Guide to India’s Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Circuit Train
India is the birthplace of Buddhism and receives thousands of visitors annually to visit the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The Mahaprinirvan Express is a Buddhist circuit tourist train, started by the Indian Railways in 2008, as a means for people to make their pilgrimages without worrying about the hassles of planning, organising and booking transportation, stay and meals at each location.
Named after Mahaparinirvan Sutra which enshrines Buddha’s final explanation of his doctrine, the Mahaparinirvan Express covers the most significant sites for Buddhist pilgrims. Additionally, this train also travels to Agra, allowing its guests to visit the world famous Taj Mahal.
The Buddhist circuit train fare covers various categories of air conditioned rooms to choose from, clean hygienic meals on the train, and bathroom cubicles with showers. Your Buddha circuit tour package also includes tour guided city excursions at every stop.
Starting the trip from the national capital of India, Delhi,your seven day Buddhist circuit train ride covers six prominent Buddhist locations.
- Gaya –The first stop on the Buddhist circuit tourist train, this is place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Here you visit the Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Rajgir and Nalanda –Rajgir is the place where Gautama Buddha spent time meditating and preaching and location of the first Buddhist council. Also visit Nalanda, the site of the Mahayana school of Buddhist philosophy.
- Varanasi – The site of the tallest statue of Lord Buddha atSarnath, this is also the place where he first preached. Also visit the banks of the river Ganges to participate inits famous evening Ganga aarti.
- Gorakhpur – Next on the trail is Khusinagar, the sacred site where Gautama Buddha died and attained parinirvana.
- Lumbini – From Gorakhpur take a day trip to Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Here visit the Mahadevi temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the sacred gardens as well as the sacred pond where Lord Buddha had his first bath.
- Gonda – The next holy site of visit is Shravasti. It is said that Lord Buddha spent twenty five of his life in Shravasti, the longest he stayed in any location and the place where he gave the largest number of sermons.
- Agra – The last day of the tour heads to the world famous city of Agra to visit one of the Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.