Indian Railways has now decided to cash in on the growing tourism sector in the country. Targeting Buddhist tourists from both India and abroad, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd, an arm of the Indian Railways, has launched a unique express train connecting all important places of Buddhist pilgrimages in India besides one in Nepal.
Named "Mahaparinirvan Express", on which all amenities of the Rajdhani Express trains has provided. Tourists offered onboard and off-board catering and housekeeping services.
This special train has 18 berths of first AC, 92 of two-tier AC and 256 berths of three-tier AC.
Day 01 : Delhi
The train leaves from Safdarjung Station at Delhi for Gaya. You'll be served the dinner on board the train.
Day 02 : Gaya
Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage places for the Hindus. It is believed that a Hindu will reach heaven if his last rites are offered under the celebrated 'Akshayabat' or immortal banyan tree, standing in the yard of Vishnupad temple. Believed to be built on the footsteps of Vishnu, the grand temple was renovated by Ahalyabai, queen of Indore.
Day 03 : Rajgir - Nalanda
Nalanda is situated around 90 km off Patna and is part of the Buddhist Circuit that also includes Bodh Gaya and Rajgir. Nalanda, one of the greatest centers of learning in the ancient times, is located in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.
Thsough the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th - 12th centuries. The Chinese scholar and traveler Hiuen Tsang stayed here in the 7th century, and has left an elaborate description of the excellence, and purity of monastic life practised here. About 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied in this international university. The Nalanda Museum and the Nava Nalanda Mahavihar are definitely worth a visit. The Nandangarh stupa, nearby, is believed to house the ashes of the Buddha.
Day 04 : Varanasi - Sarnath
Varanasi, or Benaras as it was earlier called, sacred to the Hindus has many names: Kashika, or 'the shining one' referring to the light of Shiva. At a distance of 12 km from Varanasi lies Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. Here he revealed the eight fold path that leads to the attainment of inner peace, enlightment and ultimate Nirvana.
Day 05 : Gorakhpur - Kushinagar
About 51 kilometres from Gorakhpur lies Kushinagar, Kushinagar, one of the principal centre of Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place where Lord Buddha left his corporeal self and attained Mahaparinirvana.
Day 06 : Kushinagar - Lumbini - Gorakhpur
Early B/F – Dep. for Lumbini (Nepal). Lunch – Dinner. Dep. Gorakhpur for Gonda.
Day 07 : Gonda - Sravasti - Gonda
Sravasti is located in Gonda district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Sravasti was the largest town in the Gangetic plains in the lifetime of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha performed the most talked about of miracles when he created many images of himself. It is a very popular theme among the artists of Buddhist leanings. Buddhism was very much popular in Sravasti even in the lifetime of Lord Buddha.
Day 08 : Agra - Delhi
This is the city which can be declared to be the most authoritative centre of tourism in India. Agra is known all over the world for the legendary monument Taj Mahal which is also one of the seven wonders of the world. The Lodhi ruler Sikandar Lodhi made Agra his capital some time in the sixteenth century. Later Agra went into the hands of Mughals and it was the time when some of the most stunning monuments of the human history came up in the city.
Agra is an important destination on the tourism scene of the world and this city alone accounts for three heritage monuments. These are - Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Not very many cities of the world can match the history and heritage of Agra.