Destination:Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Vaishali - Kusinagar - Lumbini - Sravasti - Varanasi / Lucknow.
Destination : Lucknow - Shravasti – Lumbini - Kusinagar - Vaishali - Patna - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya - Varanasi - Khajuraho - Delhi.
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Varanasi - Bodhgaya - Vaishali - Kushinagar - Lumbini - Kapilvastu - Sravasti - Balrampur - Lucknow
Destination : Delhi – Agra - Varanasi – Sarnath - Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna – Vaishali - Kushinagar -Lumbani - Kapilvastu- Sravasti - Lucknow
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Sankisa - Shravasti – Lumbini - Kusinagar - Vaishali - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya - Varanasi - Delhi.
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Sankisa - Shravasti – Lumbini - Kusinagar - Vaishali - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya - Varanasi - Delhi.
Destination : Delhi - Sankisa - Shravasti – Lumbini - Kusinagar - Vaishali - Nalanda - Rajgir - Bodhgaya - Varanasi
Destination : Delhi – Agra - Sankisa - Shravasti- Lumbini - Kushinagar - Rajgir - Varanasi – Sarnath.
Sarnath is a famous place in Varanasi and it is the destination for cultures like Hindu, Buddha and Jain. Sarnath is the place where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma then Buddhist Sangha has originated as well as came into existence because of the enlightenment of Kondanna. It is situated atleast 13 Km to north-east of Varanasi. There is a village 1 km away from the Sarnath known as the Singhpur where Shreyansanath was born. He was known as the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism. This is why the sarnath is also an important pilgrimage site for Jainism.
Buddha has mentioned the Isipatana as one of the four places of pilgrimage which is most visited by his devout followers.
Mrigadava was named because of deer-park in sarnath. Isipatana was named because holy men have landed here. The devas rose into air and disappeared, only their sound fell on ground. It is believed that Pacceka Buddhas have spent their seven days in contemplation in the Gandhamādana and took bathe in the Anotatta Lake. After taking bathe in the lake he came to the habitations of men by the air. They came to earth at Isipatana through the air.
The Deer Park in the Sarnath was forest and gifted by the king of Benares for the purpose where deer might wander unmolested. Sarnath originated from Saranganath known as the “Lord of the Deer”. This park is still exists there today.
The Gautam Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath after 5 weeks of his enlightenment. Before attaining his enlightenment, the Gautam has given up the Pañcavaggiya monks to his austere penances and friends then he left them and went to the Isipatana.
He enlightened five former companions using his spiritual powers as they were able to understand Dharma quickly. It is believed that he had to cross the Gange through air because he had no money to pay the ferryman. The Gautam Buddha had given his sermon to five monks known as his first sermon and called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. He spent his first rainy season at the Mulagandhakuti of sarnath. The Buddha Sangha or community had grown from 5 to 60 in number. They sent by Buddha to all corner of the world to travel alone in order to teach the Dharma to people.
Sarnath is famous because it has became a major centre of earliest Sammatiya school of Buddhism. At Sarnath, the image of Lord Shiva and Brahma were found. A Jain temple is located at Chandrapuri close to the Dhamekh Stupa.
According to the Legends, it is believed that all the Buddhas of Buddha Sangha had preached their first sermon at the Isipatana. Isipatana is known by different names such as Khema-uyyāna and etc. Many of the ancient buildings were damaged by Turks but still an impressive Dhamek Stupa of 128 feet height and 93 feet diameter is stand at sarnath. The Chaukhandi Stupa and ruins of the Mulagandhakuti vihara denotes that Buddha met his first disciples and he spent his first rainy season respectively.
Sarnath is the most historical and Buddhist holy place in the Varanasi, popular among tourists for tourism for various religions like Buddhist, Jainism and Hinduism. It has so peaceful, clean and calm environment which provides lots of mind and body relaxation. It can be felt like a new world of heaven on the earth, totally away from the rush, dust and crowd. Sarnath is an amazing place having lots of things to see. Some of them are mentioned below:
Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where Lord Buddha met his 5 disciples first in Sarnath. It is considered that he came to Sarnath after getting enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in 528 BCE to meet his disciples Mahanama, Koudanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa and Asvajita in order to share his real knowledge got during enlightenment. Chaukhandi Stupa is situated at 13 km from Varanasi. It was built of brick like octagonal tower during 4th to 6th century in the Gupta period. It was little bit restructured by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the year 1588 to memorize in future the shelter of Humayun at Sarnath.
Dhamekh Stupa is the place where Lord Buddha had given his first conversation of Dharma. It is made up of brick in a solid and cylindrical shape of height 43.6 m and diameter of 28 m. It was founded by the king Ashoka in the 249 BCE. It was rebuilt during 5th century when modifications were added. It is also called as the Dharma Chakra Stupa. This stupa contains 8 niches having images of Lord Buddha.
Dharmarajika Stupa is the very significant place located near to the Dhamekh Stupa. It is considered that this place has the remains of bones of the Lord Buddha. It was built by the King Ashoka which was destroyed in 1794 by the Jagat Singh (to get bricks for another construction purpose) during which a box with bones was found. The box is still kept safely at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. It is considered as the bones were disposed off in Ganga by the Jagat Singh.
There is a famous Archaeological Museum at the Sarnath built for placing and protecting the historical things very safely as an ancient antique. It is located near to the archaeological ruins across the road. It has various ancient objects from the Buddhist arts, images of Hindu Gods and etc. It consists of the five galleries and two varandah. It is strictly prohibited to have photography inside museum to keep secret the historical things. It opens at 10.00 am in the morning till 5.00 pm in the evening from Saturday to Thursday.
Ashoka Pillar is the great thing to see at Sarnath, located amidst the ruins. It is structured representing broken stone cylinders. Actually these are considered as the remnants of the real Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath. Ashoka was a great Mauryan emperor who had constructed various pillars after his name all over the India. Originally these are having height of 12.25 m and diameter of 0.71 m base, 0.56 m top having Lion Capital (four back to back lions). Each of the Ashoka Pillars has Ashoka Chakra at the top which was broken by the Turk invasions. Broken Ashoka Pillars and fragments of the Ashoka Chakra were founded in 1904 during mining and digging at the Sarnath. The Lion Capital is still kept safely for the exhibition purpose at the Sarnath Archaeological Museum.
The Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist temple at Sarnath is one of the temples built by the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society in 1931. It is the place where Lord Buddha had spent his first rainy season. It has religious and significant historical objects from Buddha time found in Taxila, exhibited annually on the Karthik Purnima celebration. The walls of this temple have beautiful frescoes depicting the life of the Buddha.
It is located near to the Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist temple, called as the holy Bodhi vriksha. It is the most holy place for the people of Buddhist religion as Lord Buddha had attained his enlightenment here beneath the tree. It is planted at the Sarnath by the founder of Maha Bodhi Society of India (Sri Devamitta Dhammapala) on 12th of November in 1931 by taking a branch from the real Sri Maha Bodhi tree of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
It is the place where ruins of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara are found at Sarnath representing various ancient culture and tradition of Buddhism during 200 BCE. It is believed that during the Gupta period, around 3,000 monks were lived in these monasteries located closer to the Dhammeka Stupa.
The Nichigai Suzan Horinji Temple is one of the Japanese temples located at Sarnath. This is a very nice temple of great importance to the Buddhism.
Migadawon Myanmar Temple is one of the earliest Buddhist Temples located at near to the Deer Park (means Migadava) at Saranath. It was built in the month of February in 1908. In February 2008 it had celebrated the Anniversary after completing 100 Years.
A big Buddha Statue is located at the Thai Buddha vihara of height 80 ft. It is considered as the tallest standing Buddha statue at Sarnath. It was built originally of stone over 14 years during the Indo-Thai joint effort.
Sri Digamber Jain Temple is located near to the Dhamekh Stupa. It is the most religious place for the Digambara monasticism which is a branch of the Jain Dharma.
The Burmese Buddhist Temple at Sarnath is a holy destination for the Buddhism, located at west side of Deer Park. It was built in the 1910 following the ancient Buddhist tradition, Theravada.
Deer park is a very beautiful Park for the Deer at Sarnath. It has very clean, calm and peaceful environment to meditate or rest for long hours.
Located on a small hillock named Swayambhunath, this temple is a famous one located to the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley. Famously known as the monkey temple, According to mythology, the glory of this destination started from this structure.
History of Swayambhunath Temple
This religious site is located 3 km to the west of Kathmandu. It is one of the holiest Buddhist religious sites of the country. The hillock is assumed to be created from a primordial lake, which was present in the region, around 2000 years ago. The existence of this temple has been indicated in an inscription, which was made in 460 AD. Thus, it is assumed that the temple has been in the location since 460 AD or before that. Renovation works were made during the 7th century. It is said that there used to be a temple built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, but was destroyed. There is no concrete evidence for the same. It is said that King Manadeva built this temple. By the 13th century, this temple became an important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Later, in 2010, the structure was completely renovated, around 1500 years after its construction. The dome of the stupa was re-gilded using gold (20 kg). However, a few regions of the temple were destroyed by lightning in 2011 and earthquake in 2015.
Mythology of Swayambhunath Temple
According to legends, Swayambhu means ‘self-occurring’. The ancient river suddenly had a lotus flower in bloom in the middle of it. Slowly, the flower spread throughout the river and across the valley. A large illusion of Sakyamuni Buddha was seen on top of the lotus. This illusion was seen by Manjushri, who came in search of the place. The hill was raised from the river by Manjushri, a Bodhisattva of learning and wisdom. According to the etiquette of bodhisattva, he should keep his hair short and clean. However, he let his hair grow down and got infected with lice. It is said that these lice jumped out and became monkeys. Thus, the hill is full of monkeys.
Architecture of Swayambhunath Temple
The base of this stupa is cube shaped. On all four sides, there is a pentagon shaped Toran. On each side of the stupa, a pair of eyes is present. This indicates that God is omnipresent. Above each pair of eyes, there is another eye, which is the eye of wisdom. There is Panch Buddha (five Buddhas) on each side of the stupa. Walk past the stairs leading to the temple and you will find two lion statues guarding the entrance. This staircase is the most recommended route that pilgrims take to enter the stupa, on foot. However, if you are ready to drive to the west side of the stupa, you can find another entrance; with lesser steps.
At the bottom of the staircase on the eastern side, there is a large gate with 12 feet tall Tibetan prayer wheel. It would take two strong people to move the wheel. For every revolution, a bell sound is heard. Near the gate, there are numerous small wheels for tourists to spin and perform prayers. Right before the stairs, you will find three 17th century Buddha statues. These statues are worshipped by women. Along the stairs, you will find many inscribed Tibetan stones. You can also spot small shops where merchants sell such stone replicas to tourists. The stairs will take you through forest region inhabited with numerous monkeys.
The main stupa building is a white domed structure. The stupa is filled with numerous statues and artifacts. From the tower, you can find a 13 level golden spire. The umbrella on top of the spire holds a bowl full of precious stones.There are numerous other shrines around this main building. Each one was donated by kings and other political figures.
Before sunrise, you can find thousands of pilgrims walking up the 365 steps to the top of the hill. Apart from the main white domed stupa, there are numerous other structures around it.
Open from dawn to dusk. The temple is open throughout the week.
Best Time To Visit Swayambhunath Temple
It is best to visit the temple early in the morning, before 9 am. This is the time you can find many rituals and pilgrims in the complex. As the day progresses, you will be surrounded by tourists taking pictures and doing other touristy things. If you visit during Saturday, the temple will be jam packed with locals and tourists. Saturday is the day-off of this country and you can find many prime activities during Saturday in this temple.
With regards to climate, the spring and fall are the best times to visit Kathmandu. September to mid of May is the right time to visit the temple.
With regards to religious festivals, Buddha Jayanth of April/May and Losar of Feb/March are the best time to visit this temple. Gunla celebration of August or September is also a good time to visit. However, it would be during the rainy season, which would be harder for tourists to enjoy sightseeing and other activities.
White Monastery or Seto Gomba, also known as Amitabha Monastery, is a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, offering a mix of religious importance and natural anesthetic. The vivid terrain and the lush green landscape of the surrounding make the sunset and sunrise here, a treat to watch. Visitors can observe the whole of the Kathmandu Valley from this place. The soothing atmosphere draws most travellers wanting to soak up some tranquillity after exploring the bustling city of Kathmandu.
Architecture of Seto Gumba
The highlight of the magnificent White Monastery is the Tibetan architecture with stunning statues, murals and paintings that depict the life of Gautama Buddha and his teachings. Through these depictions, one can get an idea of the teachings and practices taught to the monks. Another attractive feature of the monastery is the cluster of several statues of Lord Buddha installed artistically almost everywhere on raised hillocks or pedestals in the complex. A unique arrangement has two flights of stairs leading to a central staircase which can be taken by tourists to see the topmost statue of Gautama Buddha. These statues are all coloured in gold and add to the aesthetic appeal of the monastery.
The campus is clean, well-maintained and is surrounded by lush greenery. The divine vibe is so peaceful that one cannot help but feel their nerves calming down as they stroll across. There is also a decent restaurant for the tourists to relish a local snack or a meal before heading back to the city. A splendid view of the valley can be enjoyed from any location in the campus. In fact, the climb up the pathways is definitely captivating but what is even more enchanting is the view of the Kathmandu Valley as one walks down the same pathways. This is something that has to be experienced when visiting Nepal.
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal
For hundreds of years, the Boudhanath Stupa has stood as a beacon of Buddhist belief, towering over the surrounding town as a giant mandala of peace and beauty and also giant eyes.
Built some time around the 14th century, the huge meditative monument is said to have been created just after the passing of the Buddha. The huge offering site quickly become a focal point of worship and offering in the area. The structure of the building consists of a giant dome, on the top which sits a Buddhist pyramid tower. All of this sits on top of huge steps shaped like mandalas themselves. Originally the stupa’s spot was on an important trade route which allowed for a steady stream of possible converts. Among the Nepalese in Kathmandu, the stupa is simply referred to as “Chorten Chenpo” which translates to “Great Tower” or just “Great Stupa.” No matter what pilgrims called it, they flocked to the monument in droves.
Despite having existed for years, the site did not truly become the center of Tibetan Buddhism until the 1950s as refugees from China immigrated over to Kathmandu. Temples and devotional sites began to spring up throughout the surrounding city and further far afield, strengthening the power and importance of the site immeasurably.
While it is hard to determine their specific age, the base of the stupa tower is decorated with pairs of eyes on each of the cardinal directions representing the all-knowing nature of the Buddha. However, for those not fully indoctrinated into Buddhist belief, the building (while quite peaceful and beautiful) does seem to be peering down on visitors as they come to make offerings or just to see one of the more spectacular Buddhist sites in the world.
Located 40 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, Namo Buddha is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites south of the Himalayas, as well as being one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world. Known by Tibetans as Takmo Lu Jin, meaning “Tigress Body Generosity”, Namo Buddha stupa marks the site where a young prince (in some versions, the Buddha himself) encountered a tigress close to starvation and unable to feed her own cubs. Overcome with compassion, the prince allowed the tigress to consume him and thereby feed her cubs. A small shrine a few minutes walk uphill from the stupa contains statues of the prince together with the tigress and her cubs. On the other side of the hill stands the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse monastery constructed in 1976. Large numbers of pilgrims visit Namo Buddha, especially during the months of February and March.
A long time in the past, many immeasurable eons ago, our teacher the perfect Buddha was practicing on the path of learning. Below is the story of how he was overcome with compassion when he saw a tigress tormented by starvation and offered his body to her without a moment’s hesitation.
In the distant past, there lived in this world a king named Great Charioteer (Shingta Chenpo) who ruled over a small kingdom of some five thousand subjects. Due to the king’s accumulation of merit, all his subjects enjoyed happiness and well-being; rains came at the right time while crops and livestock flourished. The king had three sons: the oldest was named Great Sound (Dra Chenpo), the middle Great Deity (Lha Chenpo), and the youngest Great Being (Semchen Chenpo). Powerful in the martial arts and radiating confidence, the two elder sons always helped the king in governing the kingdom. From his earliest years, the youngest son, Great Being, was very bright and endowed with spontaneous kindness and compassion. He gave freely and generously to others as if to his only child.
One day when the weather was fine, the king along with his queen, sons, and ministers left the town for a relaxing time in the country. The king and queen rode upon an elephant while the sons, ministers, and retinue were mounted on beautiful horses. After half a day’s ride, they arrived at a place of thickly wooded forests resonant with birdsong while nearby blossomed a tapestry of flowers in rich variety. The king was pleased with the scenery and ordered a large encampment to be prepared for everyone’s enjoyment. The servants immediately unpacked everything, set up tents, and laid out a hearth of stones for cooking. Soon the ground was covered with tents as clouds billowed in the sky above. The servants bustled about, preparing a variety of foods and offering tea and liquor to everyone. Then the young people began to sing, dance, and play, transforming the encampment into a celestial realm. The king, queen, and ministers watched the entertainment while enjoying an eighteen-course meal accompanied by wine and sake.
Then the three princes, in the full flush of their youth, picked up their bows and arrows and headed for the forest. As they walked along, they noticed a den in the dense woods. They crept up to it and saw inside a tigress sleeping beside her cubs. Great Sound and Great Deity laid arrows on their bows, making ready to kill the tigress, but Great Being stopped his brothers, saying that killing was completely wrong. When he looked into the cave again, Great Being noticed that the tigress was not able to move, for she had just given birth and she also feared that if she left to hunt for food, another animal might harm her cubs. Tormented by hunger, she lay on the ground unable even to lift her head. Great Being was moved to tears with compassion that arose from the depths of his heart. He asked his brothers, “What kind of food would save the tigress and her cubs?” They responded, “This kind of red Indian tiger eats the warm flesh and blood of a recent kill. So if you want to help her and the cubs, you must find flesh and blood that are fresh.”
Great Being thought for a moment: “It’s indeed true that to save the tigress and her cubs, warm flesh and blood are needed. But then I’d have to kill another living being, and that would mean killing one to save another. What else can I do?” He thought for a long while but did not find a solution. Then his brothers said, “We came out here to have a good time. It’s pointless to worry about this tigress and her cubs. It’s time to return to our parents.” And so they left.
As he followed his brothers back to the encampment, Great Being thought, “For a long time, I have been cycling in samsara, wasting countless lives, sometimes due to excessive desire, aversion, and sometimes ignorance. I have rarely met such an opportunity to accumulate merit. What real use is this body if not for the Dharma?” Finally he decided, “This time I must be truly generous.”
Before he had gone very far with his brothers, he said to them, “Brothers, you two go on ahead. I have something to take care of and will catch up with you soon.”
He took the path to the tigress’s den quickening his pace. When he found the collapsed tigress, she was so exhausted that she could not even open her mouth. Great Living Being reached out his hand to touch her face, but she was so weak she could not even bare her fangs. So the prince sharpened a splinter from a nearby tree and cut his body to draw blood, which he allowed the tigress to lick. Not long after, she opened her jaws and stood up. With a roar, she pounced on the prince and devoured him.
The two brothers waited a long time, but the youngest prince did not come, so they set out to find him. Reflecting on what he had said earlier, they had no doubt that he had returned to the tigress’s den. When they arrived and looked inside, there was nothing left of their brother but blood, bones, nails, and bits of clothing. The tigress had consumed him. At this sight, Great Sound and Great Deity immediately lost consciousness; it was a long time before they recovered their senses. The two gathered up the pieces of their brother’s clothing and, sobbing with deep sadness, set out for their parents’ encampment.
During this time, the queen was taking a nap and in a dream saw three doves flying high in the sky. As they fluttered around, a hawk struck and carried off the smallest one. Waking in terror, the queen immediately related her dream to the king. He replied, “Hearing your story, I believe the three doves are our three sons. The youngest of them, carried off by the hawk, is my most beloved son. I’m sure that something dreadful has happened to him.” So saying, the king immediately sent out servants to look everywhere for his son.
Soon, the two princes arrived and the king asked, “Did something bad happen to my beloved son? Do you have any news?” Choked with sadness, the two were unable to speak or even breathe for a while. Finally, they sighed deeply and told their parents that the tigress had eaten Great Being. Upon hearing this terrible news, the queen fainted right away. The king too was overwhelmed with immense sadness and tormented by sorrow. After a long while and with profound sighs, the two princes, the king, and the queen rushed to the place where the youngest prince had died. When they arrived at the opening of the den, what met their eyes were the bones and rivulets of blood left behind by the tigress. The queen recoiled, overcome with sobbing, and did not recover for a long while.
Meanwhile, the prince had been reborn as Great Courage (Nyingtob Chenpo). He wondered, “What did I do to be reborn here in the celestial realm of Tushita?” Through his divine eye, he thoroughly examined the five realms. Great Courage saw that, gathered around the bone fragments he had left behind, were his parents and two brothers. They were sunk in lamentation and completely miserable. He thought, “My parents are experiencing such unhappiness, it could threaten their very lives. To lighten their spirits, I’ll go talk to them.” He descended from space to the lofty sky and spoke words of encouragement to comfort his parents: “I’m the prince Great Being. After giving my body in generosity to the starving tigress, I was reborn in the celestial realm of Tushita.” With tears in their eyes, the king and queen said, “Son, you who are like our very heart, offering your body to the tigress was certainly most praiseworthy. But whom can we tell of our suffering in missing you?”
Great Courage replied, “Please do not be unhappy. The end of birth is disintegration, and the end of gathering is separation. No one can transcend this for it is the nature of things. It is the same for everyone. If you perform evil actions, you will fall into the hell realms; if you perform virtuous actions, you will be reborn in the higher realms. Therefore, diligently pursue virtue. Make aspiration prayers, and in the next life we will definitely meet in a celestial realm.” After a few more words, he disappeared. The king and queen became a little happier and made the commitment to pursue virtuous activity. They created a small casket covered with seven kinds of jewels in which they laid the bones of their son and a stupa was built over the place in which it was buried.
Just north of the ancient Buddhist town of Boudhanath is the Kopan hill, which rises up out of the terraced fields of the Kathmandu valley and is visible for miles. Dominated by a magnificent bodhi tree, it was once the home of the astrologer to the king of Nepal. This same hill is now the home of Kopan Monastery, a monastery in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The air is clean and the view across the valley magical.
It is the home of 360 monks, lamas, teachers and workers. The monks come from all areas of Nepal and Tibet with ages ranging from seven to sixty years old. They have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, with special emphasis on the teachings of Lama Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelug Lineage.
Visitors from all over the world come here to attend courses and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the place for study and practice.
Kopan is committed to helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion as taught by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Kopan Monastery is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an organization devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service. FPMT provides integrated education through which people's minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility.