14 days -13 nights
Duration

This pilgrimage takes in some of the most culturally significant Buddhist sites in South India. Immerse yourself in monastic life with overnight stays at Sera Jey and Drepung monasteries, experience ‘Little Tibet’ in the town of Bylakuppe and explore countless stupas, temples and ruins along the way.

This pilgrimage will also visit the spectacular cave complexes at Ajanta and Ellora. These caves are home to some of the finest examples of ancient Buddhist sculpture and painting in the world. Both offer fascinating examples of monastic architecture and culture in India.

 

TOUR DATES

October – March

TOUR COST

A$ 2890 per person on twin share
A$ 890 single supplement* No fixed departure – price based on minimum 6 people

DURATION

14 Days, 13 Nights

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Marvel at the spectacular Buddhist temples at the Ajanta and Ellora caves
  • Immerse yourself in monastic life with overnight stays at Sera Jey and Drepung monasteries
  • Explore Tibetan settlements, known locally as ‘Little Tibet’
  • Visit the Namdroling Nyingmapa Tibetan Monastery and the stunning Golden Temple
  • Discover the Anandha Vihar temple complex and Amaravathi Kalachakra Museum
  • Tour the many significant Buddhist sites and ruins in Hyderabad
  • Relax with a boat ride to the Nagarjuna Konda Island Museum
  • Soak up the sights of Mumbai and visit the ancient Buddhist Kanheri Caves

TOUR ROUTE

Mumbai – Aurangabad (Ellora and Ajanta Caves) – Bangalore – Bylakuppe – Mundgod (Drepung Monastery) – Bangalore – Hyderabad – Nagarjuna Sagar – Amaravati – Vijayawada – Hyderabad – Mumbai
Day 1

Arrive Mumbai

Welcome to incredible India! One of our representatives will meet you and escort you to the hotel upon your arrival in Mumbai. After checking into the hotel, spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the local area and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere. Our friendly guide and hotel staff will be on hand should you need recommendations or general provisions.

Overnight: Hotel, Mumbai

Day 2

Mumbai – Aurangabad, Ellora Caves

Take an early morning flight to Aurangabad, an ancient Maharashtrian city. Upon arrival check into the hotel before leaving for a visit to the caves of Ellora.

The caves consist of 34 rock-cut shrines representing Buddhist, Hindu and Jain art and date back to the 6th and 10th centuries AD. Marvel at the many paintings and exquisite sculptures that are recognised as masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, representing depictions of the Buddha’s life and the Jataka tales. The caves are recognised as a World Heritage Site and are the most visited ancient monument in the state of Maharashtra.

Overnight: Hotel, Aurangabad

Day 3

Ajanta Caves

After an early breakfast at the hotel you will be escorted by private vehicle to the Ajanta Caves. On arrival catch a bus into the caves to enjoy a full day tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Buddhist cave temples. Located northeast of Aurangabad, the caves date from around 200BC to 650AD and are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the river Waghur. The caves house 29 spectacular monastic buildings that encompass both the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. On your tour you will be able to explore several distinct monasteries as well as view murals which are amongst the best examples of Buddhist art in India. In the late afternoon you will be driven back to Aurangabad.

Overnight: Hotel, Aurangabad

Day 4

Mumbai – Bangalore – Bylakuppe

Take an early morning flight to Bangalore. Upon arrival you will be driven to the town of Bylakuppe (five hours). This town is known as ‘Little Tibet’ and is home to over 5000 Tibetan Buddhist monks as well as the largest monastery outside of Tibet – Sera Jey. Arrive by early afternoon and check into the accommodation at the monastery. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to relax and explore the monastery.

Overnight: Sera Jey Guest House, Bylakuppe

Day 5

Sera Jey Monastery & Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery

Spend the day in and around Sera Jey Monastery. Tour the different colleges at the monastery, spend some time at the main court where thousands of monks hold daily debates, visit the mass kitchen and meet with prominent teachers from the monastery.

You will also visit the Namdroling Nyingmapa Tibetan Monastery and the spectacular Golden Temple, located near the city of Kushalnagar. This monastery is home to hundreds of monks, and the nearby Tibetan settlement is the second largest in India.

Overnight: Sera Jey Guest House, Bylakuppe

Day 6

Bylakuppe – Drepung Monastery

After breakfast leave for Drepung Monastery (approximately 5 hours). Drepung Loseling Monastery is in the Tibetan Settlement in Mundgod, in the Indian state of Karnataka. The settlement has a population of 12,500 Tibetan refugees and includes seven monasteries. Drepung is the largest of the monastic communities in the settlement and is home to more than 3,000 monks. Spend the afternoon exploring this unique settlement.

Overnight: Drepung Monastery Guest House, Mundgod

Day 7

Drepung Monastery & Ganden Monastery

Today you will have the opportunity to really immerse yourself in Tibetan culture. Explore Drepung and Ganden Monasteries, meet the monks, visit the local community and take some time for personal reflection.

Overnight: Drepung Monastery Guest House, Mundgod

Day 8

Drepung – Bangalore – Hyderabad

After breakfast you will be driven back to Bangalore, arriving in time to take a late afternoon flight to Hyderabad. The evening is at your leisure to relax or to explore the local surrounds.

Overnight: Hotel, Hyderabad

Day 9

Hyderabad – Nagarjuna Sagar

After breakfast you will spend the morning sightseeing around Hyderabad. Visit Anandha Vihara, the majestic modern temple dedicated to Lord Buddha and opened by the Dalai Lama. This will be followed by a trip to see the Grand Monolith Statue of Lord Buddha at Buddha Purnima. In the afternoon you will be driven to Nagarjuna Sagar (approximately 4 hours). Upon arrival check into your hotel and spend the evening at your leisure.

Overnight: Hotel, Nagarjuna Sagar

Day 10

Nagarjuna Sagar

This morning you will be taken on a tour of the significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the area – including the Anupu ruins, Viharas and Chaityas. In the afternoon you will take a boat excursion to visit the serene Nagarjuna Konda Island Museum. One of the most outstanding Buddhist civilisations was excavated here and it dates to the 3rd century AD. The ruins are carefully preserved on the picturesque island which is situated in the centre of a man-made lake.

Overnight: Hotel, Nagarjuna Sagar

Day 11

Amaravathi - Vijayawada

After breakfast you will be driven to the Amaravathi Kalachakra museum to view the fine collection of culturally significant Buddhist artefacts. In the late afternoon you will be driven to the city of Vijayawada (approximately 1 and half hours). The rest of the evening is at your leisure.

Overnight: Hotel, Vijayawada

Day 12
After breakfast, take a full day guided tour of the local Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The tour will start with a visit to the Bhattiprolu and Ghantasala Buddhist stupas before visiting the Neelamkondapalli and Jagayapeta stupas which are filled with inscriptions from the Mauryan era. The tour will conclude with the beautiful Undavalli Caves, a 4-story temple complex carved out of the hillside for Buddhist monks in the 2nd century. In the late afternoon you will be driven back to Hyderabad.

Overnight: Hotel, Hyderabad

Day 13

Hyderabad - Mumbai

Take an early flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival check into the hotel before venturing to the north of Mumbai to visit the spectacular 2400-year-old Kanheri Caves, which have been sculpted out of the rocky cliffs which lie within the park. The Kanheri Caves were an important Buddhist learning centre and pilgrimage site sculpted by Buddhist monks between the 9th and the 1st centuries BC.

Overnight: Hotel, Mumbai

Day 14

Depart Mumbai

Prepare for your onward journey or spend the day at your leisure and visit some of the sites around Mumbai such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), High Court, Mumbai City Museum, Gateway to India or one of the many ancient bazaars.

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your return flight. We look forward to seeing you on another Pilgrimage Paths journey soon.

INCLUDES

13  nights’ accommodation with breakfast

Domestic Airfares:
Mumbai to Aurangabad
Aurangabad to Bangalore
Bangalore to Hyderabad
Hyderabad to Mumbai

Private taxi for all transfers and sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary

All charges related to transport such as tolls, parking, fuel etc.

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments

Services of an English-speaking guide for the duration of the tour

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)

Lunch and dinner (unless otherwise specified)

Extra activities and transport not stipulated in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tips

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Compulsory insurance of any kind

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