Top Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

Dhan Karki

There are countless Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal because Buddhism is Considered the second most popular religion in Nepal. Lord Buddha who founded Buddhism was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Emperor Ashoka came to Nepal & established Askoka pillars in the Lumbini. Gradually Buddhism is increasing in the northern part of Nepal & Tibet. Historically, it is believed that the first Licchavi king of Nepal Amsuvarma, married his daughter Bhrikuti to the ruler of Tibet king Songtsen Gambo & she introduced Buddhism in Tibet. According to the legend, she got a begging bowl of the Buddha as a part of her wedding dowry.

There are Hinduism & Buddhist religion are co-existed in many pilgrimages sites, as an example half-sunken Buddha in Pashupatinath, Sleeping Vishnu in Budhanilkantha, Statue of Buddha & Various Vishnu representatives in Changu Narayan, and many other sites like Muktinath, Halesi Mahadev, etc

Most of the Buddhism followers are living in central Nepal, particularly Sherpa, Mager, Gurung & Tamang ethics groups. Nepal is also popular for ancient Buddhist art & crafts. There are thousands of monasteries, gompa & stupa all around Nepal, out of them some most popular Buddhist sites in Nepal are as follows;

Lumbini: First Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

The birthplace of Lord Buddha is one of the biggest Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world, which has been listed in the UNESCO world heritage site since 1997. Those important places to visit Lumbini are the Maya Devi temple, the Ashoka pillar, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond & ancient monasteries. “Maya Devi” temple is the most attractive site for those travelers because it is dedicated to the Buddha mother Maya Devi. Emperor Ashok installed pillars in Lumbini as a respect to the Buddha after he converted into Buddhism, which is nowadays the most visited site for history lovers, religious & architectural enthusiasts. Many Buddhist & Hindus visited these sites every year during the full moon of Nepali month Baisakh, from all over the world & some Hindus regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Boudhanath Monastery: Second Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

The largest Boudhanath Monastery is located in the east of Kathmandu. It is regarded as the most important pilgrimage site in the world for Buddhist devotees. Most of the people who follow Buddhism want to live near the stupa because it is one of the holiest sites for the Buddhist faith in Nepal. It is listed in the UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. Many Buddhist all over the world come to visit this stupa every year, especially after the Chinese invasion in 1959 A.D., thousands of Tibetan come to this famous Buddhist Chaitya & energize the stupa.

Swayambhunath Monastery: Third Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

One of the Legendary Buddhist shrines Swayambhunath is located in the hilltop of Kathmandu valley. This oldest monastery in the world is also known by the name of Monkey temple because large tribes of monkeys can be seen regularly. Between the two wisdom eyes(Buddha’s eyes), where the nose would be is a curly symbol that looks like a question mark, which is the Nepali character number 1, so it symbolizes the unity of all the things as well as the one way to reach enlightenment- through the Buddha’s teaching

Namobuddha Monastery: Fourth Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

It is one of the most pilgrimage sites, particularly for Tibetan pilgrimages. Namobuddha is located 38 km east of Kathmandu in a beautiful scenic hill. Religiously it is believed that Lord Buddha gave up his body out of compassion for a starving tigress & her cubs. The Namo Buddha temple was designed by Trangu Rinpoche as a representation of the three-year paths or Yanas.

Kapan Monastery: Fifth Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

This Tibetan Buddhist monastery is located on the hill of Kapan behind the Boudhanath in Kathmandu. It is the home for more than 300 Tibetan Buddhist monks. Historically it is believed that it was once the home of the astrologer, the king of Nepal. The place it belongs offers a panoramic view of the town of Bouddha & an outstanding view of the Himalayan range.

Tengboche Monastery: Sixth Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal

Tengboche monastery is also one of the famous monasteries in Nepal situated in the Everest region of Solukhumbu district. The monastery is the residing place for Rinpoche who blesses pilgrims, mountaineers & Travellers passing through. It hosts the colorful Mani Rimdu festival overwhelmingly every year in October, which is a culmination of Buddhist celebrations with a ritual dance, songs, religious gathering & enhancements of the lives of legendary figures.This beautiful place Tengboche is not only popular for religious purposes but also it is the best spot for the stunning panoramic view of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam,many peaks & the closest view of Thamserku.

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