of the Hindu religion. After breakfast, leave for a city tour. Set out to see more of Varanasi and visit famous monuments like Sankat Mochan Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and finally, Banaras Hindu University. If time allows, you can also visit the Durga Temple (Monkey Temple) and Tulasi Manas Temple.
After lunch, continue your spiritual exploration in Sarnath, where the Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism when he gave his first sermon in 528 BCE. This is also where Emperor Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, built monasteries and stupas (places of burial) during his reign of the Maurya Empire from 268 to 232 BCE. Visit Deer Park, where Gautama Buddha gave his first teachings, followed by the Sarnath Museum to see the historical objects and sculptures found on the site.
Day 4: Transfer to Bodhgaya, Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
This morning, a driver will be waiting to take you on the six-hour drive to Bodhgaya. Upon arrival, check into your hotel, then head out on a sightseeing tour. Bodhgaya is famous as the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree, and remains one of the most important Buddhist sites in the world. Start with a visit to the Mahabodhi Temple, constructed by the Emporer Asoka back in the third century BCE, then see the ancient Maha-Bodhi Tree itself, whose spreading branches still attract pilgrims and offerings.Continue to another prominent site in the area, known as Sujata. Located just east of Bodhgaya, across the Niranjana River, this Buddhist stupa was built to commemorate a local tribal woman from Uruvela said to have fed the starving Buddha. After a full day of sightseeing, you'll return to your hotel in the afternoon.
Day 5: Free Day at Bodhgaya
Rise early for meditation and prayers this morning. Afterward, the remainder of the day is free to explore. Stay in a spiritual mood by visiting Animeshlochana Chaitya, where Lord Buddha spent his second week of enlightenment. Discover the circuit of Bodhi trees, including the Ratnachankramana, the Ratnagaraha, the Ajapala Nigrodha Tree, and the Rajyatna Tree. Finish the circuit with some reflection at Muchhalinda Pond, explore different monasteries built by many Buddhist countries around the city, or stop by Shaivite Monastery and the famous Jagannath Temple.
Day 6: Transfer to Patna
Check out of your hotel this morning and join your driver for the transfer north to Patna, with many stops along the way. One detour is at Rajgir, an ancient city in the northeast Indian state of Bihar. Surrounded by hills, it's known for its holy sites, and the remains of the Cyclopean Wall, which encircled the city centuries ago, still stand in the center. Close by, explore Venu Vana Park, once home to a monastery built for Lord Buddha as a gift. Nearby there are hot springs believed to have medicinal properties.
Day 7: Fly to Delhi & Depart
Today your adventures in India draw to a close. Transfer to the airport in Patna to board your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, board your onward flight home. Safe travels!