Day 1: Allahabad
Pilgrims will arrive to Allahabad and check in to the hotel. After our orientation session and group meditation, we’ll take a boat at sunset to the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Sarasvati rivers. Our first day will conclude with a delicious buffet dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Allahabad & Kosambī
We’ll start our 120-km day-trip early in the morning to the remote Prabhosa (Mankula) Hill where the Buddha spent his 6th rainy season meditating alone and enjoying the sweeping views of the Yamuna River and surrounding villages. After meditating in one of the caves, we’ll drive to the ruins of Ghositārāma, Kosambī’s most famous monastic complex where the Buddha spent his ninth rain season giving numerous Dhamma teachings to both Saṅgha members and the laity. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and group-sitting here before returning to our hotel in Allahabad.
Day 3: Allahabad to Sārnāth
After a hearty breakfast and meditation at the hotel, we’ll embark on a three-hour drive to Sārnāth. The afternoon will be spent settling into our accomodations and then exploring the ruins and meditating at the Deer Park, where the Buddha gave his first sermons and set in motion the wheel of Dhamma. We’ll also meditate at the Mūlagandhakuti Vihāra while Indian and Sri Lankan bhikkhus chant the Dhammacakkapavatthana Sutta.
Day 4: Sārnāth
Our morning will begin with a sunrise boat-ride on the Ganges followed by breakfast. We’ll then walk for approximately three hours through rural farming villages and fields, using the same route said to be used by the Buddha when he traveled between Varanasi and Sārnāth. After the journey, pilgrims may rest at the pleasant monastic compound where we’ll be staying or return to the Mūlagandhakuti Vihāra to meditate during the chanting of the Dhammacakkapavatthana Sutta.
Day 5: Sārnāth
To help orient the pilgrimage experience, we’ll attend a 1-Day course at the Dhamma Cakka Vipassana Centre.
Day 6: Sārnāth to Bodhgayā
After a group meditation and mindfully consumed breakfast, we’ll travel six hours to Bodhgayā, with a pit-stop along the way for chai and lunch. After checking into our accommodations we’ll honor the Buddha’s Awakening with a group meditation under the Bodhi Tree at the celebrated Mahābodhi Temple.
Day 7: Bodhgayā
Between our group sittings and meals at the famous Be Happy Café, pilgrims will spend the afternoon meditating on their own at the Mahābodhi Temple, wandering around Bodhgayā’s monastic zones and markets, savoring a cup of chai, or resting back at our accommodations.
Day 8: Bodhgayā & Surroundings
Towering above the remote village of Gurpa is Kukkutapadagiri, or Cock's Foot Mountain. We’ll climb up this steep mountain to enjoy spectacular views and meditate at the commemorative shrine where the Buddha’s famous disciple, Mahākassapa, was last seen. Legend has it that the rugged bhikkhu is still meditating in a secret cave awaiting to offer robes to the next Buddha. After a delicious Indian vegetarian meal at a local restaurant, we’ll have some more free time before our final group sitting of the day under the Bodhi Tree.
Day 9: Bodhgayā & Surroundings
Today’s mini-road trip will be spent visiting the Barābar, Nāgārjuni, & Kauwa Dol Hills. We’ll have a chance to hike around these hills and meditate in some ancient caves that were carved out by King Asoka for the bhikkhu Saṅgha and yogis from other contemplative traditions.
Day 10: Bodhgayā
To help internally absorb our pilgrimage experience, we’ll meditate for the day at Dhamma Bodhi Vipassana Centre.
Day 11: Bodhgayā to Rājagaha (Rajgir)
Leaving Bodhgayā after an early breakfast and group sitting, we’ll drive to Jethian, the village said to be the location of the Palm Grove Monastery. Jethian, or Laṭṭhivana, is where King Bimbisara became a sotapanna and offered land to the Buddha for the first monastery. From here, we’ll walk along an old mountain trail, undoubtedly used by the Buddha and the bhikkhus-of-old, for approximately five hours, until we reach the ancient capital of Rājagaha. Here, we will rest and nourish our bodies at a local pilgrim’s rest-house.
Day 12: Rājagaha & Surroundings
With meditation gear in hand we’ll travel to Vediya Mountain, which is home to the Indasāla Cave where the Buddha meditated and gave Dhamma instructions to Sakka, the king of the devas. On the way back to Rājagha, we’ll stop for a brief visit to Silao, the famous site where the Buddha and Mahākassapa exchanges robes, and to Juafardīh, the site of Mahāmoggāllana’s birthplace and Parinibbāna. After a late lunch and rest, we’ll listen to inspiring stories and meditate in the lovely gardens of the Bamboo Grove, the first monastery established by the Buddha.
Day 13: Rājagaha & Surroundings
Today, we will hike around and meditate at Giriyek Hill, the site of Sāriputta’s birthplace and Parinibbāṇa. After lunch and some time to rest, we will spend the afternoon hiking around Vulture’s Peak before settling ourselves for a meditation at sunset.
Day 14: Rājagaha
We’ll meditate and have a picnic at Ayer Pathri, a remote site where the Buddha enjoyed retreating for secluded meditation. Our last hike of the trip will be up to the hot springs on Tapovana Hill, a site said to have been enjoyed by the Buddha himself. The day will end with a group-sitting and wrap-up session.
Day 15: Pilgrimage Ends
After our final early morning meditation, we’ll enjoy one last breakfast together before being shuttled of to the Patna airport or train station.
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