Individuals preparing for a Buddhist pilgrimage to North/East India will be looking for a single text to read in advance, but which is also concise and portable for the trip. This 2004 publication is perfect. Maps of Bihar/Uttar Pradesh/Nepal are conveniently located inside both front and back covers. The site descriptions are concise and excellently done. Each section has numerous pictures and diagrams of the sites. This is a non-US publication so distances are metric. Temperatures are described in both Celsius and Fahrenheit though. Although described as a "hardback", the book is actually a stiff softback, quite light weight and a perfect size for purse or pack. Gassho!
Filled with hundreds of full-color photos, "Walking with the Buddha" gives the Buddhist pilgrim travel planner a good idea of what can be seen in India and Nepal. Produced by the Indian government's Department of Tourism and now in its second edition, the book also has a useful 13-page section with descriptions and phone numbers of hotels, tourist information offices, and travel agents in the small, out-of-the-way towns and villages that make up the Buddhist pilgrim circuit, places standard guidebooks largely gloss over. What the guide doesn't do, though, is make such a great traveling companion. While it's narrow enough to fit in a hip pocket, it does a better job showing than describing. Once you get to where you're going, there's nothing much to learn about the places you're visiting.
I would suggest carrying the 13-page travel data section, leaving the rest at home, and picking up Middle Land, Middle Way: A Pilgrim's Guide to the Buddha's India as a companion volume. Written by an Australian monk, this 1992 guide includes chapter-length descriptions of 16 Buddhist pilgrimage sites and monuments in India and Nepal as they exit today, as well as historical descriptions from Buddhist pilgrims of the 4th, 7th, 13th, and 19th centuries.
but if you book your buddhist pilgrimage through IRTC (Indian Railway Travel Corp) they give this book to you for free. it's a very cheap & safe travel package that IRTC designed specificially for the buddhist pilgrimage and they add taj mahal for extra. this book is great for souvenir.