Destinations Covered : Delhi - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Patna - Calcutta - Dajeeling - Kalimpong - Gangtok - Calcutta Duration : 16 Days / 15 Nights Day 01 : Delhi Arrive Delhi. Assistance and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 02 : Delhi Full day sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi visiting the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Parliament House, Birla Mandir, Memorials to Nehru and Gandhi. Later visit the Qutab Minar, Humayuns Tomb, etc. Overnight in hotel.
Day : 03 Delhi / Varanasi Morning transfer to airport to connect flight IC 806 dep. 11:00 hrs. / arr. Varanasi at 12:15 hrs. On arrival check into the hotel. Afternoon excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. Return to the hotel for overnight stay. Day 04 : Varanasi Morning early depart for a boat ride on the Holy River Ganges viewing the sunrise and the religions rites being performed on the River bank. Day 05 : Varanasi / Bodhgaya Morning depart by surface for Bodhgaya (243 kms / 7 hrs drive) the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. On arrival check into the hotel. Afternoon Visit Bodhgaya Temple. Overnight in hotel. Day 06 : Bodhgaya / Patna Morning depart by surface for Rajgir (70 kms / 2 hrs.) Visit the Vulture Hill, World Peace Stupa and Bamboo's Garden. Later drive to Nalanda (14 kms) and visit one of the oldest Universities of the world & International Centre of Buddhist Studies. Day 07 : Patna / Calcutta Morning Patna Sahib & Patna Museum. Later transfer to airport to connect flight for Calcutta. Rest day free for leisure. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 08 : Calcutta / Darjeeling Early morning visit the flower market on the riverbanks in Howrah. This is followed by a boat-ride on the Hooghly. The afternoon sightseeing of the metropolis includes the imposing Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral and the Indian Museum that houses one of the best collections of Indian art. Day 09 : Darjeeling Arrival at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station at 08:40 hrs. Later connect "toy train", (Train # 1D - dep. 09:00 hrs arrive Darjeeling at 15:30 hrs) for a romantic journey up the hills to Darjeeling. A favourite hill-station of the British to escape from the heat of Calcutta. Day 10 : Darjeeling Early in the morning drive up to Hill (9000 ft) to see the spectacular sunrise over Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga, visiting the Ghoom Monastery on return. Later visit the Himalayan mountaineering Institute and a local tea garden.. Day 11 : Darjeeling - Kalimpong Morning depart for Kalimpong (51 kms / 1 ½ hrs). On arrival check in the hotel. Afternoon, visit local monasteries and flower nurseries. Overnight in hotel. Day 12 : Kalimpong - Gangtok In the morning after breakfast visit Dello Hills and Dr. Graham`s Home and a Flower Nursery. In the afternoon drive from Kalimpong to Gangtok (85 kms / 3 hrs). Overnight in Hotel. Day 13 : Gangtok This morning take sightseeing tour that will cover Rumtek Monastery, Deer Park, Droul Chorthen, Research Institute of Tibetology, Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom and Enchey Monastery. The afternoon is free for you to explore Gangtok on your own. Overnight in Hotel. Day 14 : Gangtok In Gangtok.For a truly unforgettable experience, visit the sacred and serence Tshangu Lake (3780 m, 12400 ft).
Buddha preached first sermon at Sanath - Dharmachakrapravrtana (Turning of Wheel of Law), The middle way, The four Noble truth-Chatvari Arya Satyani and The Noble Eightfold Path-Aryashtanga Marg.
Buddha message spread rapidly, break all caste and class barrier. Buddha message related to our day to day life which is not carrying rituals. It is essentially concerned with all living, suffering being caught in the treadmill of desire and carving. He also spoke of ultimate nature of the existence which is sorrow, and this is the noble truth about sorrow.
At the age of eighty years the Buddha approached Mahaparinirvana (final extinct) with absolute tranquility. The Buddhist doctrine saw everyone as having an equal chance to achieve salvation. The Buddha ordained men from all walks of life- fisherman, potters, barber and it criticising the Vedic emphasis on sacrifice and rituals. Above all, the enlightened one preached that salvation was in one's own hands, possible in this world, by freeing oneself from desire.
A few months after the Mahaparinirwana a great meeting of monks held, popularly known as the first Buddhist council, took place at Saptaparni caves near Rajagriha. The teaching of the master were codified for the first time and the Vinaya Pitaka and the Sutra Pitaka were compiled. The second council that took place at Vaishali about a hundred years later, where the main point of difference between the orthodox believers and the progressives seems to have been on the question of attainment of Buddhahood, and the third one held at Pataliputra under leadership of The Great Mauryan ruler, Ashoka. In this meeting he decided to spread the Buddhism beyond India and for this purpose he sent his son, Mahendra and daughter Sanghmitra to Srilanka.
Ashok ruled between 268 to 239 BC, a remarkable emperor known for his fierceness. He himself converted into Buddhism after the bloody victory at the Kalinga war where thousands of innocent victims were killed, this tremendous loss of life proved to be a turning point in his life. He repented and decided for no further of campaigns of conquest. He became an ardent follower of Buddha, and started to popularize the principle of dharma, justice and non-violence which is associated with Buddhism. He took a lot of steps for spreading Buddhism throughout the vast territory.
Mahayana philosophy present it as ferryboat that would take humanity across the sea of suffering and rebirth to the shore of Nirvana. Mahayana school focused on Boddhisattva in comparison to Arhat. The arhat to be regarded as a spiritual aristocrat on the path to a purely personal salvation, while Boddhisattive was one who postponed his entry into Nirvana until he could lead all other beings to Nirvana as well.
In Sri Lanka, the school of the the elders held its own against the Mahayana tide and was known as the Theravada.
During reign of powerful king Parakkramabahu (1153-86), Sinhalese monk took Theravada to Burma. A century later Dharma was established in Thailand, while Buddhism spread in Cambodia and Laos during 14th century.
Through North India's Mahaviharas (monastic universities), Buddhism spread China by way of traders as early as 50 BC, and then move to Korea, and later move to Japan in the 6th century AD.
In the 8th century AD Santarakshita from Nalanda Mahavihara went to Tibet to spread Buddhism. He faced a lot of problem from local people and forced to return. After that Acharya Parmasambhava, the great Buddhist Tantaric Master from Kashmir, eastablished Buddhism in Tibet. Tibetan accoladed him as Guru Rinpoche.
Around 8th century a new school of Buddhism, Vajrayana (Vajra meaning thunderbolt)-anew school of Buddhism arose. This is described as the 'completed Dharma' because it absorb all principles of Theravada and Mahayana and also embaraced tantra.
After Tibet Buddhism entered into Mongolia and Mangols converted it into one of the gentlest faiths. Buddhism where gone it integrated into the culture of each country, from island of Japan to the landlocked mountains of Tibet and Mangolia.
In early 19th century many scholars, administrator taking an active interest in Buddhist philosophy. The works of Col Henry Olcott, the American co-founder of Theosophical Society, and Edwin Arnold's poem, 'The light of Asia' published in 1879, further spurred this intellectual curiosity. Travellers who had been to the east returned to Europe and North America immersed in Buddhist philosophy. Many Asian teacher arrived in Europe, often on teaching visits.
Anceient Buddhist message like Vinaya & Sutra Pitakas began as oral literature. During first council of monk at Rajgir after death of Buddha, his two disciples recited his message from memory. Upali called the Vinaya Pitaka and Ananda the Sutra Pitaka.
Earliest Buddhist message consist the Tripitakas, which includes Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma pitakas. These writing, with each Pitakas divided into a number of books and further subdivided into commentaries and abstracts.
Vinaya Pitaka deals with rules of monastic order, where as Sutra pitakas deals with the Buddha's teaching of ethical principles and Abhidharma pitakas was a collection of abstract Buddhist philosophy which elaborates the metaphysical principals.
Dhammapada, or the steps of Dharma, is a book which connect people easily to preaching of Lord Buddha. Buddha teaching ranging from happiness, anger and carving to Enlightenment, these can easily memorized by young monks and believers of all ages across the world.
Most of children growing up to listen Jatakas stories which is popular till today as folk tales. Jatakas means 'birth story' and about former incarnation of the Buddha. Jatakas story tell about moral and end of each story identified hero as Bodhisattva. The tales are carved on the gateway of stupas of sanchi and Bharhut among other sites, and also painted in the Ajanta Caves.
Millindapanh is about question of Milinda, which was written in Sanskrit language in India in the beginning of christen era. The book is a dialogue between Milinda (Menander), a Greco- Bactrian King of Sakala (modern Sialkot in Pakistan) and a Buddhist monk, Nagasena. Millinda after debate turn into follower of Buddha.
The most famous stories of Buddha are Lalitavistara of the Sarvastivandin sect and Buddhancharita wrote by Aswaghosha in the 1st century AD. The three great Srilankan verse chronicles- Dipavamsa, the Island Chronicle; the Mahavamsa, the great Chronicle; and Culavamsam the lesser chronicle. Many other added contribution in their work constantly.
Buddhist literature is a contribution of many monks and nuns who preserved these all manuscript with care and devotion which is a great collection and we can hear great till today and it shows a great civilization of the world.