Nepal is a country with a strong Buddhist heritage, and it attracts thousands of pilgrims each year who come to visit its sacred sites. Common Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal offers a unique opportunity to explore the country’s rich cultural and religious heritage, as well as to deepen one’s spiritual practice. Some of the common Buddhist pilgrimage tours in Nepal include:
Lumbini: Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations for Buddhists around the world. A visit to Lumbini provides an opportunity to learn about the history of Buddhism and to pay homage to the Buddha.
The main attraction of Lumbini is the Maya Devi Temple, which is built on the site where Lord Buddha was born. The temple houses a stone relief depicting the birth of the Buddha and the sacred pool where his mother, Queen Maya Devi, bathed before giving birth. In addition to the temple, the Lumbini Sacred Garden is also a significant site to visit. It is a sprawling park that contains several monasteries, temples, and shrines built by Buddhist communities from around the world.
One of the most important sites in the Lumbini Sacred Garden is the Ashoka Pillar, which was erected by the emperor Ashoka in 249 BC. The pillar bears an inscription that states that Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The site is also home to the World Peace Pagoda, which was built by the Japanese Buddhist organization Nipponzan Myohoji.
Visitors to Lumbini can take part in meditation and prayer sessions at the monasteries and temples in the Sacred Garden.
In conclusion, a visit to Lumbini is a must for anyone interested in Buddhism or spirituality. The serene surroundings and the rich history of the site make it a perfect destination for those seeking inner peace and enlightenment.
Tilaurakot: Capital of the Shakya kingdom
Tilaurakot is a significant historical and archaeological site located near Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It is believed to have been the capital of the Shakya kingdom, where Prince Siddhartha Gautama spent his early life before becoming the Buddha.
The site contains the remains of a moated palace complex dating back to the 6th century BCE, as well as other structures such as stupas, monasteries, and temples. Visitors can explore the ruins of the palace complex and learn about the ancient Shakya culture and way of life.
One of the most important structures at Tilaurakot is the Eastern Gateway, believed to be the entrance to the palace where Prince Siddhartha lived, adorned with intricate carvings and inscriptions in the Brahmi script. A visit to Tilaurakot offers a unique opportunity to explore the history of Buddhism and gain insights into the life and teachings of the Buddha.
Ramagrama: A Sacred Relic Stupa in Nepal
Ramagrama is considered to be one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Lumbini region of Nepal. According to Buddhist tradition, after the Buddha’s passing, his relics were divided into eight portions and eight relic stupas were constructed to enshrine them. King Ashoka, who was committed to the spread of Buddhism, sought to build 84,000 relic stupas across the Indian subcontinent. He redistributed the relics from the seven stupas, but the stupa at Ramagrama could not be opened as it was said to be guarded by the Nagas.
The stupa at Ramagrama is unique because it is the only relic stupa that remains intact from the time of the Buddha. It was constructed by the Koliyas, who were the clan of the Buddha’s mother, Queen Mayadevi.
Apart from Ramagrama, there are other important Buddhist sites in the Lumbini region, such as Aurorakot, the birthplace of Kanakamuni Buddha, and Kudan, where King Suddhodhana met the Buddha upon his return to Kapilavastu. These sites offer visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural and religious history of Buddhism in Nepal.
It is where the Buddha, in one of his previous lives, offered his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. This act of selflessness is considered an important event in Buddhist history, and the site is considered sacred by Buddhists worldwide.
Namobuddha offers visitors the chance to explore beautiful monasteries, shrines, and stupas, including the 5-tiered main stupa decorated with colorful prayer flags and offerings. The site also features several meditation retreats where visitors can deepen their spiritual practice and learn about Buddhist teachings.
The Boudhanath Stupa is a revered Buddhist site in Nepal and one of the largest stupas in the world. It is located in the eastern part of Kathmandu and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa is said to have been built in the 14th century and is a prominent center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal.
Visitors can explore the stupa’s intricate architecture, which features a giant dome, prayer flags, and numerous shrines and monasteries. The site also features a vibrant market area with shops selling handicrafts, souvenirs, and traditional Tibetan goods. Boudhanath Stupa is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich cultural and religious heritage of Nepal.
Charumati Stupa, located in the southern part of Kathmandu, is another significant Buddhist site in Nepal. It is believed to have been built in the 3rd century BC by the daughter of Emperor Ashoka Charumati, with the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha from seven holy places that king Asoka had excavated, divided into many, and distributed. The stupa is revered by both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists and is considered one of the oldest stupas in the Kathmandu Valley.
Ashokan stupas in Patan
The four Ashokan stupas in Patan are significant historical and cultural landmarks. Built by King Asoka, they mark the four corners of the city and are believed to bring protection and blessings to the area. Visitors to Patan can see the stupas at Lagan Thura, Teta Thura, Pucho Thura, and I-bahi Thura. In addition, the central stupa at Pim-Bahal is regarded as the fifth Ashokan stupa in Patan. These ancient structures are a testament to the rich Buddhist heritage of the region and continue to attract visitors and pilgrims from around the world.