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Buddha was born in Nepal, which makes Buddhism a very important part of our culture. While this is a pilgrimage tour in one hand, on the other it also displays the great archaeological triumph of mankind. There are 62 archaeological sites in Lumbini region which show different events in Buddha’s life. Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour includes a visit to Lumbini, Pharping, Dhulikhel and Namobuddha which collectively shows the vastness of Buddhism along with its traditions and cultures.
Nepal has a very strong Buddhist background and has played a very important role in spreading Buddhism to Tibet. Buddha was born in Lumbini and according to the Tripitaka, he visited his father’s kingdom and converted his family and clan to Buddhism. Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour gives you an insight about the Buddhist Pilgrimage, the life of Buddha, his place of enlightenment and his priceless teachings.
You will be welcomed by a Great Nepal Representative at the airport. From there, you will be transferred to the hotel. Freshen up and meet the representatives once again to get the brief about the Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour itinerary. In your free time, you can stroll around the city of Kathmandu. Overnight stay at hotel in Kathmandu.
Drive to Lumbini (285 Kms/6 hours). Lumbini, situated in southern Nepal is one of the world’s most important spiritual site, home to the historic birthplace of the Lord Buddha, apostle of compassion. Lumbini attracts Buddhist devotees around the world to pay homage at the sacred place where the “Enlightened One’ was born. You can witness a famous landmark “Ashoka Pillar” which was made by the Great Emperor Ashoka, who later converted to Buddhism. Overnight stay at Hotel in Lumbini.
After breakfast we will start exploring the real essence of Lumbini at a glance including the most important sites according to Buddhism consists of Tilaurakot, Ramgram Stupa, Gothihawa, Kudan, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa. Starting from Tilaurakot, an ancient capital of Sakya Kingdom (Kapilavastu) situated 27 Km from Lumbini, where Siddhartha lived his early 29 years as a prince. Ruins of Tilaurakot palace has been discovered 27 km west of Lumbini. Along with other structures, one can still observe the remains of the eastern gate through which Prince Siddhartha took great renunciation. Later visit Ramgram Stupa , the only Stupa which still retains Buddha relic in its intact form. When Buddha attained ‘Mahaparinirvana’, his body was cremated. The mortal relic was divided among the 8 claimants. While other Stupas were later excavated by Emperor Ashoka or distorted in conflict, the relic remained intact until the date in the Ramagram Stupa. Kudan (Nigrodharma) has the stupa remains, where King Suddhodhana (father of Lord Buddha) met Lord Buddha after he attained enlightenment. Gotihawa was ancient Khemavati the birth place of Krakucchanda Buddha. Niglihawa is the birthplace of Kanakmuni Buddha. Emperor Ashoka visited both places and erected pillars with inscriptions. The pillars are broken in both places. Sagarhawa is the place where Sakyas were massacred by King Virudhaka out of vengeance. About 70,000 Sakyas were killed in the massacre. The sakyas didn’t strike back as they believed in nonviolence. Overnight stay at Hotel in Lumbini.
Maya Devi Temple is set in the middle of the large 4 km by 2.5 km park grounds known as the Lumbini Development Zone. Designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1978, it’s still a work in progress that comprises landscaped lakes and numerous Monasteries that have been or are being constructed by Buddhist communities from around the world. The Mayadevi temple houses the marker stone and foundation of ancient temple resembling the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha. Monastic zone is developed into World Buddhist center with Monasteries constructed by Buddhist communities from different countries. We will have a meditation class in Monastery inside Lumbini Garden.
Later drive to Pokhara (195 Kms/6 Hrs). Pokhara, the center of adventure in Nepal is located in the mid western Nepal. The valley is filled with lush vegetation, swift flowing rivers and dotted with clear, shimmering lakes. It is one of the major towns of Nepal, providing a perfect gateway from the chaotic life in the cities. Pokhara is blessed with the backdrop of one of the most dramatic sceneries in the world. Overnight stay at Hotel in Pokhara.
From Lakeside start your half day sightseeing tour of Pokhara city consists of David Falls, Gupteswor Cave, Tibetan Refugee Camp. Overnight stay at Hotel in Pokhara.
After breakfast drive to Dhulikhel via Kathmandu 235 Kms/7 Hrs approx. Dhulikhel is a typical Newari town with nearby Tamang villages. It is situated 30 km. east of Kathmandu on the side of Arniko Highway on the way towards Tibet. Dhulikhel is popular for its natural beauty and ancient traditions. The Himalayan ranges from the twin crest of Mt. Langtang in the west to the Mt. Everest in the east can be clearly viewed in a clear day. It is ideal place for a bird eye view of sunrise and sunset over snow-capped peaks and it is different from any other place. One can say Dhulikhel is where the mountains speak. Overnight stay at Hotel in Dhulikhel.
Located on slightly elevated land, Namo Buddha is a pleasant and out-of-the way place. The landscape below resembles an eight-petaled lotus, and the sky above has the form of a wheel with nine spokes. In this wide panorama, some mountains glisten white like a conch shell or a crystal. After Great Buddha Being offered his body in generosity to the tigress, people found it difficult to travel through the region for fear of all wild animals, so they developed the practice of reciting “Namo Buddhaya” (“I take refuge in the Buddha”) to dispel their anxiety. To this day, the local inhabitants call the area Namo Buddha. Meditate in Monastery and witness the Lama children and their lifestyle in Monastery.
Afterwards drive to Kathmandu. On the way visit Bhaktapur (City of Devotees), locally known as Bhadgaon and Khowpa (in Newari). This ancient city is also known as “City of culture”, “Living heritage” and “Nepal’s Cultural Capital. A visit to Bhaktapur is a cultural sightseeing where we can also enjoy seeing the traditional people and their lifestyle. The major attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are Taleju Temple, Nyatapole Temple, most famous pagoda of Nepal, dedicated to Siddhi Laxmi, the tantric Goddess of supreme power and success, Big bell, 55 windows Palace, built by Yakshya Malla, considered with woodcarving, Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple, built by Yakshya Malla in 15th century. Other attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are Chyasin Mandap, Siddhi Laxmi Temple (Fasi dega), Vatsala Temple, dedicated to a mother Goddess and known for its dog barking bell, Bhandarkhal Complex, Chatu Brahma Mahavihar, Indrayeni Temple, Balakhu Ganesh Temple, Tripura Sundari Temple and the Char Dham, the four greatest hindu pilgrimage sites, Bhairavnath Temple, dedicated to Bhairav, the God of terror and death. Overnight stay at Hotel in Kathmandu.
After breakfast in the hotel; you will explore the fascinating city of Kathmandu consists of Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Patan City. We firstly go for one of the biggest in the world of its kind and the popular Hindu pilgrimage site, Pashupatinath Temple, which lies 6 Km from central Kathmandu. Buddhist people worships Pashupati as Bodhisatva Avalokiteswara. Both Avalokiteswara and Siva are known as Lokeswar, Lord of the World. For them Pashupati is well-known from their tantric texts on sacred geography as an Upachandoha power place which is counted amongst the Twenty-four Pithasthanas of the principal Mandala of sacred tantric sites of the Sub-continent. Explore Tilopa and Naropa’s Caves: Pashupatinath is also the location of the very sacred meditation caves of Two Buddhist Mahasiddhas, Naropa and Tilopa, Sadhu-Yogis of the tenth century, and progenitors of a lineage of Buddhist Tantra that became the Tibetan Kagyu School of the Karmapas. Thise was where Naropa engaged in Vajrayogini retreat and gained visions of her – from here, the teachings were passed down to local Nepalese disciples, and from there, through the generations, it has gone all over the world. Tilopa, his Guru, also meditated in the cave just next to it.
Bouddhanath Stupa lies about 6 km east of downtown Kathmandu and is the largest Stupa in the Valley and one of the largest in the world. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of Stupa design with hundreds of prayer wheels and 108 small images of Buddha all around. Just like the Swayambhunath, the Stupa here is too has four sides with the watchful eyes of Lord Buddha. It’s also called wish-fulfilling because of the belief that, it is so powerful that the wishes of anybody who makes prayers to the Stupa are fulfilled. Especially when you see the Stupa for the very first time, whatever you pray for, it will succeed. Boudhanath Stupa is known as the mind nature of Buddhas of three time-past, present and the future. This Stupa is also called the Stupa of enlightenment or Bodhi Stupa.
Patan City (City of Fine Arts), is full of Buddhist Monuments and Hindu Temples with fine bronze gateways, Guardian Deities and wonderful carvings. Krishna Mandir, which is one of the grandeur of the square, was built in 1637 by the king Siddhinarsingh Malla. The entire temple is constructed from the stone. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, it is known as the city of fine arts or city of artists. The diversity of the Medieval culture that allowed both Hinduism and Buddhism to flourish has left a rich legacy of impressive sightseeing in this city for today’s visitors. Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Hiranya Varna Maha Bihar are just a few among the temples offering you an ecstasy of paintings, wood and metal carvings.
Pharping (Padmasambhava’s Asura Cave): However more specifically it is referring to two caves in which Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated. One is located on the hillside behind and above Pharping, commonly known as Azura Cave or the ‘Upper cave of Yanglesho’. The other one is located slightly below Pharping, about a five minute walk outside of town and known as ‘Lower cave of Yanglesho’ or simply Yanglesho. Pharping has not only been blessed by Guru Rinpoche, it has been also visited by many great beings, like long term resident Marpa Lotsawa, who practiced, made offerings, Ganachakra Feasts, aspiration prayers and so on. Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche is said to have attained enlightenment here. Thus Pharping (Yanglesho) is considered to be as important as Bodhgaya for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. You will have a meditation secession in the Monastery.
Swoyambhu Nath Stupa: The Great Stupa of Swayambhu stands on a hill to the west of Kathmandu. Its name means “The Self-created, Self-existent Buddha”. The myth of its origin is also the myth of the primordial Buddha’s enlightenment, it is the story of the origin and spread of Buddhism in Nepal and the origin myth of the Valley. This most sacred power place has always been the most important power place for Valley Buddhists and for pilgrims of all Buddhist persuasions from all over the world. It is considered to be the most powerful shrine in the Himalayas. At the top of the eastern stairway is the great Vajra set upon a drum that has the Dharmadhatu Mandala inscribed upon its gilt copper top. It is said that this drum covered a well that reflected images of the beloved dead with such flattery that wives and husbands would throw themselves in and drown. Another story has it that the Mandala covers a pit to the hells and the realms of the hungry ghosts. The drum plinth is decorated with the twelve animals of the zodiac.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples like Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, used to be the seat of the ancient Malla Kings of Kathmandu. An intriguing piece here is the 17h -century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. Even to date, all the major state and social ceremonies, including the solemnization of coronations are performed in one of the courtyards in this complex. There are also museums inside the palace building.
Your Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour journey in Nepal comes to an end today! A Great Nepal representative will escort you to the airport approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way to home, you have plenty of time to plan your next adventure to the wonderful country of Nepal.