7 Days Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour In Nepal
Nepal is a country located in South Asia between India and China. The country is special in many aspects. One of the major aspects that make the country utterly unique is the cultural harmony in the country. The country is the holiest grounds for not one but two major religions in the world. The largest Hindu temples and holiest Buddhist pilgrimages lie in Nepal. Despite the two prominent religions and other many minor religions, Nepali peoples live in harmony with each other. Due to having the holiest Buddhist pilgrimages in the world Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is extremely popular among the Buddhists of the world.
Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. In this very land the one who paved the way towards peace and truth. There are various relics, pilgrimages, and places that were attached to lord buddha in the country. Nepal and its pilgrimages are considered holiest in Buddhism by Buddhists all around the world. Every year the citizens of various countries immersed in Buddhism or not come here for a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal. The country has many holy Buddhist sites that are scattered around its periphery. From the capital of the country Kathmandu to remote locations of the country, they have monasteries and pilgrimages that are dedicated to Lord Buddha.
Arrival at Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and lies at the center region of its territory. From Kathmandu, our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal starts. One key factor that makes Kathmandu our first location in Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is that it has many important pilgrimages around its area and another is that Kathmandu has the only international airport in the country till today. However, soon in the future Nepal will construct an international airport around the Lumbini region.
On the first day, the visitors arrive for a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal through Tribhuvan International airport. Then they will be taken to the hotel and given the briefing of the 7 days tour. Then they need to take rest for the following days. In the evening time, they can visit nearby places however, it is advised that they take rest because the following days will be very busy ones.
Day 2 and Day 3: Visit Kathmandu Valley
Day 2 and Day 3 of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is the day of a visit around Kathmandu valley.
There are many holy Buddhist pilgrimages around the valley. Swayambhu Nath, Boudha Nath are the two holiest site presents in the Kathmandu valley. Swayambhu Nath and Boudha Nath are both some of the oldest Buddhist pilgrimage sites present in the world. It is believed that Swayambhu Nath is around 2,500 years old and the Boudha Nath stupa was constructed around the fifth century.
Swayambhu Nath is also called the monkey temple as the hill is filled with monkeys. It is also unique in the manner that, Swayambhu Nath is a place where the peoples of both religions Hindu and Buddhist worship at the same place. It is one of the few unique places in the world where the people of two religions worship at the same place.
Boudha Natha and Swayambhu Natha are the biggest Buddhist pilgrimage in Kathmandu valley but they are not the only two. The valley has further Surprises for the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal.
The golden temple of Patan, Bhaktapur, Monastery of Kapan, Nagi monastery of Budanilkantha, Jamchen Monastery, White Monastery, Thrangu Tashi choloing monastery, are some of the many Buddhist monasteries that are located around the Kathmandu valley. They are all constructed at various times by various peoples and represent different aspects and importance in the Buddhist religion.
On day 2 and Day 3 of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, all of them are visited.
Day 4 of our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal will take us to Namo Buddha
Namo Buddha is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimages that are in Nepal. It is considered that many ages ago their Lord Buddha offered his body to the hungry tigress to fed her hungry cubs. There are also various other legends associated with the place.
The holy monastery of Namo Buddha is located about 40km away from the Kathmandu valley and lies on the top of the remote hill. One needs to take the Bp Koirala highway from Kathmandu and leave the highway to go above the hill once Phaskot village comes. The local bus to Namo buddha is not consistent so it is very efficient in traveling in own vehicle or booked vehicle.
After some time along the uphill way, Namo Buddha is reached. There is a huge beautiful monastery at the top of the hill. It is filled with the idols of Lord Buddha, arts, pictures all dedicated to them. A very peaceful environment is maintained here with the effort of the monks.
After visiting Namo buddha the visitors will return to Kathmandu. The night of the 4th day of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is spent at Kathmandu.
Day 5 of our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal we will go to Mukti Nath
Mukti Nath is the holy temple of Lord Vishnu. It is another monument where the people of both religions of Hinduism and Buddhism go to worship.
The temple of Mukti Nath is located in the Mustang region of Nepal. The main temple has a big golden statue of Lord Vishnu. The region is also famous for the Kali Gandaki region, where Saligram is found. Saligram is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Buddhists and Hindu have their separate beliefs regarding the region but are the same place for worship.
Buddhist people call the Mukti Nath valley Chuming Gyatsa and are another milestone in our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal. Which means 108 water sprouts. It is believed that great teacher Guru Rim Poche meditated here and found enlightenment. He was in Tibet when he started meditating there and found cosmic knowledge and peace.
He is also believed to be the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The place has various villages and shrines that are very holy to the Buddhists peoples. While this is the mythology for the Buddhist people, Hindus have different mythology. They believe that Lord Vishnu resides there in the stone form of Saligram when he was cursed by Vrinda.
On the 5th day of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, we take off from Kathmandu airport to Jomsom. Jomsom is about 30 minutes flight away from Kathmandu. On the way, we can see the beautiful mountains and scenes. The temple of Mukti Nath is about 23 km away from Jomsom. In-vehicle it will take one hour and few minutes to reach there.
The main temple is white and has the statue of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Laxmi and Bhu Goddess. In Buddhism, the idol is called Avalokiteshvara. Besides the temple, there is a pond called Mukti Kunda and 108 water sprouts. It is believed that the one who bathes these water sprouts and Kunda will be freed from all their sin during their lifetime. The holy water from the tap and pond will dissolve and wash away the sins from the body and soul.
The night of the 5th day of our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal will be spent at kagbeni.
Day 6 and Day 7: Jomsom
After waking up at Kagbeni on the morning of our 6th day of Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal. We go towards Jomsom to catch our flight.
Jomsom to Lumbini
Jomsom to Lumbini takes about 20 minutes by flight, also there is one flight per day so we should not miss it. Day 6 is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal. On day 6 of our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, we are going to the birthplace of Gautam Buddha himself.
Lumbini is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Not just Buddhist, Nepalese but this is the holy place for all who seek peace in their lives and their souls. Lord Buddha before he acquired enlightenment and became the Buddha was born as the prince of Kapilvastu. He was born to his father Suddhodhan and mother Mayadevi.
The name that was given to Lord Buddha when he was born was Siddhartha. Suddhodhan was the king of the Kingdom of Kapilvastu and expected his son Siddhartha to succeed him and be the future king. Prince Siddhartha was also very bright from childhood so the people of the kingdom looked up to him to make the kingdom more powerful and their life more prosperous.
The life of the prince was very lavish inside the palace. However, this did not give happiness to the prince. He wanted to know more about life, the truth, and acquire enlightenment. Once the prince discovered he will never learn the truth by living inside this palace and becoming the future king. One night he silently left the palace and went to seek the truth. He was already married at the time and had a wife and a son.
He traveled far meditated for years, learned from where ever he could. Then in time, he acquired enlightenment. Then he dispersed his knowledge to the world. That is how Prince Siddhartha became the Gautam Buddha.
The whole land of Lumbini is considered to be sacred. All area contains ancient relics and shrines that date back hundreds of years in time. Lumbini is 4.8Km long and 1.6km wide. They are is filled with trees has ponds and big monasteries are present there. The area is peaceful and the monuments dedicated to Lord Buddha, serene environment, and beautiful monasteries make the place look heavenly. On the penultimate and ultimate days of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, we thoroughly visit these places.
There are various kinds of monasteries inside the Lumbini area. Many countries around the world have built their monasteries around the area. All monasteries belonging to the various country has something unique about them. They all represent and reflect the culture, creativity, and devotion towards Lord Buddha that they have in their hearts. Visiting these shrines, monuments we figured that Lord Buddha had incarnated in various places in various lifetimes with the purpose of teaching and spreading peace into the world.
The center of Lumbini is the Maya Devi temple. The Maya Devi complex consists of a beautiful garden, Asoka pillar, a small pond, a sacred Bodhi tree, and the Maya Devi temple. The pool beside the Maya Devi temple is called the Puskarani. It is believed that before giving birth to Lord Buddha his Maya Devi bathe in that pond. Maya Devi temple looks like a normal building from the outside. However, the mystery lies inside.
The building seen from the outside is not the actual Maya Devi temple but is a building that covers and protects the ancient temple. Inside we can see the ruins of the temple of ancient times. The ruins are very well preserved and studied by archaeologists. The main component of the temple is the rock where Lord Buddha was born. It is kept at the center of the temple protected by glass.
On day 6 and day 7 of our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, we visit all these and many more. There are other monasteries outside the Lumbini area also. Some relics had been also found outside the Lumbini area in the past dating back to the centuries. We also travel to Kapilvastu, to see the area where the palace of Kind Suddhodhan was located. These we can see the ruins of the old palace of which only the foundations and some ruins remain. It is also important to visit the sites beside Lumbini around that area in our Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal because they hold great spiritual value and are very holy.
With the visit of Lumbini and its surrounding area, our 7-day Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is about to end.
The travelers then return to Kathmandu back catching a flight. It takes 35 minutes to get to Kathmandu from Lumbini. After returning to Kathmandu our 7 days Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal officially ends.