Lumbini Circuit

4 Days 5 NightsTrip Code NSTR279

The Swayambunath Stupa is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century A.D. i.e. before the coming of Buddhism in the valley.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu. Visit Swoyambunath and Boudhnath.

 

Arrival Kathmandu, transfer to hotel. After refreshments, visit Swoyambunath.

 

The Swayambunath Stupa is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century A.D. i.e. before the coming of Buddhism in the valley.

 

Among other legends, 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 was named Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created or Self-Existent'. Saints, sages and divinities traveled 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 area surrounding the stupa is filled with chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects. The presence of the Hindu Harati Devi temple signifies the intermingling of the pantheons of Hinduism and Buddhism in the development of the religious trends of Nepal.. Swayambhunath stupa is also called the `Monkey Temple' because of the hundreds of monkeys who scamper about the temple.

 

After Swayambunath, visit Boudhanath Stupa which is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu.

 

In 1979, Boudha became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed that this stupa contains the relics of Buddha Kashyapa. Amost 176 miniature stupas and paintings of Tibetan Buddhist pantheons cover the walls that surround the Stupa. It is an important pilgrimage site for Tibetans and is mentioned in the Tibetan Classical texts, Biography of Yeshe Tshogyal (A.D. 8 – 9) and Padma Ka’thang (A.D. 14). The Tibetan government had jurisdiction over the Stupa from the 17th - 19th century.

 

The whole area is rich in Tibetan culture and displays some of the finest forms of Tibetan art that can be seen in the Kathmandu Valley. Colorful thangkas, Tibetan jewelry, hand-woven carpets, masks, and khukuri knives are sold in stalls.

 

Afternoon, light lunch followed by flight to Bhairahawa, continue to Lumbini. On arrival, sightseeing tour of the sacred garden. Overnight stay at the hotel.

 

Day 02: Fly Kathmandu – Lumbini. Sightseeing at Lumbini

 

Lumbini is one of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites based on major events in the life of Gautama Buddha. Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The site was rediscovered in 1895, when a German archaeologist came upon Ashoka's Pillar, identified by its inscription. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a "foot imprint", indicating the exact place of Lord buddha’s birth. This is where the Maya Devi Temple stands today. The Puskarni pond, where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddha's mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to him lies to the south of the Ashoka pillar.

 

Chinese pilgrims, Tsen Tsai (4th century A.D.), Fa-Hein ( 5th century A. D.) and Hieun-Tsang (7th century A.D.) accounted their travel to Lumbini, having seen the Holy Tree, the pond, stupas and shrines.

 

Today the holy site is being developed with international support as the ultimate Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace.

 

Lumbini is one of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites based on major events in the life of Gautama Buddha. Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The site was rediscovered in 1895, when a German archaeologist came upon Ashoka's Pillar, identified by its inscription. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a "foot imprint", indicating the exact place of Lord buddha’s birth. This is where the Maya Devi Temple stands today. The Puskarni pond, where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddha's mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to him lies to the south of the Ashoka pillar.

 

Chinese pilgrims, Tsen Tsai (4th century A.D.), Fa-Hein ( 5th century A. D.) and Hieun-Tsang (7th century A.D.) accounted their travel to Lumbini, having seen the Holy Tree, the pond, stupas and shrines.

 

Today the holy site is being developed with international support as the ultimate Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace.

 

Overnight stay at the hotel.

 

Day 03: Full day visit of Kapilavastu – kudan – Gotihawa – Niglihawa – Sagarhawa – Devadaha – Tilaurakot – Ramgram

 

Located some 27 km. west of Lumbini lies the ruins of historic town of ‘Kapilvastu’. Kapilvastu, also known as modern Piprahwa in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal, is one of the most holy Buddhist centres globally. Kapilavastu was the capital of the Shakya kingdom, and Buddha was born to king Shuddhodhana of this clan. The capital city of the Shakya clan, and one of the earliest Republics in the world, Kapilvastu witnessed the childhood and early family life of the Buddha in the royal palace. It was at Kapilvastu, the prince saw sorrow, pain, disease and death, the four sights which disturbed Him and He abandoned His life in search of the reality of life, and became the Buddha. Twelve years later after He attained enlightenment, the son of the city came back to His home, but not as a prince but rather as the Buddha, who preached His sermons over here.

 

Believed to be the capital of Shakya republic where the Lord lived and enjoyed his life until his thirteeth year, there are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of kiln-burnt bricks and clay-mortar. In fact, the city of Kapilvastu are in such a grand scale that it could be easily be visualised as a seat of high culture. Kapilvastu is located in the southern Nepal, bordering India. Lumbini, the birth place of Siddharth Gautama, is located in Kapilavastu district of Nepal. Gautam Buddha spent his first twenty-nine years of life in this region.

 

Excavations carried out by the Archaeological survey of India relate Kapil Vastu to the Kushan period. The excavations include a stupa, of an ancient monastery named Devaputra, and two mounds, regarded as the ruins of King Suddhodhana's palace. Other major attractions of Kapilvastu include stupas built by Ashoka and the Gupta Kings, relics of Lord Buddha, etc. Excavations by archaeological survey of India have revealed the relation of this place to the Kushan period. Two mounds have also been excavated at only a little distance (1.5 km) from this village which, is considered to be the ruins of King Suddhodhana's palace.

 

Kudan: is located about two kilometers south of Taulihawa. It gives the visitors one more area of interest with a huge mound of structural ruins with a duster of four buildings and a pond excavated in 1962 indicating the existence of a huge Gupta style temple in ancient times. This place is identified as Nyagrodharama vihara, built by King Suddhodana for Lord Buddha.

 

Gotihawa: About 5 km. southwest of Taulihawa, is a village called Gotihawa which has an Ashokan pillar standing on a slab. Adjoining the pillar towards its northeast is a huge stupa made by wedge shaped Mauryan bricks. This site is identified as the birth place of the past Buddha Krakucchanda.

 

Niglihawa: Another site of archaeological importance, about 8 kms, northwest of Taulihawa, is Niglihawa. The site has a quadrangular pond locally known as Niglisagar. On the western bank of the pond there are two broken pieces of the Ashokan pillar. The pillar bears two peacocks on the top part and an inscription which reads, om mane padme hum.

 

Sagarhawa: About 12 kilometers north of Taulihawa, is a forest called Sagarhawa. In the midst of it is a huge rectangular tank, which is popularly known as Lumbusagar, or a long tank. The ancient tank ruins, which were excavated and identified by Dr. Alois A. Fuhrer as the "Place of the Massacre of the Shakyas" in 1859, can be seen on the Southwest banks of Sagar.

 

Devadaha or the the country of Koliyas, where Mayadevi, mother of Gautama Siddhartha, was born, is certainly a holy place of pilgrimage and a household name for the Buddhists. The Koliyas of Devadaha were the maternal tribe of Gautama Buddha. Devadaha is located 38 kilometres east of Lumbini near the village of Khairhani.

 

Tilaurakot is one among the many important Buddhist sites of interest around Lumbini, located some 27 kms. west of Lumbini. Here lies the ruins of the historic town of Kapilvastu believed to be the capital of Shakya republic where Siddhartha lived and enjoyed his life until his thirtieth year. There are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of kiln burnt bricks and clay mortar. The remains are surrounded by a moat and the wall of the city is made of bricks.

 

The Ramgram Kingdom: The Ramgram Kingdom was 60 kilometers to the east of the holy place of the Buddha's birth. The King was one of eight Kings who obtained Buddha's relics and built a pagoda named Ramgram Pagoda.

 

Day 04: Fly Bhairahawa – Kathmandu. Visit Patan.

 

Morning free to visit local monasteries before heading transfer to the airport for flight to Kathmandu. On arrival, transfer to hotel.

 

After refreshments, drive to Patan. Patan is one of the major cities of Nepal, best known for its rich cultural heritage and its tradition of arts and crafts. Also known as the city of festivals and feasts, it has a history of fine ancient art and is indeed renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship.

 

A remarkable monument here is a 16th century temple, Krishna Mandir, built entirely of stone and dedicated to the Hindu Lord Krishna. Important scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics have been carved in bas-relief. The minute details of this work show the high level that the art of stone carving attained in the sixteenth century.

 

Further east from the southern end of Durbar Square, is the Mahaboudha Temple, one of the most well known Buddhist sites of Patan. The temple, made of clay bricks with thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved, is an excellent example of terra cotta art form. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteen-century Nepalese architectural masterpieces This temple is sometimes referred to as the temple of a million Buddhas because every single brick bears a small image of Buddha.

 

Kwa Bahal also known as the "Golden Temple" is situated at Patan. This Buddhist monastery showcases exceptional fine woodcarvings and repousse work.

 

Another attraction is the Tibetan Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Patan. The camp was established in 1960 under the initiative of the International Red Cross and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), in cooperation with the Government of Nepal. Its main objective is to help Tibetan refugees do something productive to support themselves. The small Tibetan population living here has set up a number of shrines and stupas as well as several souvenir shops offering authentic Tibetan handicrafts such as prayer wheels of wood, ivory, silver or bronze, long temple horns made of beaten copper, belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewelry. One can also get to see the Tibetans weaving carpets by hand.

 

Day 05: – Airport departure.

 

After breakfast, transfer to airport for departure to other destinations.

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