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This is not just a regular pilgrimage tour to Buddhist monumental sites in this beautiful Himalayan nation, what we are offering here is insights into Buddhism and practice in one’s daily life along with cultural site visits to spiritual centers where Buddhism practices and meditations emerged. The breathtaking views, exquisite Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and stupas, monastic lifestyle, impressive durbar squares of historical significance, hospitable people, mouthwatering cuisines, spiritual activities are definitely a retreat that is going to make your trip memorable. You shall also get a chance to explore your inner-self and indulge into detoxing your body and mind through yoga and meditation session at Avata.
“This tour is specifically prepared for new students of Buddhas teaching, as well as those who are already practicing Dharma. We will visit the unique pilgrimage, sacred places of Nepal. In addition, their relevance to one’s particular practice and life experience will be pointed out. We will introduce traditional Buddhist meditation in a short and direct wa.. This will include shinee, calm abiding. lhaktong, vipassana, mahamudra awareness meditations…
In addition, there will be a follow up afterwards to connect students online with several well-known Buddhist masters of several traditions. Also some suggested guidance on how to organize one’s dharma practice in one’s home country.
Our guides will be on hand for personal assistance throughout this tour.
It is our wish to provide a unique experience in pilgrimage tours. One with practical benefits for participants. A continued group experience on the honored path of dharma.
For over two thousand years’ pilgrims have ventured to connect with the Buddhas teaching. Previously this has involved considerable effort and even often hardship in travel. In our time we have many ways to enable this in a more accessible way to many. We at Royal Mt Travels are committed to providing you with a unique and positive experience to enhance your spiritual interests and activity.”
This tour will be led by Richard David Holden, initially a western traveler who came overland by public buses from Europe to Nepal and India in 1971. Curiosity led him into spirituality and later he just delved into the realm of spirituality, meditation, and travel. He was soon deeply connected with the rituals, traditions, and people. One of many of that generation on that trail who followed a spiritual and adventurous call. Arriving in Nepal and India he met the dharma, great teachers, and practiced according to tradition of Burmese Buddhism and Tibetan tradition. Richard will share with travelers as a fellow pilgrim on the path of dharma.
Together with a local Nepali guide they will personally assist travelers.
In addition, for those interested, references will be given on how to continue Buddhist teaching and practice with proper guidance of qualified teachers in one’s own country.
Together with the expertise of Royal Mountain Travel – Nepal, one can look forward to a rewarding experience to enhance one’s spiritual journey.
17th November 2023
15th February 2024
International Airport Arrival and Transfer to Hotel. Welcome Dinner at Bricks Café.
Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, our airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so. You have time to relax and enjoy the ambience and comfort of the hotel until your dinner transfer in the evening. You are welcomed for a good dinner at a traditional restaurant with good ambience at Bricks Café.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Sightseeing of Swayambhunath Stupa, Visit Bijeswori Temple, Kathmandu Durbar Square via Ason
Early morning, you drive to Swayambhunath and are dropped at Buddha park at the back side of the hill. Then you walk around the park and can observe activities of the devotees in the area, and offer butter lamps to Buddha statues. From there, you walk around the area to reach Bhagwan Paau (foot of God). You are then picked up by your transport and dropped off at the other side of Swayambhunath. You then take a short walk to Saraswotisthan Temple to get blessings from goddess Saraswoti, Goddess of learning. Later, you head onto Swayambhunath Stupa on top of a conical hill, where the panoramic view of Kathmandu city can be witnessed. You can observe and enjoy Bhajan (spiritual hymns) being performed near Harati Mata Temple.
Then onward you drive to tantric temple – Bijeswori Temple, and head on further to sightseeing tour of the historic Kathmandu Durbar Square, including Machhindranath temple passing by the local market in Ason.
Later you are dropped off to your hotel for your night’s stay.
Drive to Sankhu and Visit Vajrayogini Temple. Sightseeing Tour of Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Shechen Monastery
Sankhu is an ancient Newar town located in the north-east corner of Kathmandu Valley. Vajrayogini is a Buddhist Tantric deity sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus, and the temple is located in a peaceful place. In the afternoon, you can visit Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to the Hindu Lord – Shiva, the God of Destruction, also known as Pashupatinath (Lord of Animals). This temple is, moreover, one of the final destinations for Hindu devotees of all around the world. You shall discover the Naropa and Tilopa Caves. Boudhanath, also enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a holy pilgrimage site for Buddhists. You shall also visit Shechen Monastery.
Drive to Pharping. Visit Asura Cave, Self-Arising Tara Temple and Vajrayogini Temple. Short Meditation Session at Neydo
As you drive away from Kathmandu, you can see the change in scenery along the road and drive through farming fields and lush green forest. The winding road takes you to Pharping. You would be visiting Asura Cave, one of the sacred pilgrimage places for the Buddhists, where the great Buddhist master Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) attained enlightenment. You would visit self-arising Tara temple and Vajra Yogini Temple. Later, you stop for the night at Neydo Monastery, where you can do a short meditation in a peaceful environment.
Drive to Namo Buddha
After breakfast, you drive for about 2 hours along a winding road that takes you to Namo Buddha, which is perched at the top of the hill. You pass through scenic landscapes, small villages before you reach the magnificent complex of the monastery. It is a most sacred Buddhist religious site and also popular among tourists. It is one of the most important holy site homes for more than 250 monks coming here to receive training in ritual practices, study Dharma, learn and write Tibetan.
Day at Namo Buddha
Namo Buddha is a beautiful and peaceful place. Namo stands for bowing and Buddha bowed down here, thus was named Namobuddha. It is a calm place for meditation and practice. It is believed that relics of the past life of Buddha lies here. You shall have a peaceful learning session there.
It is famous for growing Bodhi Chitta’s historical connection with Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). Bodhi Chitta is the beads used during praying, developing happiness and peace. Bodhi Chitta is literally meant as the enlightenment of mind and motivated by compassion for all living humans who search for enlightenment. Sacred Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery is the main highlights of Namobuddha founded by Thrangu Rinpoche believed to build over the skeletons of Buddha Mahasattva (reincarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha) who sacrificed himself to the hungry tigress and the cubs.
Drive to Halesi
Your trip starts early in the morning. It takes 8 to 9 hours’ drive from Kathmandu to Halesi or Maratika Cave which lies in the Khotang district. On the way, you could see the countryside of Nepal filled with fields, hills, and small settlements. You will see the conjunction of Bhotekoshi and Roshi Khola over the deadliest Sun Koshi river. Reaching the border of Okhaldhunga and Khotang districts, you will be greeted by the Dudhkhosi river, which flows right from Everest. The place is rich in history, mythology and sacred geology.
Visit Halesi Mahadev – Maratika Cave and Monastery. Drive back to Kathmandu.
Early morning you will take a couple of minutes’ walk to Halesi Temple – Maratika Cave. You can see lots of pilgrims walking towards the temple area. You will hear the Buddhist monastery chanting prayers on the way to the temple. And also the loud noise of the bell coming from the Hindu temple. This is where two different cultures dilute (Hinduism and Buddhism), who worship their respective God Shiva and Padmasambhava.
Halesi is one of the famous pilgrimage sites of Nepal. It is famous for Hindus, Buddhists, and Kirat communities. It says, Halesi Mahadev bestows blessings on the needy and fills prayers with wisdom and knowledge. This place holds crucial religious significance to Hindus as Lord Shiva is manifested in the form of Linga.
Also known as Maraktia Cave is a sacred place for Buddhists where the great master Guru Rinpoche and princess Mandarava attained the Vidyadhara of longevity and freed themselves from the circle of lives and obtained the realization of immortal life. The cave is full of stunning creation of nature & god, beautiful mysterious natural images, differently shaped natural stones. As you lower towards the cave, you reach the plateau where there is a Buddhist god and a massive opening on the cave roof. Padmasambhava killed the demon in this cave and flew from the top resulting huge opening. The rock head and body of the demon is still inside the cave door.
Next to which is Maratika Monastery, home to around 50 monks. It is advised to reach there early in the morning as you can witness the peaceful mediation and praying session. Later, you return back to Kathmandu.
Sightseeing Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Rejuvenating Retreat Session and Exclusive Vegetarian Dinner at Avata Wellness Center.
You drive to ancient city of Bhaktapur, an important and fascinating World Heritage Site, made up of three large squares filled with shrines, temples and activity. Bhaktapur is the old Newari city with some of the finest architecture in Nepal. In its heyday (14th-16th centuries) Bhaktapur was the most powerful of the Kathmandu Valley kingdoms and its capital for 300 years.
Later in the afternoon, you will be transferred to Avata Wellness Center for a retreat session that includes 60 minutes Yoga and meditation session (chanting and breathing) and Spa therapy for 60 minutes, which will help you relax and rejuvenate your body and soul. After you finish the sessions, you are served an exclusive 6 course dinner platter at its restaurant. This will definitely charm you and help you connect with “Nepal ko swad” Nepalese delicacy and culture.
The 6 course meal is a blend of delicacies that bind different flavors of Nepal. All dishes are prepared using traditional Nepali herbs and spices that aid in assimilation of our food intake. These spices are carefully selected to balance the fire and air elements in our body. All the fruits and vegetables used are seasonal and represent the geographical diversity of Nepal. The Nepali thali, which is our main course, is an interesting combination of carbs, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It’s a complete Nepali meal, staple to a majority of the population. This 6 course meal will surely surprise your palate and introduce you to Nepal ko Swad (Taste of Nepal).
Drive from Kathmandu to Lumbini.
Today, you are driven for about 8 hours to reach Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. You are transferred to the Hotel, where you stay for 2 nights. You can relax for the day.
Full Day Visit to Monasteries in Lumbini Garden
This day, you visit monasteries and meditation center in the Lumbini Garden. A full day visiting around the monasteries built by different Buddhist countries, would be quite an experience in its own. You get to experience the calm surrounding and can explore the historical structure and the timeless remains of the ancient era.
Drive to Kathmandu
Today, you drive back to Kathmandu and are transferred to your hotel. You can relax for the day.
International Airport Departure Transfer
You have your time free until departure time. The Check-in is 2.5 hours prior to departure, and it is best not to skim on time as queues can be long and slow. Your booked airport transfer will be at your hotel ready to take you to the airport in time, allowing approximately 30 mins driving time depending on time of day. At the airport, security will check your flight ticket – either hard copy or on your mobile – along with your passport before you are allowed to enter the departure hall.