Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

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Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

The Nepal Buddhist pilgrimage tour is one of the best ways to explore some of the most important monasteries and stupas in Nepal. It is a multiple-day tour that allows you to customize the trip as per your time, budget, and other requirements. The Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal is guided by a local guide who will make the journey memorable, knowledgeable, and safe.

Nepal is the center of Buddhism. It is the place where Lord Buddha was born, and from there onwards, this country has been holding a profound significance for Buddhists around the world. Nepal is also the home for the spiritual seekers. Lumbini is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later attained enlightenment and became Gautama Buddha.

Lumbini is situated in the Terai region of Nepal. This place has many monasteries, stupas, and museums. Apart from Lumbini, Kathmandu is another city with significant Buddhist historical sites like Bouddhnath Stupa and Swayambhunath Temple. There are also important monasteries located in the suburbs of Kathmandu, like Pharping Monastery, Kapan Monastery, and Namobuddha.

Similarly, pilgrims also get to visit Buddhist monuments in Chitwan and Pokhara. Not to mention the centuries-old monasteries and stupas all around the small villages in the Himalayas of Nepal. As the origin of Buddhism, Nepal is a must-visit place for Buddhist pilgrims. Whether you want to explore the sites, meditate, or offer prayers and get blessings, the Buddhist pilgrimage tour is the ideal option.

As the blog continues, you will learn a lot about the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal- where to visit and what to expect during the tour.
Brief history of Buddhism in Nepal

Buddhism in Nepal is deeply intertwined with the life and teachings of Lord Gautam Buddha. Before he got enlightenment and founded Buddhism, he used to be known by the name Siddhartha Gautama. He was born in the sixth century BCE in Lumbini. It is a lovely town in the southern plains of Nepal.

Siddhartha Gautama used to be a prince, so his early life was spent in luxury. Later, he embarked on the spiritual quest to seek enlightenment. For a very long time, Siddhartha Gautama practiced asceticism and meditated and attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India.

After his enlightenment, Gautama Buddha started sharing his teachings, known as the Dharma. It is based on four noble truths and eightfold paths that lead to liberation from suffering. Soon, his teaching spread across India and Nepal. He gave many speeches and established monastic communities.

In Nepal, there is a lot of evidence of Buddhism in archaeological and historical forms. Numerous stupas, monasteries, and relics associated with the Buddha’s life and teachings are spread across the country. In the third century, the Indian Emperor Ashoka established the Ashoka Pillar in Lumbini. The pillar is still found in Lumbini.

Over the years, as Nepal grew, the country has founded various Buddhist schools and teaching centers where one can dive deep into Buddhism. The traditions, monuments, and beliefs have immensely flourished. Not only that, as Tibetans accepted Buddhism, a very strong and profound part of this belief began- Tibetan Buddhism.

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Top places to visit in Nepal during the Buddhist pilgrimage tour

Nepal has many significant pilgrimage sites for Buddhists that are located from well-connected cities to the remote Himalayas. Below, we have mentioned the five Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Kathmandu and around it that pilgrims mainly visit during their Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal.

Boudhanath Stupa: Icon of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal

Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa holds immense cultural, religious, and historical significance for Buddhists both locally and internationally. Its origin goes back to the 5th century AD, during the reign of the Licchavi dynasty. Over the years, the stupa was rebuilt several times, and the current structure is from the 16th century, reconstructed by the Malla kings.

Boudhanath Stupa is a massive mandala-shaped structure with a white dome on the top that represents the universe. The stupa is adorned with prayer flags and intricate carvings. On all four sides of the stupa, there are the eyes of the Buddha, which symbolize watching over the valley. Likewise, the base of the stupa is surrounded by prayer wheels inscribed with mantras.

Boudhanath Stupa is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu. It is one of the most sacred sites outside of Tibet. Around the stupa, there are bustling markets filled with shops, cafes, monasteries, etc. Visitors get to enjoy peace. It is a truly enchanting place where you get to feel both tranquility and bustle.

Swayambhunath Temple: The Monkey Temple

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Swayambhunath Temple is popularly known as Monkey Temple among foreign tourists. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located on a hilltop. The temple holds significant religious, cultural, and historical importance for Nepalese. The exact origins of the temple complex are shrouded in legends, but its history dates back to over two millennia.

As per the legends, the Swayambhunath Temple was established more than 2,500 years ago. One of the mythological beliefs says Kathmandu Valley was once a lake. A lotus flower blossomed at the center of the lake, emitting radiant light. When the bodhisattva Manjushri cut a gorge at Chovar, the water drained and revealed the lotus. It later transformed into a hill. Swayambhunath Stupa is believed to have emerged from the lotus.

The architectural magnificence of Swayambhunath Stupa will blow your mind. The main stupa is adorned with colorful prayer flags and intricately carved wooden and metalwork. Around it, there are numerous shrines and temples. The top of the stupa is painted with the eyes of the Buddha on all four sides. Both Hindus and Buddhists visit this site for prayers.

One of the famous things about the Swayambhunath Temple is its 365 steps that lead to the main complex. The visitors get to see monkeys on the way, along with a view of the Kathmandu valley. The surroundings are tranquil. Likewise, there are shops, restaurants, and cafes around the temple complex.

Kapan Monastery: A Haven for Spiritual SeekersBuddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Kapan Monastery is located on the hilltop on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It was built in 1969. Today, the Kapan Monastery has become one of the major centers for Buddhist study, meditations, and retreats in Nepal. Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, two Tibetan Buddhist masters, founded Kapan Monastery.

It was organically established to cater to Western students interested in Tibetan Buddhism. However, people all over the world visit here. This monastery has great value within the Tibetan Buddhist community. It follows the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which emphasizes the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, particularly the study of Lamrim (stages of the path) and the practice of meditation.

Kapan Monastery is a great place to take a break from the noise of the city and dive deep into the teachings of Buddhism. You can visit here to meditate, unwind, and just relax. Located near the city, the Kapan Monastery offers a fantastic gateway for both pilgrims and non-pilgrims.

Namo Buddha: The Place of Supreme Enlightenment

Namo Buddha is situated approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. It is a revered place for both Buddhists and Hindus. As per the legends, Buddha Shakyamuni selflessly offered his body to a starving tigress and her cubs here. In honor of this selfless deed, a stupa was erected at the site where the prince sacrificed himself.

Namo Buddha’s history is deeply intertwined with Buddhist mythology and folklore. The site symbolizes the practice of compassion, selflessness, and the ultimate goal of enlightenment. It serves as a reminder of the Buddha’s teachings on kindness and generosity. Pilgrims visit here to pray and get blessings.

Across the main stupa, there is Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, a vibrant Tibetan Buddhist monastery founded by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Likewise, this place is also a famous hiking point near Kathmandu that offers beautiful views of lush hills and valleys.

Lumbini: The Birthplace of Buddha

Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Lumbini, located in the Rupandehi District of Nepal, is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama. He later becomes Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The entire city is marked as the UNESCO World Heritage Site given its rich archeological and religious importance. Lumbini welcomes hundreds of Buddhist believers from all around the world every year.

If you are a Buddhist, you should definitely visit Lumbini at least once in your life. The history of this place dates back over 2,500 years to the time of the Buddha’s birth. He was born under a sal tree in one of the holy gardens of Lumbini. He spent his early years of life as a prince of Tilaurakot, located a few miles from Lumbini. The ruins of the palace are still there.

There are numerous monasteries, museums, galleries, and stupas built all over Lumbini by different countries, showcasing their faith in Buddhism. Some of the must-visit places in the Lumbini area are Maya Devi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, Lumbini Monastic Zone, Tilaurakot, Peace Pagoda, Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI), etc.

Top Nepal Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour Itineraries

We have mentioned some top Buddhist pilgrimage tour packages in Nepal below. You can customize all the itineraries as per your requirements. All these packages are affordable and can be curated for a luxury trip. For any assistance, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or +977 9851013072.

Kathmandu Chitwan Lumbini Pokhara Tour

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel
Day 02: Sightseeing and drive to Nagarkot
Day 03: Drive from Nagarkot to Chitwan
Day 04: Explore Chitwan
Day 05: Drive from Chitwan to Lumbini
Day 06: Lumbini sightseeing half day and drive to Pokhara
Day 07: Explore Pokhara
Day 08: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 09: Final departure

Nepal Buddhist pilgrimage tour 8 days

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal
Day 02: Buddhist sites tour around Kathmandu
Day 03: Kathmandu – Namo Buddha – Kathmandu
Day 04: Fly from Kathmandu to Lumbini
Day 05: Lumbini tour
Day 06: Fly from Lumbini to Kathmandu
Day 07: Visit Pharping and Kopan Monastery
Day 08: Final departure

8 Days Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour in Nepal with Dhulikhel Excursion

Day 01: Welcome to Kathmandu, Nepal
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu & drive to Dhulikhel
Day 03: Sightseeing Namo Buddha monastery and drive back to Kathmandu
Day 04: Fly to Bhairahawa airport, Lumbini
Day 05: Sightseeing- visit Tilaurakot
Day 06: Fly back to Kathmandu
Day 07: Transfer to airport for final departure

9 Days Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour in Nepal

Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu
Day 02: Visit Swayambhunath and Pharping
Day 03: Visit Boudhanath, Kopan monastery, and Patan Durbar square
Day 04: Visit Namobuddha monastery and Bhaktapur Durbar square
Day 05: Drive to Lumbini
Day 06: Full-day sightseeing tour at Lumbini
Day 07: Visit Deudaha and Tilaurakot
Day 08: Drive back to Kathmandu from Lumbini and enjoy farewell dinner
Day 09: Final departure

Tips for Buddhist pilgrims visiting Nepal

Below, we have listed some tips for Buddhist pilgrims visiting Nepal. These tips will make your journey fantastic and allow for a better connection with the locals.

  • Wear an appropriate dress, act nicely in the sacred sites, and embrace the culture and practices. Follow the guidance of your tour guide. It will help you a lot in making a good impression with the locals.
  • Respect locals, open your shoes before entering any sacred sites, and ask for permission before taking pictures.
  • Research and plan your Buddhist pilgrimage tour itinerary. Give yourself time to enjoy the tour and explore the monuments thoroughly. Do not overpack your itinerary.
  • You can do the Buddhist pilgrimage tour throughout the year. Pick the time that best suits your expectations. Every season offers different weather and climate, shaping the overall experience.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you and snacks during the tour. Keep yourself hydrated and energized. Throw the litter in the designated areas only.
  • While visiting peaceful sites away from the noise of the city, spend some time meditation and enjoying the tranquility. It will help you clear your mind.
  • Do not feel shy to engage with local communities. Ask your guide to help you if there is a communication barrier. Talk to monks, practitioners, and residents to learn more about Buddhism in Nepal and foster meaningful connections.
  • Buy souvenirs, food, and other services from the local businesses during the tour. All the monuments have small markets around them where you can buy things that will help the community.
  • Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes or any footwear that you can easily put on and remove if needed.

Frequently asked questions related to Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal

What is the Buddhist circuit tour in Nepal?

During the Buddhist Circuit tour in Nepal, the travelers get to visit the top Buddhist monuments in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini, and Chitwan. These are also the top tourist cities in Nepal.

Which city in Nepal is Buddha’s birthplace?

Lumbini, located in the plains, southern part of Nepal, is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. He was believed to be born in 623 BC in the sacred Maya Devi Temple.

What are the key Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal?

Here are some of the key Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal- Bouddhanath Stupa, Swaymabhunath Temple, Kapan Monastery, Namobuddha, and Lumbini.

Are there any specific rituals or ceremonies one should participate in while visiting Buddhist sites in Nepal?

Travelers usually participate in the circumambulation of the stupas and monasteries in a clockwise direction. While doing so, you can chant mantras that you know. Likewise, lighting butter lamps and incense, offering flowers, fruits, and grains, and spinning prayer wheels are some other rituals you can do.

How accessible are the pilgrimage sites in Nepal for travelers with mobility issues?

It depends on the specific locations. Most of the sites have paved paths and ramps, whereas some may have rugged terrain or lack tourist infrastructure. However, in recent years, many efforts have been made to make Buddhist pilgrimage sites wheelchair-friendly. If you have any mobility issues, let us know during booking. We will curate the tour to meet your comfort.

Are there any recommended guides or tour operators specializing in Buddhist pilgrimage tours in Nepal?

Yes, we, Nepal Treks and Tour, are one of the local travel operators. We organize a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal as per our client’s requirements. During the tour, you will travel with a local guide who well knows the sites and the history behind them.

What accommodation options are available near the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites?

Around the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal, you can find budget-friendly lodges, three-star hotels, and five-star hotels. Likewise, fine resorts are also available in all the cities.

Are there any lesser-known Buddhist sites in Nepal that are worth visiting?

Yes, there are lesser-known Buddhist sites in Nepal, like monasteries in the Everest region and Manaslu region. These monasteries are mostly visited by trekkers because of their inaccessibility. If your fitness allows, you can also trek. Likewise, if budget is not an issue, we can curate a helicopter Buddhist pilgrimage tour for you

What is the best time of year to embark on a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal?

You can do the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal all around the year. Between March to May and late September to November, the sky is mostly clear, and the climate is also not that hot. If you do not want rainfall or scorching hot weather during your tour, these months are the best.

Are there opportunities for meditation or spiritual practices at the pilgrimage sites?

Yes, if you want to practice meditation and yoga during the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, let us know. We will arrange a session for you. You can also hire a professional instructor.

What transportation options are available for traveling between different pilgrimage sites in Nepal?

Domestic flights and roads connect different cities and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. These transportations are comfortable and affordable.

What should travelers pack for a Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal?

For the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal, travelers should pack flexible, modest clothes. Depending upon the season you are traveling to you should pack the clothes. Some necessities like a reusable water bottle, a guidebook, Nepali rupee in small notes, sanitizer, wet wipes, a hat, a camera, etc, are a must in all seasons.

Are there any cultural norms or etiquette that travelers should be aware of when visiting Buddhist sites in Nepal?

When visiting the Buddhist monuments in Nepal, travelers should be mindful of their clothes and behavior. Removing shoes before entering any monastery is compulsory. Make sure to ask before taking photos, and do not disturb monks’ meditation or chanting. Do not touch any statutes or objects. Likewise, always walk clockwise around sacred structures.

How can travelers support local communities or conservation efforts during their Buddhist pilgrimage tour?

The travelers can support local communities and conservation efforts during their Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal by engaging in responsible tourism practices and participating in community initiatives. Shop from local businesses. Donations are another great way to show your support. Likewise, if your time allows, you can do volunteer work too.

Are there any specific dress codes or attire requirements for visiting Buddhist temples and monasteries in Nepal?

Well, there is no specific dress code or attire requirement for visiting the Buddhist temples and monasteries in Nepal, however travelers should wear modest clothes.

Are there any special festivals or events related to Buddhism that travelers might encounter during their pilgrimage tour?

Yes, there are several Buddhist festivals throughout the year in Nepal. For example, Buddha Purnima (commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha), Tibetan New Year (Losar), Mani Rimdu festival in Tengboche monastery (Everest region), Tiji festival in LoManthang (Upper Mustang), etc. You can plan your tour according to these festival dates.

How can you navigate language barriers when communicating with locals at pilgrimage sites?

Our guide will help you interact with the locals. We will provide you with a tour guide who is comfortable in your language of choice. English tour guides are easily found. We also have tour guides who speak Chinese, French, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, and many other languages. They will be your translators.

What are some recommended souvenirs or items to purchase as mementos of the pilgrimage tour?

These are some recommended souvenirs or items to purchase as mementos of the Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal- prayer flags, singing bowls, prayer wheels, thangka paintings, handwoven scarves or shawls, traditional motifs, Himalayan salt lamps, stone sculptures, etc.


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