The founder of Buddhism; Lord Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal nearly 563 B.C. So, Nepal being the birthplace of Buddha, there are many places that secure the traces of Buddhism. From the place where Buddha’s mother Queen Maya Devi got into labor, to places Buddha was brought up, every place holds a distinct and prestigious value in the context of Buddhism. Hence, all these sites can be claimed as the must-visit Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Nepal.
As per the legends, after Lord Buddha had received enlightenment, he lived his life as a traveling ascent and taught the philosophy of life and peace. It is believed that Gautam Buddha had also traveled to Kathmandu and blessed the local peoples out there. Hence landmarks like Mahaboudha, Rudra Varna Mahavihar, and Hiranya Varna Mahavihar (Golden Temple) had been built as a dedication to Lord Buddha. In the contemporary context, Buddhism has gradually flourished through the world increasing the number of Buddhism followers, and every year thousands of visitors from a foreign land voyage to visit different Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Nepal.
So, today we have listed some of the important and famous Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Nepal below;
Maya Devi Temple is the exact place where Lord Gautama Buddha took his birth. The straggled monasteries, garden, and other majestic temples add more value to Lumbini. Lumbini also has an Ashoka Pillar; 3rd century stone pillar constructed under the reign of Emperor Ashoka. Lumbini includes Santi Jyoti; an antique and natural spot of burning flame that never goes off, and conveys the message to spread peace.
Listed in the UNESCO world heritage site, SwayambhuNath Chaitya is located in the North-West direction of Kathmandu. Symbolizing the faith and harmony through the existence of Hindu and Buddhist temples at the same spot, Swayambhu Nath is worshipped by both Hindu and Buddhist followers. The panoramic view of Kathmandu valley through the hillock of on which it rests doesn’t fail to mesmerize the people.
Regarded as the central landmark of Tibetan Buddhism, BoudhaNath Chaitya is located 8Km East of Kathmandu. The most appealing and unique part of BoudhaNath Chaitya is its establishment in the structure of Mandala. This structure of Boudha Nath portrays the Gyangste of Tibet. Surrounded by different monasteries, rooftop coffee stations, chanting of soulful mantras, lighting of butter-lamps, etc definitely give you the feel of peace and enlightened soul.
Namobuddha; one of the important sites among Buddhist pilgrimage sites, holds a significant part of the Buddhist history. This site is considered as the site where Mahasatwo (an earlier form of Gautam Buddha before his reincarnation) sacrificed himself as a feed for hungry mother tiger. His remaining bones are believed to be buried in the tomb where the actual stupa of Namo Buddha stands today. Located about 40 Km east from Kathmandu, Namobuddha offers an amazing view of Snow Capped Himalayas, and downhill villages. Namobuddha is a perfect place for peace and nature seekers as its calm and distinct location from a busy and disturbing lifestyle.
Portraying a perfect example of religious tolerance, Halesi- Maratika Cave holds religious tales in both Hindu and Buddhist history. Located in Khotang district of Nepal, Maratika cave is a pilgrimage spot where Padmasambhava (2 nd Buddha) and Mandarava achieved the realization of Immortal Life. Those people who desire to seek long life and perform Padmasambhava practice often visit here.
5. Ramagrama Stupa
Away from Kathmandu valley but in the heart of Nawalparasi, located is Ramagrama Stupa. Ramagrama Stupa too can be counted as one of the important sites among other Buddhist Pilgrimage sites, as the corporeal remains of Lord Gautam Buddha were enshrined here. This 7-meter high stupa has been buried under the mass of mother earth.
Four Machindranath Temple located in 4 different locations holds divine value. Worshipped equally by both Buddhist and Hindu, Machindranath temples are located in Janabahal, Nala, Chovar, and Bungamati. Each Machindranath deities are believed to bless people with happiness, long life, health, peace, and prosperity. Another major attraction besides the beauty of Machindranath and its temple is its surrounding locality. People who go on pilgrimage to any of the Machindranath temple can feel the local lifestyle and be astonished as well as amazed at the same time.
Buddhism has been practiced for several decades all around the globe. Also in recent days, it’s catching a rapid pace of growing Buddhism followers from different parts of the globe. Approximately 10% of world populations follow the principle of Buddhism. In that case, there exist millions of such people who would be wishing to stand on the land of Buddha’s birthplace; Nepal, at least once. For those keen followers, above-mentioned landmark can be the best and memorable Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal.