There is probably no place in the world better known for being the heart of spirituality than the mighty Himalayas. For centuries, pilgrims have come to this land of Nepal seeking enlightenment. It was here that Prince Siddhartha Gautama became The Buddha. In Hinduism, the gods have come from the snowy peaks of the mountains.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition has developed a special Buddhist tour to some of the most sacred Buddhist places in Nepal. These are Buddhist pilgrimage sites where you can learn sacred tantras. On this trip, you will visit the places where the Second Buddha Guru Padma Sambhava achieved enlightenment in Maratika Cave. Mandarava and Padmasambhava also attained enlightenment in this same sacred spot.
We will also be visiting Namobuddha, one of the most holy places in Buddhism. It is believed that at this sacred spot, The Buddha offered his own flesh to a hungry tigress that was starving and unable to feed her cubs.
Finally, we will reach the sacred place where The Buddha was born at Lumbini. There are incredible monasteries from around the world here, along with many archeological sites to explore. At his birthplace is the sacred pond Maya Devi took her bath as well as an opportunity to see the Buddha's own footprint.
This is a fantastic tour that will appeal to not only Buddhist pilgrims, but anyone seeking to immerse themselves in deep spiritualism. This is a sacred tour that will touch every aspect of your soul, body and spirit.
DAY 1 – Arrival at Kathmandu, Transfer to Hotel.
DAY 2 – Fly to Lamidanda (Maratika)
DAY 3 – Travel to Lamidanda
DAY 4 – Fly back to Kathmandu
DAY 5 – Kathmandu, Swoyambhunath and Bhaktapur Sightseeing
DAY 6 – Fly to Lumbini
DAY 7 – Return to Kathmandu, visit Kopan Monastery
DAY 8 – Visit Namobuddha
DAY 9 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu – Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be met by a representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition and taken by private car to your Three Star Hotel. There will be welcome drinks and a short briefing about your trip by your guide. Spend the night in the hotel.
DAY 2 –Kathmandu - Lamidanda to Maratika: We will fly from Kathmandu to Lamidanda after breakfast which is a 35 minute flight. From here, we take a private vehicle to Maratika Haleshi Mahadev. This famous place is mentioned in Himalayan literature since the 12th century. The Maratika Cave is a natural forming cave where it is believed that Mahadev (Shiva) hid himself from the monster Bhasmasur which is in Khotang District. Hindu pilgrims call this place the Pashupatinath of the East and this is a sacred pilgrimage site for both Hindus as well as Buddhists. We will overnight in the local lodge.
DAY 3 – Maratika to Lamidanda: It is a four hour drive back to the airport at Lamidanda. We will plan to spend the night at a local lodge in Lamidanda as we prepare to return tomorrow to Kathmandu.
DAY 4 – Fly to Kathmandu: It is a short flight back to Kathmandu where you will have private vehicle to your hotel. The rest of the day is a free day where you are on your own to explore the city at your leisure. Be sure to do some shopping for souvenirs in Thamel. There are many places that sell quality Buddhist items.
DAY 5 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley: We will visit three of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This will include Swayambhunath Temple. Sitting on a high hillock overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, this place has been a sacred site for over 2000 years. In one of the smaller stupas, a bone of Lord Buddha himself has been interred. From on top of this place is a great view of the Valley. This place is also known as "Monkey Temple" because of all the Rhesus Monkeys that call this place home. From here, it is on to Boudhanath, which is the largest stupa in Nepal and home of Nepal's largest Tibetan Buddhist community. In the afternoon, we will take a ride to Bhaktapur to visit this incredible city. The entire city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features its own Durbar Square and sacred temples. We will spend the night at your Three Star Hotel in Kathmandu.
DAY 6 – Lumbini: Today's journey is back to the airport and an hour flight to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha himself. This place is one of the most sacred places in all of Buddhism. Here you can sit by the sacred pond where his mother bathed before his birth. There is something that is so tranquil about this sacred spot. Inside the temple you can see a footprint of the young Buddha who took seven steps upon his birth. Around the location are numerous monasteries, erected by different countries around the world. This is a peaceful place to enjoy and be filled with an awesome sense of spirituality. You will also have an opportunity to see some of the archeological sites that are in the area. We will spend the night in a Three Star Hotel in Lumbini.
DAY 7 – Return to Kathmandu, visit Kopan Monastery: We fly back to Kathmandu today and after landing, will explore the Kopan Monastery near Boudhanath. This is a Tibetan Monastery and is of the Mahayana Tradition. Once we have explored the monastery, we will return to our hotel.
DAY 8 – Visit to Namobuddha: We will drive north into the mountains today to visit the monastery at Namobuddha. This sacred spot is where Lord Buddha is said to have offered his own flesh to a hungry tigress. She had hungry cubs and was starving. It represents the concept of sacrifice of self for the greater good. We will spend some precious moments here before returning to Kathmandu. In the evening there will be a Farewell Dinner, with Nepali foods and a cultural show.
DAY 9 – All good things must come to an end, and this short trip is no exception. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will escort you by private vehicle to the airport to see you off to your next destination. Before leaving, why not discuss a return trip to Nepal to explore other parts of this great nation. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can put together all kinds of vacation packages for your next holiday.
While traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition, your all around safety and satisfaction is of our paramount concern. Please note that the Trip Leader has the authority to cancel or amend any part of this itinerary if it is necessary due to any safety concerns. We leave no stone unturned to keep the itinerary mentioned above, but as this adventure does include traveling in the Himalayas, we can’t guarantee that it will not be necessary to make changes if conditions so warrant. Some of these factors include extreme weather conditions, unexpected natural disaster, health conditions of any of our group members, etc, can all be contributing factors necessitating changes. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition’s Trip Leader will try to ensure that the trip runs as per plan, but we kindly request that you be flexible if need be.
All accommodations for Maratika Haleshi Mahadev-Namobuddha & Lumbini Tour are on twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene, standard of service and food, location and more. There are two kind of accommodations during the trip. We will spend the nights in 3-Star Hotels in Kathmandu & Lumbini and local lodge in Maratika. Solo travelers may share a room with someone of the same sex, or if requested, we can arrange for a private room for an additional fee. We at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will do all we can to make your trip as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.
During the tour, we can enjoy typical Nepali local food, different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) from pizza and chips to apple pie. We can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Dinner and breakfast will be served at the tour where we will spend the night. A farewell dinner with cultural show and breakfast will be served in our stay in Kathmandu as well as breakfast served in Lumbini.