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Corona Update Nepal

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Abhishek Subedi July 25, 2020

Buddhist pilgrimage tours are a growing trend for many western adventurers. Moreover, Nepal is integral to this kind of journey as it is home to many Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, situated in western Nepal. Likewise, it is one of the prominent sites for Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours. The Lumbini tour takes you to Maya Devi Temple, where Buddha is believed to have been born. Moreover, to Tilaurakot, which houses the ruins of the palace of King Suddodhan, Siddhartha Gautam’s father, where Buddha spent his formative years as a Shakya Prince. The Lumbini tour also features visiting the various monasteries built by different countries. Moreover, to get a glimpse of the practice of Buddhism in each of these countries. The environment of Lumbini itself feels peaceful. And calm due to the presence of the vast number of monks and monasteries present in the vicinity.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Another interesting site for Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour is Namo Buddha. Located about 40km east of Kathmandu city, Namo Buddha. Similarly, it is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Kathmandu Valley. Namo Buddha, also known as Thangru Tashi Yangtse Monastery, houses about 250 monks under the guidance of Guru Rinpoche. The Namo Buddha tour allows you to learn about the history and culture of Tibetan Buddhism.

About the  Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Similarly, a tour to Halesi (Maratika), located in eastern Nepal. It takes you to the cave where Guru Padmasambhava and princess Mandarava achieved the state of immortal awareness. Maratika is one of the six most holy places in the world for Tibetan Buddhism. Followed by Maratika, Pharping is another important pilgrimage site for the followers of Buddhism. Pharping holds equal importance as that of Bodhgaya in India, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Moreover, as the second Buddha Guru Padmasambhava attained enlightenment in this town located south of Kathmandu.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours also features a tour of Buddhist monasteries of Helambu situated in the Langtang region. Helambu is one of the hidden valleys where Buddhist monks practice meditation, hence, you can learn about the Buddhist practices in the hillside settlement of Helambu. Likewise, we also offer a Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour in the Khumbu region, which is adorned with many monasteries and shrines situated in the lap of the Himalayas. These are some of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Nepal, but Nepal is home to many more. Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours will give you the utmost satisfaction as you travel to the serene monasteries and shrines mostly tucked in solitary spaces.

Day 1: Kathmandu to Maratika by 4wd Jeep

Drive early in the morning by 4 wheeler jeeps in Maratika where you have to accommodate yourself into very basic lodges without an attached bathroom and basic Nepali food like Dal bhat and Tibetan noodles like, chaumin, thenthuk and thukpa etc included can be served. To reach Maratika by the jeep, it takes about 12 hours. More information on Maratika: Maratika Cave and Maratika Monastery are located in Khotang District in Nepal, circa 260 km south west of Mount Everest. It is a venerated site of pilgrimage associated with Mandarava, Padmasambhava and longevity. Mandarava and padmasambhava realized a number of terms that had been elementally encoded as terma in Maratika Cave by Dakini Sangwa Yeshe, terms that number among the longevity teachings of Buddha Amitabha and given at the behest of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. 

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

About the Maratika Cave

At Maratika Cave, Mandarava and Padmasambhava attained the Vidyadhara of longevity or long life. According to current scholarship, the caves of Maratika are referred to in Himalayan literature from the 12th century. Kathang Zanglingma, a biography of Padmasambhava, a term revealed and transmitted by Nyangrel Nyima Ozer, describes the original events which made the Maratika caves a sacred place for Vajrayana practitioners. Haleshi Mahadeva or Maratika Cave- The famous natural cave in Khotang District, said to be the abode of Mahadeva while hiding away from the monster Bhasmasur. It is a famous pilgrimage centre in east Nepal for both Hindus and Buddhist and is also nicknamed as ‘the Pashupatinath of the east’. Huge religious fairs are observed here on Shivaratri. In and around the Maratika cave we will visit other 3 caves which are within 15-20 minutes walking distance. 

There, we also visit 5 Neys (temples) which represent five universal elements and locals take them differently for fulfilling all aspects of life. Visiting this holy site grants one to wash away whatever sins he or she has committed in his or her life. It normally takes 12 hour to reach Marartika and on that day we will break in Murgi Beshi (name of the local place) for lunch after the 4-5 hours of driving distance.

Day 2 in Maratika

Exploring Maratika and meditating over here as long as you can. Stay overnight again in the same standard hotel with all the same facilities.

Day 3 Maratika to Kathmandu

Drive back to Kathmandu from Maratika. This is again the day for driving 12 hours to Kathmandu. We have lunch in the same place on the way back.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Day 4 Sightseeing in Kathmandu sacred and historical places

Morning visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, Kumari Temple, other various temples museums. Kathmandu Durbar Square offers you the most visualized information of medieval art, history, culture and architecture. Then drive to Swayambhunath Temple: is a self made stupa and one of the oldest stupas and monasteries in Kathmandu valley. Soywambhunath temple gives you a clear picture of different Buddhist symbols. Here you can see a number of monkeys. Similarly, it is the reason why this temple is commonly called a monkey temple as well. 

Then we drove to visit Bhaktapur, the oldest city of Kathmandu valley. Basically in Bhaktapur durbar square, we can experience medieval art and architecture especially wooden craft. This is the place to observe the finest example of a pagoda style temple. Siddha Laxmi or Nyatapola temple is the tallest temple in Nepal and gives you the purest example of pagoda style. Visiting Pottery square obviously adds you to experience traditional poetry making in Kathmandu valley which is only possible to observe in Bhaktapur.

Day 5 Kathmandu to Lumbini

Fly from Kathmandu domestic Airport to Lumbini, it takes about an hour to fly to get in the Lumbini Domestic airport and check in the Hotel Lumbini Garden or to Hotel Ananda Inn and start visiting the oldest palace where Gauttam Buddha was born, Lumbini garden where we can see the activities of Buddha of his life time. Motto of visiting Lumbini in fact is to meditate under the holy Buddha tree and visiting holy lakes and various monasteries including Ashok Stambha (Pillar).

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Day 6 Excursion to Tilaurakot

It lies 25 kilometers east of Lumbini and is the ancient capital of Kapilvastu. The Buddha grew up and lived in Tilaurakot/Kapilvastu Kingdom until the age of 29. Siddhartha spent his early life in Kapilavastu as a prince, mostly oblivious of worldly miseries. He was married to Yashodhara and had a son named Rahul. Upon confronting worldly miseries such as disease, aging and death, he left Kapilavastu in search of enlightenment and in quest of answers to his questions about such miseries, pain and sufferings. Lunch  in our hotel. Tour of Monastery Zone and the Lumbini Village. Return to the Hotel. 

Day 7: Lumbini to Kathmandu & Sightseeing in Patan Durbar square

Fly back to Kathmandu, our luxurious bus is waiting for you in Kathmandu domestic Airport. Similarly, directly drive to Patan durbar Square to Visit historical and medieval architectural Patan Durbar square and one of the oldest Golden Temple where we can explore more about Newar Buddhism Golden temple including Museum where you can see a lot of Buddhist sculptures.
Drive back to the Hotel and take a rest.

Day 8 Buddhist Holy Sites of Nepal , Pharping

Pharping is such a Holy site because Great Guru Padmasambhava got enlightened at Asura Cave, Gorakhnath and Sheshnarayan Cave at Pharping. It’s an important religious place for Buddhist pilgrimages as well. There are many nice monasteries to visit and where we can make special puja if you want. After our exploration to the sacred site of holy pharping we drive back to the hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 9 Kathmandu Namobuddha Kathmandu

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Early in the Morning, drive to Namobuddha 45 kilometers and hour and half drive to reach there. Namobuddha Monastery connects the story of compassion shown by the Buddha in his one of the incarnations, offering his own flesh to the hungry tigress who was totally ill and was about to eat her cubs around. After visiting such a sacred place, we will drive back to Kathmandu and check in the same hotel.


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