Hinduism & Buddhism in India
Study Religion in India
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You’ll arrive in New Delhi, the capital of India. For your first day here, take some time to explore and do some shopping in this vibrant city!
Your first destination will be Malai Mandir, a complex of Hindu temples. Sree Swaminatha Swami is the presiding deity, and it’s one of the most notable temples in New Delhi. Next, visit the Ladakh Buddhist Vihara. Outside, a monk will tell you about the temple and more about Buddhism. As you go into the temple, make sure to take off your shoes, as this is the norm in Buddhist places of worship. Usually, monks will be praying here, so if you feel comfortable, you can meditate along with them.
You’ll be focusing on Hinduism today. Your first temple will be Kalkaji Mandir. It was built in honor of Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and time. You’ll meet a Hindu person outside the temple who will tell you more about this particular goddess and their faith in general. If you bring an offering to Kali, you’ll be able to set it on her altar.
Next, you’ll head to Swaminarayan Akshardham, a more modern temple. This place teaches visitors about Hinduism through films and a water show! Its beautiful spiritual center is made out of pink sandstone and marble. You can see a statue of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a youthful yogi, and offer your prayer for anything you desire, like world peace or reduced inequality in India.
After an early 2-hour flight to Bodh Gaya and checking in to your hotel, you’ll start your morning with a meditation class in a local zen garden. Your instructor will teach you mindful breathing and proper posture. Today, you’ll be visiting one of the most iconic sites in Buddhism: the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha reached enlightenment. Visiting the Bodhi Tree is a very common pilgrimage for Buddhists to make, so you’ll get to see people who came from all over the world to see this tree. You’ll finish off the day checking out the Great Buddha Statue. It’s made of marble and is 64 feet (19.5 m) tall, and is another important part of Buddhist pilgrimages.
First thing, you’ll fly to the city of Jammu. Once you arrive, you’ll visit Vaishno Devi Mandir, which is among the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. You’ll need to make a bit of a hike, so plan accordingly. The large building houses the cave temple of the goddess Vaishno Devi, and it is said to be the living place of 33 Hindu gods. The cave is narrow, so you’ll have to crawl on your knees to access it, but it’s said to be where the goddess is located. Once you finish your hike back, enjoy a dinner of authentic Indian food.
It’s time to do some charity work! Many people who live in the poorer parts of India cannot afford adequate housing. They are exposed to the elements, and they get sick from cooking on coal. You’ll be helping a family improve their home today! If you don’t have any construction experience, no problem. A contractor will help you every step of the way. This work will help this family stay safe and hopefully make their way out of poverty. After you’re done, you’ll board a flight to Kushinagar for one more stop.
You’re in your last city in India, but don’t let that put a damper on your day! You’ll tour the Parinirvana Stupa and Mahaparinirvana Temple, where the Buddha is said to have reached parinirvana, or enlightenment after death. It is also rumored that the cremated remains of the Buddha are here. Take some time and put your meditation lessons to use somewhere on the grounds.
You’ve learned a great deal about two important world religions on your trip, as well as about India itself. Now you should be able to teach others what you’ve learned, and hopefully come back for a refresher course!
India is the birthplace of two important world religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. On international student tours around India, you will travel to some of the most historical sites associated with these religions and meet the people who practice them today.
Interested in adding or modifying activities? No problem! All Worldwide Navigator itineraries can be customized to your liking!
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