A religious visit - Suggestions for elderly Japanese family ?

#1 Dec 5th, 2016, 02:18
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  • miyu is offline
#1
One half of my family is of buddhist beliefs. My elderly families now very much want to visit for this reason a tour of important places for Siddhartha. Please suggest places which may be cover in 10-12 days ?

The elderly family members are over 75 years of age, and one is 89 years, but very healthy and straight ! The budget is not very luxury, but not also backpack/hippie type accomodation.


Thanks
#2 Dec 5th, 2016, 02:59
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#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post One half of my family is of buddhist beliefs. My elderly families now very much want to visit for this reason a tour of important places for Siddhartha. Please suggest places which may be cover in 10-12 days ?

The elderly family members are over 75 years of age, and one is 89 years, but very healthy and straight ! The budget is not very luxury, but not also backpack/hippie type accomodation.


Thanks
It would seem to me that seeking suggestions for independent travel on Indiamike is not the best course of action for this group.

Going with a tour operator means the physical needs of elderly travelers will be taken care of, without having to hassle with taxi drivers and finding restaurants and so forth at every stop. There are many group tours for East Asian visitors (which generally means Buddhist sites), and I am sure individual tours (for your family only) can be customized by tour operators, and they will know from experience what destinations are popular with Buddhist tourists.
#3 Dec 5th, 2016, 03:47
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I would say that for a 10, 12 day tour the best might be to divide it equally with stays in varanasi and bodhgaya. Varanasi would be the hub from which to visit sarnath and from bodhgaya one can get to rajghir, those places should be okay for elderly folks to enjoy. And both have reasonable accommodation. If they are adventurous they can take a train between them? If they are interested in tibetan buddhism they could include mcleodganj but that might make it quite rushed...
#4 Dec 5th, 2016, 03:50
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I have never used their services but other members recommend India Panorama.
See here for a sample of a Buddhist tour.
#5 Dec 5th, 2016, 10:22
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You could also consider the IRCTC Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train. See http://www.irctctourism.com/cgi-bin/...t=0&buddhaSpl=
#6 Dec 6th, 2016, 11:22
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#6

Thank You all

Quote:
Originally Posted by vonkla View Post I have never used their services but other members recommend India Panorama.
See here for a sample of a Buddhist tour.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post You could also consider the IRCTC Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train. See http://www.irctctourism.com/cgi-bin/...t=0&buddhaSpl=
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasika View Post I would say that for a 10, 12 day tour the best might be to divide it equally with stays in varanasi and bodhgaya. Varanasi would be the hub from which to visit sarnath and from bodhgaya one can get to rajghir, those places should be okay for elderly folks to enjoy. And both have reasonable accommodation. If they are adventurous they can take a train between them? If they are interested in tibetan buddhism they could include mcleodganj but that might make it quite rushed...
Thank You all very much. I will study the suggestions and the links.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RPG View Post It would seem to me that seeking suggestions for independent travel on Indiamike is not the best course of action for this group.

Going with a tour operator means the physical needs of elderly travelers will be taken care of, without having to hassle with taxi drivers and finding restaurants and so forth at every stop. There are many group tours for East Asian visitors (which generally means Buddhist sites), and I am sure individual tours (for your family only) can be customized by tour operators, and they will know from experience what destinations are popular with Buddhist tourists.
You are very correct. We had good suggestions from this forum, and based on advice and guidance we get JALpak in the first instance, and then local tourist on second, to make custom trip. We avoid many not interesting sites in both our Žajasthan and Kerala tour.

We pray out good focus from here, we not get problems from our car with driver, who protect our interest. Ofcourse our trip is maybe more expensive than frugal tourist, but is without stress.

Thank you remind us about this forum's speciality.

miyu
#7 Dec 6th, 2016, 20:22
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post Thank you remind us about this forum's speciality.
Even if you book a ready-made or tailor-made tour, you can still discuss it here! Especially if you go for tailor-made. We are not just about intrepid travellers who leave the airport and start sticking pins in maps. In fact, much as I admire their spirit of adventure, some of us hate to travel that way: I like to know where I'm sleeping every night!

And any way, do please tell us about it, with photos!
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#8 Dec 7th, 2016, 00:41
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post
And any way, do please tell us about it, with photos!
I make some photograph posting in kerala forum of our trip.
#9 Dec 7th, 2016, 19:13
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu I make some photograph posting in kerala forum of our trip.
Oh yes! I had forgotten enjoying your Kerala thread.

Appam (post #10) is one of my favourites. But would you believe that the best appam I have had is from Ananda Bhavan in... Singapore! They make every one just right. It is one of the reasons I enjoy visiting that city!
#10 Dec 7th, 2016, 21:41
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Hi Miyu, there are many places to visit in India. Most of the Buddhist pilgrims go to Bodh Gaya, this where Lord Buddha attained his enlightenment. Your family can spend couple of days in Gaya visiting the main sites and monasteries. Then, then can go to Varanasi, another important place. Why don't you contact a travel agency to organise the trip for your family.
#11 Dec 8th, 2016, 01:36
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Miya san, have a look at the following link. This will give you some details.

http://www.shikhar.com/buddhist-heritage-tour-sti147

Buddhist Heritage Tour
Duration: 11 Days 10 Nights
Activities: Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours
Regions: North India,North East India
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Lucknow - Sravasti - Lumbini - Kushinagar - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Patna - Delhi
#12 Dec 17th, 2016, 23:28
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#12

How to do the Buddhist circuit on your own

When you plan what is called a Buddhist circuit tour, and you would like to do it on your own, which is quite feasable, then you are first of all confronted with the question: where to begin. This is so, because the major places associated with the Buddha are roughly placed in a circle, or rather a rectangle. So you have to decide where to begin.

This question may also be of importance regarding the visa you can get, because Lumbini is outside of India, in Nepal. For this reason you need at least a double entry visa. If that should not be available to you, you must begin with Lumbini, which means you have to enter the Indian subcontinent in Nepal. There are flights from South East Asia to Kathmandu, for instance Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur, or from further away, Korean Airlines.

If your starting place is Lumbini, the next logical destination is Kushinagar, the place of the Buddha's Parinibbana, at time of his death. For the destination after that, it would be important to decide, if Savatthi, the place where the Buddha spent the most time teaching, is important to you, or if you just want to visit the four main spots (place of birth, place of awakening, place of first teaching, and place of death).

Savatthi /Sravasthi is reachable on rather difficult roads, partly full of potholes (depending on season and state of repair), for the visitor then to find out when there, that there are only some ruins to be visited. It is not a very built up place like Sarnath or Bodhgaya or Kushinagar or even Lumbini. Savatthi is defintely interesting for someone who reads the Suttas, the original discourses of the Buddha, because the various places are mentioned there a lot.

If you skip Savatthi, then your next destination after Kushinagar is Sarnath, near Varanasi. The journey to get there by car is rather long; the option would be to take a night train from Gorakhpur, which means it would limit your decision capability to stay longer or proceed earlier from the previous places.

After Sarnath all you have left is Bodhgaya, which is at an easy distance from Sarnath/Varanasi. I would recommend to include Rajgir, especially Vulture Peak, because that is the most authentic place where the Buddha stayed, since the rocks and caves there have hardly changed much in the past 2500 years, while all the other places are heavily overbuilt with construction of temples etc.

If you can get a double or multiple entry visa, the beginning point of your tour is still hingeing around the question, how easy of access that point is or should be for you. Suppose you come into india through New Delhi, then you could take a flight to three points of the circuit: to Varanasi/Sarnath, to Bodhgaya (flights in tourist season only), and to Patna. If you come in through Kolkata, you could take flights only to Patna, or take a night train to Gaya, near Bodhgaya.

If you start in Sarnath, you have to decide which way around you would like to proceed. I think it would make sense to cover the longest distance on the road in the beginning, and not keep that to the end. The next destination from Sarnath would therefore be Lumbini (it could be Savatthi, if you decided to include that), and after Lumbini you go to Kushinagar, and from there via Patna to Rajgir and then Bodhgaya.

If you decide to start in Bodhgaya, the logical direction is to go to Rajgir, then Kushinagar, then Lumbini, then (possibly Savatthi or) to Sarnath. This circuit would give you the advantage of an easy exit option, namely to go by plane to your outbound flight. In Bodhgaya you have a flight only to Kolkata, none to Delhi. This circuit has the added adantage, that you don't have to cover the distance Sarnath to Bodhgaya by car. You could let the hired car go in Sarnath, which saves you some money also, in that you'd pay one day less for it.

I suppose it is a good idea to spend two days at each place (at Bodhgaya maybe three days), except at Rajgir, where one day would be enough, because you could proceed the short distance to Bodhgaya after a visit on Vulture Peak (ropeway up the hill). Or if you start from Bodhgaya, go to Rajgir first by taxi, then get the hired car only after finishing the visit in Rajgir, which again can save you some money and time spent with a hired car.

I address some of the logistics in a following post.
#13 Dec 18th, 2016, 03:02
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#13

Car logistics

My personal preference is to start the circuit at Bodhgaya. It is the nicest place with the most inspiring atmosphere around the Mahabodhi. It is way more touristy than the other places, but it has a good vibration around the offspring of the tree, under which the Buddha found his awakening.

I would suggest to spend a few days in Bodhgaya. Cars with drivers are easy to hire from there. A car for the whole circuit costs roughly between Rs 2200 for the smallest car to about Rs 3600 for an Innova or Rs 4000 per day.

See price examples for various cars here (scroll down). If you get the car from this company which is stationed in Patna, you also pay the way to pick you up at the place where you start. The prices are per a minimum of 200 km per day, irrespective whether you actually go the 200 km or not.

This link is mainly for accurate information purposes, but this company could also be recommended if you start in Bodhgaya, and then go to Rajgir for one day, from where your hired car could come to pick you up to bring you to Kushinagar on the following day.

If you discuss prices with agents or car owners in Bodhgaya or elsewhere, you may be offered a whole package price (only the car ride though, not the hotels). They would calculate the kilometers of your tour and quote you a price for the whole circuit. In my experience this is not a good idea, because with this scenario the driver is motivated to save as much as he can, and to rush you as much as he can.

If you have a per day agreement, he will be more inclined to follow your orders, if on the way you would like to change something, look at something else, make a detour or whatever. It is the more relaxed form of driving, because then, if the minimum 200 km are up, you start to pay for every additional kilometer the agreed per km-price.

Needless to say, with the latter agreement you should write down the kilometers on the odometer at the start of your tour. Generally drivers are interested in getting you safely to the point where you want to go. Drivers do not earn very much, so they are interested to work to your satisfaction so that you would give them a good tip after the tour is finished. I think it is a good idea to pay some meals for the driver, though not necessarily all of them, just that he feels a certain reluctance to take advantage of you. Experienced drivers know good eating places on the tour, but for some it may also be the first time to do the whole circuit.

One thing to be careful with is with the advances to be paid. It is better to not give the full amount in advance, if it can be avoided. Another caveat is to pay an advance at petrol stations; if you are asked to do so, be sure to write down the amount you gave, so you can subtract it from the bill at the end. Common place advice, I know. But better safe than sorry.

As to the choice of the car, for 3 people an Innova is a good idea. I don't know now how many you are... A Sumo could be an option, but you should ride in one first to see if it suits you; it is a bit hard on the shocks, I believe, but that aside, it is a good sturdy car also for more difficult roads.
#14 Dec 18th, 2016, 03:09
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#14
Excellent posts, atala! I hope that miyu's friends and family managed to negotiate the IndiaMike registration hurdles and will avail of your sound advice here.
#15 Dec 18th, 2016, 17:46
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Thank you atala very much
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