Buddhist circuit is a route that follows the footsteps of Gautama Buddha starting from his place of birth to his place of death. The international circuit spanning over India and Nepal included Lumbini (place of birth), Bodh Gaya (place of enlightenment), Sarnath (place of first preaching) and Kushinagar place of death).
The four pilgrim sites are directly related to the life of Buddha and attract a lot of pilgrims from South Asia and South East Asia. The sites are of great importance to Buddhism and houses several temples, guest houses and archeological sites related directly to the life of Buddha. Because of the presence of magnificent temples and archaeological sites, the Buddhist Circuit also attracts non-pilgrims.
Apart from the four major sites there are several Buddhist pilgrim sites like, Rajgir, Nalanda and Sarnath nearbay and can be clubbed with the Buddhist circuit. Also the famous Hindu pilgrimage of Varanasi can also be clubbed in the same circuit.
- 2 Kolkata (CCU IATA).
- 3 Delhi (DEL IATA).
- 4 Varanasi (VNS IATA).
- 5 Patna (PAT IATA).
- 6 Kathmandu (KTM IATA).
The circuit involves international land travel and the public transport is not widely available on the route, thus doing the circuit independently is difficult. Various travel agents offer tours and Indian Railways also has a luxury train covering the circuit.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) runs an all-inclusive tour of the Buddhist circuit on a luxury train. The luxury train is equipped with air conditioned first class coupe, air conditioned first class and air conditioned 2 tire coaches. It also comes in with two dining cars providing fine dining experience. The tour also includes stay and fooding in various 5-star properties. The 8-day package starts and ends at Delhi and follows the following itinerary:
- Day 1: Proceed from[Delhi, Safdarjung station to Gaya, dinner on board
- Day 2: Breakfast on board. Arrive at Gaya in the morning. Proceed to Bodh Gaya by car check in hotel and have lunch. Post lunch sightseeing tour of Bodh Gaya. Night stay at Bodh Gaya
- Day 3: Breakfast at hotel in Bodh Gaya. Head for Rajgir, local sightseeing. Lunch at Rajgir. Post lunch sightseeing tour of Nalanda. Proceed to Gaya station and head to Varanasi. Dinner and night stay on the train
- Day 4: Breakfast on board. Reach Varanasi in the morning. Car to Sarnath local sightseeing and lunch at hotel. Post lunch sightseeing tour of Varanasi, including boat ride and ganga aarti. Dinner at a hotel in Varanasi. Head back to the train and proceed to Nautanwa, nearest railhead to Lumbani
- Day 5: Breakfast on board reach Lumbini in morning. Proceed to Lumbini, check-in at a hotel for lunch. After lunch, sightseeing tour of Lumbani. Dinner and night stay in hotel in Lumbani.
- Day 6: Breakfast at hotel and head to Kushinagar. Lunch at Kushinagar followed by sightseeing. Return to train. Dinner at train. Proceed to Balarampur, nearest railhead to Sravasti
- Day 7: Reach Balarampur in the morning. Head to Sravasti for breakfast followed by lunch. Post lunch sightseeing tour of Sravasti. Back to the train in the evening. Dinner and night stay on the train. Head for Agra.
- Day 8: Breakfast on board. Arrive at Agra in the morning. Tour of Taj Mahal. Back to the train for lunch and proceed to Delhi. Reach Safdarjung Station, Delhi in the evening.
Cost: Apart from the 8-day package, guests can opt for a shorter version of the circuit by paying per night. (Prices as of 2021.)
- Air conditioned first class coupe: US$1305 whole tour, $165 per night
- Air conditioned first class: $1155 whole tour, $165 per night
- Air conditioned 2 tire: $945 whole tour, $135 per night
Contact: Phone: +91 8287930157, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: Buddhist Train
- 1 Lumbini. Lumbini, Nepal is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha. It is located in the Indo-Nepal border. A pillar erected by Ashoka stands on the place of Buddha's birth. There is also a Buddhist monastery, peace stupa, a museum and a Lumbini International Research Institute.
- 2 Bodh Gaya. Buddha attained enlightenment under a peepal tree in Bodh Gaya. The tree is no longer there but a descendant of the tree still stands and is a prime attraction for Buddhist pilgrims. The tree is housed inside the main temple complex of Bodh Gaya. Many of the structures date back to the time of Buddha and others were built during the reign of Ashoka (268 – 232 BCE). The main temple is built in pyramidical style and towers to a height of 55 ft. The brick temple dates back to the Gupta period and is datable to the 5th–6th century CE. Bodh Gaya also has a giant Buddha statue in sitting posture. There are several other temples built by Buddhist countries such as Bhutan, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. There is also a an archaeological museum and a multimedia centre.
- 3 Sarnath. Sarnath is a small village in Uttar Pradesh, India, about 13 km north-east of Varanasi. It's famous as the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and also where the original Sangha was formed. 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 century BCE and the 11th century CE.
- 4 Kushinagar.