2023 CHARITY TOUR : BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA
We are excited to announce our charity tour for the year 2023. This year, Ven.Donyo will lead the Buddhist Pilgrimage tour to India . This is one of our popular trips and we aim to run this tour every few years.
The dates are finally confirmed and the trip starts on November 6-18, 2023. So, please save the event in your calendar for your favorite tour with Ven. Donyo. Once the tour ends, Ven. Donyo will organize a Vision Health camp for the locals. If you have enough time, you are also welcome to join us during our health camp.
Please find below the itinerary for the upcoming pilgrimage to India.
Please note: During the tour, we will be staying in 2 to 4 star hotels that are often fully booked during pilgrimage season between November - February.
Joining the pilgrimage will not only benefit to develop your spiritual path, but also help in raising some funds for Delek Children's Education.
A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place as an act of devotion and faith. Many enlightened beings have advised to visit the place where the Buddha was born, the place where the Buddha attained Enlightenment, the place where he preached the first teaching, and where he passed away into Mahaparinirvana.
During the pilgrimage, we will visit the major holy sites of Buddha such as: Lumbini - birthplace of Buddha, Kushinagar - where Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana, Rajgir - where Buddha gave teachings on the Heart Sutra, Nalanda - Ruins of the Ancient Buddhist University, Varanasi - where Buddha preached his first discourse, and finally Bodh Gaya - where Buddha attained enlightenment. Please see below for the complete list of sites and the corresponding itinerary.
NOTE: Pilgrimage costs are based on a typical group size of at least 10 participants. Should this tour be under-subscribed, a surcharge of $200 per person will apply. A minimum of 10 participants are necessary to operate this charity tour.
Please note this is a private tour which we are organizing through our local agent in India. If you need any information regarding the tour please contact us at email@example.com.
Tour Cost: $3200 per person without international air fare and it includes lodging, meals and local transportation. All prices are based on shared rooms, twin beds. If you would like a single room, there will be an additional $400 per person.
During the trip you will be sharing rooms that have twin beds. Therefore, we advise you to encourage your family and/or friends to join the pilgrimage so you can share a room with your family or friends. We will make the greatest effort to make you as comfortable as possible.
Please click this link to print the registration form:
To register for the pilgrimage, please mail us a $500 check payable to Delek Children's Foundation along with complete registration form and a photocopy of your passport for hotel reservation to: 5600 Sutter Ave. Richmond, CA 94804. Once we receive your registration, we'll send you a confirmation. However, without the deposit, your registration will not be confirmed. Your deposit will be part of the tour payment.
If anyone wishes to join the pilgrimage from other states or other countries, they are welcome to do so. However, registration is still required, and all participants must arrive in Delhi as per tour schedule.
For your international tickets, we recommend you discuss with Sonam at Third Eye Travel and she will give you suggestion as per our group schedule. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 510-487-9010 ext 101. If you prefer to fly on different airlines, please make sure to let Sonam know before purchasing the tickets. You must arrive in Delhi on the same day according to the group schedule. If you arrive in Delhi, one day before or after the group, all the additional expenses will not be included in the package.
India & Nepal Visa: Please apply for your Indian visa before you book your airline ticket unless you already obtained your Indian visa previously. If you already have existing 5- or 10-years Indian Tourist visa, then you don't need to apply again. Please make sure to check your visa validity and expiration. If your visa is not current, please apply for your Indian visa right away.You can get the regular paper visa from the Indian Consulate which must be applied through the Indian government appointed visa agency, VFS Global Agency. You can also apply for electronic visa for India for either one- or five-years multiple entry. When you apply for an Indian visa, you'll need two references. For your reference in India, please put Senge Travel, House No 124, New Aruna Nagar, Majnu-ka Tilla, Ring Road, Delhi-110054, phone number 91-65975248. For your reference in the US, you can either put your family member or put Thupten Donyo, 6401 Bernhard Ave. Richmond, CA 94805. My Tel: (510) 6746000.
Visa for Nepal can be obtained upon arrival at the border before heading to Lumbini.
Day 1 - November 6: Arrive Delhi. (Royal Plaza or equivalent to 3 star hotel )
On arrival at Delhi International airport, the group will then be transferred to the hotel. On arrival at the hotel. After lunch, half day sight-seeing of Delhi visiting National Museum where you can witness the holy relics of Lord Buddha, India Gate. Overnight hotel in Delhi.
Day 2 - November 7: Delhi – Lucknow – Sravasti (Hotel Lotus Nikko or equivalent)
After having breakfast, depart to Delhi airport to board a flight to Lucknow. At Lucknow airport, the group will be driven to Sravasti which is about 170 kilometers from Lucknow. Check in at the hotel on arrival and overnight at Sravasti.
Day 3 - November 8: Sravasti – Lumbini (Hotel Yeti or equivalent )
After breakfast, visit Jetvana Garden to witness the Jetvana monastery, Gandhakuti (Lord Buddha's Hut), Anandabodhi Tree, Petalled Lotus and Ashoka Pillar inside the holy garden. Thereafter, drive 1 kilometer to visit Orajhar (A spot where Lord Buddha performed Miracles), (Angulimala Stupa). If time and energy permits, then visit other Buddhist temples around Sravasti. After lunch, check-out from the hotel and head towards Lumbini (in Nepal), which is 225 kilometers from Sravasti, the birth place of Buddha. Overnight hotel in Lumbini.
Note: While travelling from Sravasti to Lumbini, you are travelling from one country to another country and therefore crossing two borders, India and Nepal, where you have to go through immigration process at both the borders.
Day 4 - November 9: Lumbini – Kushinagar ( Hotel Lotus Nikko or equivalent )
After breakfast, visit Lumbini, the holy birth place of Buddha. There is a Pillar near the Maya Devi Temple built by King Ashoka in the year 259 BC, to commemorate the spot of the holy birthplace of Buddha. A pillar erected by King Ashoka stands on the place of Buddha's birth. After lunch, check-out from the hotel and head towards Kushinagar (India) which is near about 161 kilometers. Overnight hotel in Kushinagar.
Note: Here also, while travelling from Lumbini to Kushinagar, you have to go through immigration process at both the borders, i.e., Nepal and India, since exit and entry is from two different countries.
Day 5- November 11: Kushinagar – Vaishali ( Vaishali Residency )
After breakfast, visit Mahaparinirvana Temple, the cremation site of Lord Buddha. If time permits, visit Indo-Japan-Sri Lanka Buddhist temples. After lunch, check-out from the hotel and head towards Vaishali, located in Bihar State of India, is a place where Lord Buddha gave his last sermon. Overnight hotel in Vaishali.
Day 6 - November 12: Vaishali – Bodhgaya ( Hotel Kirti )
After breakfast, visit the holy place Vaishali, where Lord Buddha has delivered His last sermon. Later, King Ashoka built a huge pillar, made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone 18.3 m high, to commemorate the spot of the last Sermon. A life-size figure of a lion is placed on top of the pillar. There is a small tank known as Ramkund near to the Ashoka pillar. Thereafter, drive a few minutes to visit Lord Buddha’s Relic Stupa, Japanese Temple, and Archeological museum. Vaishali is also known for a beautiful dancer who offered Lord Buddha a mango orchard and later who became a Nun. After witnessing the holy place, have lunch at Vaishali and then head towards Bodhgaya, a place where Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained Enlightenment and became Lord Buddha. Bodhgaya is approximately 173 kilometers from Vaishali. Overnight hotel in Bodhgaya.
Day 7 - November 13: Bodhgaya ( Hotel Kirti )
After breakfast, visit Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree under which Prince Siddhartha meditated and finally attained NIRVANA - the enlightenment and became Lord Buddha. The original tree is no longer there but a descendant of the tree still stands and is a prime attraction for Buddhist pilgrims. Many of the structures date back to the time of Buddha and others were built during the reign of Ashoka (268 – 232 BCE). The brick temple dates back to the Gupta period and is datable to the 5th–6th century CE. Bodhgaya also has a giant Buddha statue in sitting posture which is a few minutes walk from the main temple.
After lunch, drive to Mahakala cave which is about 2 hours drive from Bodhgaya. Visit the cave perched on a small hill. Later, head back towards Bodhgaya. Overnight stay at the hotel in Bodhgaya.
Day 8 - November 14: Bodhgaya – Nalanda – Rajgir – Bodhgaya ( Hotel Kirti )
After breakfast, leave for Nalanda which is 92 kilometers drive from Bodhgaya. Nalanda is a site of a Buddhist University of great repute which came up much after Lord Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. Visit the ruins of the one of the oldest universities of the world and also an International Centre for Buddhist Studies. There is an Archeological Museum close to the ruins of the university where one can witness a statue of the Buddha (600 BCE) which was found in Rajgir. After the sightseeing of Nalanda, head towards Rajgir which is 18 kilometers from Nalanda to visit vulture’s peak, one of Lord Buddha’s favorite meditation places. Hike up for 20-30 minutes depending on an individual's stamina and speed to visit Vulture’s Peak located on a small hill perched at an altitude of 400m where Lord Buddha has delivered many of His Sermons. Among the sermons are the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Surangama Samadhi Sutra as well as many Prajnaparamita Sutras. It is explicitly mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, as the Buddha's pure land. It is also the place where the Teachings of Lord Buddha were recorded in writing for the first time. Also visit Japanese temples either by an aerial Ropeway from the base or by hiking from Vulture’s peak. Overnight hotel in Bodhgaya.
Day 9 - November 15: Bodhgaya – Varanasi ( Hotel Meriden Grand or equivalent )
After breakfast, drive to Sujata village to visit Sujata Stupa a place where a milkmaid Sujata offered Lord Buddha a bowl of rice curd as he was sitting under a Banyan tree, thereby ending his six years of fasting and asceticism, and allowing him to attain enlightenment. After lunch, check out from the hotel and head towards Varanasi which is 247 kilometers from Bodhgaya. Check-in hotel on arrival and overnight hotel in Varanasi.
Day 10 - November 16: Varanasi ( Hotel Meriden Grand or equivalent )
After breakfast, an excursion to SARNATH, located 13 kilometers north-east of Varanasi, to visit a holy place at Deer Park where Lord Buddha has delivered his first sermon after an enlightenment and also where the original Sangha was formed. Within the deer park complex, there is a Dharmek 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. Thereafter, visit Sarnath museum, evening visit Ganga River. Overnight hotel in Varanasi.
Day 11- November 17: Varanasi – Delhi ( Royal Plaza or equivalent to 3 star hotel )
After breakfast the group will be transferred to Varanasi airport depending on the departure time of the flight, to board the flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport, then the group will be transferred to the hotel. Overnight hotel in Delhi.
Day 12 - November 18: Agra – Delhi
Today is your last day of the pilgrimage. After breakfast, visit Taj Mahal, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. Explore the Taj Mahal and then visit Agra Fort, which is the palace of Emperor Shah Jahan when Agra was capital of India.
Depending on the departure time of the flight, the groups will be transferred to Delhi international airport to board the flight for your onward journey with happy memories and blessings from Lord Buddha. Our representative will escort the groups to the airport and then bid you farewell. We recommend all members book your return flight home the next day on November 19, 2023 AM so that you have extra time to rest and get to the airport from Agra or New Delhi.
Tour ends here.