Our Pilgrimage Tour is designed to take you to holy places which will inspire you and connect you with the history and spirit of Buddhism. This is a suggested itinerary for the trip, but of course we are very flexible and can cater to your individual duration and budget requirements.
NamobuddhaThe hike from Dhulikhel to Namobuddha takes about two hours. It is relatively easy and passes through some typical villages such as Kawe (Kavre) and Phulbari before reaching the first site in our Buddhist pilgrimage. On the hill above Namobuddha is a famous stone tablet depicting a Buddha (there have been many before the historical Buddha) feeding himself to a starving tigress and her cubs. This is from a famous Buddhist tale expressing the great compassion of the Buddha. You can also choose to visit the great Thrangu Rinpoche's temple here, to see the beautiful paintings of Kagyu lineage masters in the main praying hall..
SwayambhunathA golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill, Swayambhunath Stupa is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles and from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century AD. Its origins however, date to a much earlier time, long before the arrival of Buddhism into the valley. A collection of legends about the site, the 15th century Swayambhu Purana, tells of a miraculous lotus, planted by a past Buddha, which blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley. The lotus mysteriously radiated a brilliant light, and the name of the place came to be Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created' or 'Self-Existent'. Saints, sages and divinities travelled to the lake to venerate this miraculous light for its power in granting enlightenment. During this time, the Bodhisatva Manjushri was meditating at the sacred mountain of Wu Tai Shan and had a vision of the dazzling Swayambhu light. Manjushri flew across the mountains of China and Tibet upon his blue lion to worship the lotus. Deeply impressed by the power of the radiant light, Manjushri felt that if the water were drained out of the lake Swayambhu would become more easily accessible to human pilgrims. With a great sword Manjushri cut a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake. The water, draining away, left the valley of present day Kathmandu. The lotus was then transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayambhunath temple, Kathmandu, Nepal.
PatanPatan is a beautiful city which has a long history connected with Buddhism. It is said that the great king Ashokan built the stupas in 250 B.C. Here you can visit Durbar square where the old palace has been converted to a special museum dedicated the traditional sacred arts of Nepal. Here you can see many treasures and rare statues from ancient times, and can also learn about the living traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. After visiting the museum you should visit the Mahabuddha temple. It is also often called "the temple of nine thousand Buddhas" since thousands of images of Buddha cover its outer surface, and enshrined within are images of the Buddhas representing the three ages of the past, present, and future.
Asura CaveThe great master, Padmasambhava, attained the Mahamudra level of enlightenment through the practice of Vishuddha Heruka combined with the sadhana of Vajra Kilaya at the upper cave of Yangleshö, also known as Asura Cave. The gompa and retreat center in Pharping is also a part of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling. The word shedrub in the name Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling means "studies and practice." The monastery in Boudhanath is for 'studies' while Asura Cave is the retreat center for 'practice'. This center, built by Tulku Urgyen and his wife Sangyum Dechen, who was a great practitioner in her own right, now accommodates about 25 residents. Eight of these are monks from the main monastery who are in three-year retreat. The rest are mainly old practitioners who have dedicated their lives to retreat. Currently the number of rooms is being increased in order to accommodate up to 30 full-time residents. At present a group of monks from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling must travel to Pharping twice a month, on the 10th and 25th, in order to have enough monks to perform a proper puja.
Self Arising TaraThere is also the cave of the Self-Arising Tara in Pharping, where images of Tara and Ganesh have reportedly arisen out of the stone without anyone carving them. Apparently the Green Tara image is becoming clearer with each passing year, and there is another Tara image rising on the left side of the first.
BhaktapurA beautiful ancient town around 30 minutes from the Kathmandu valley Bhaktapur was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom, and is now listed as World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, pottery as well as wood, metal and stone artwork. Visiting Bhaktapur, you can still see a glimpse of old time Nepal. Another 30 minutes away on the hill is one of the great master Milarepa's holy sites. Milarepa is one of the most important lineage masters of the Kagyu tradtions and his story has moved countless people. A small temple now resides at the spot of his meditations. You can also stop by to have a cup of tea in the retreat center built by Thrangu Rinpoche. Some monks are doing their 3 year retreat here, and there are also western students doing their own retreat and receiving teachings.
Chitwan National ParkAlthough Chitwan national park is not a Bhuddist holy site it is one of the most attractive places you will ever visit. Sitting on the back of the elephant you can enjoy the views of beautiful unspoilt bush, river and wild life. Gaida (Indian Rhino) are often seen here, as well as deer, wild pigs, bulls, monkeys, and crocodiles. With luck you may even spot tigers and bears. At night enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Jungle resort, with the option of seeing the local village dancing. Many people also enjoy cruising the National park by a kayak, or having a bath with the elephants in the river!
PokharaFour hours away from Chitwan, the Phokara region is another must see. On the west, Phewa lake is the second biggest lake of Nepal and on a clear day you can enjoy views of the snowy Himalaya mountains surrounding the town. You can enjoy the great mountain and lake views by foot, pony ride, or bicycle. There are many attractive hiking tracks starting here. Don't pass up the opportunity to visit Sarangkot to see the Himalaya sunrise, or the World Peace Pagoda to see the beautiful sunset.
LumbiniBuddha's birth place, Lumbini is one of the most important holy sites for Buddhists. Surrounding Buddha's exact birth place is the "Lumbini developed zone". Within the beautiful park zone visit Maya Devi temple, Ashokan Pillar, and many other beautiful temples built according to the Buddhist traditions of many different cultures.
Tilaurakot27 km away from Lumbini archaeologists have confirmed Tilaurakot is the site where Buddha spent his first 29 years as a prince. Today, ruins of the foundations of some buildings can still be seen. It remains a very quiet country site; you can still imagine what Buddha saw as he first walked out of the gate of the kingdom.