Duration : 14 Days
Group Size : 3 - 5 pax
We fly Lukla, a remote airstrip in the mountain, and follow well traveled path to Phakding and gradually climb the trail from Jorsale to Namche Baza (3440m). Next stop Thyangboche (3867m) to visit monastery and meet the reincarnate lama. We descend to Debouche (3770m) and Pangboche (4252m) and again climb gradually and steadily through less traveled trail to a small village at Phortse (3800m). We take time to visit local villagers at their house and learn about their life. En-route back we stop at Khumjung (3753m) monastery to see the display of a scalp believed to be from Yeti (abominable animal). There is a cave of Guru Rinpoche high up in the hill, and school built by Sir Edmund Hillary. Descend to Monjo and to Lukla. Fly to Kathmandu. During the journey there are possibilities to visit and meet residing lama and participate at the puja (prayer). You can also stop by, the small nunnery; meet the residing nuns and the abbot of the monastery near Pangboche.
Duration : 08 Days
Group Size : 3-5 pax
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. It is located in southern plain of central Nepal very close to the border of Indian State of Bihar and Utter Pradesh. We take you to the pilgrimage site of Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike. Emperor Ashoka of India in the height of his power to renounce his acquisitive and bloody path visited Lumbini and built a Pillar in 250 BC. While in Lumbini we visit the temple of Maya Devi, mother of Gautam Buddha, and the sacred pool known as Puskarni, where Maya Devi gave purification bath to Gautam Buddha. The focal point of Lumbini is the sanctum sanctorum where a stone slab is located to mark exact birthplace of Gautam Buddha. We take two full day tour to visit the restored garden and surrounding areas that has many ancient monuments, monasteries and stupas including the archeological site at Kapilvastu where Gautam Buddha spent his early years of childhood. Archaeologist has discovered that the foundation of the palace scattered in the area has 13 successive layers of human habitation dating back to 8th century BC. If time permit we visit other historical places associated with the life of Gautam Buddha like Aroarakot Chatradei, Gotihawa and Kudan all in the vicinity of Taulihawa. Niglihawa and Sagarhawa are other near by sites that are archeologically important. Surrounding villages and weekly market full of local merchandise and people provides interesting sightseeing tour.
After Lumbini fly back to Kathmandu and travel to Bhaktapur to see many interesting monuments and people in their traditional attire. Travel onward to a resort in Nagarkot; stay overnight at the resort to see sunrise and sunset view over the Himalayan range including Mt. Everest. On way back to Kathmandu we drive to the ridge of Namobuddha to have a look at the place visited by Buddha in Kathmandu before going to Varanasi (India) at the end of his life. This visit was during the reign of Kiranti king. At the end of the journey we travel to Buddhist centers like Boudhanath and Swambhunath. In recent year Boudhanath stupa known as little Tibet has become the biggest center for Tibetan Buddhist and Buddhist in South Asia for pilgrimage and meditation.
Buddhism is an integral part of Nepali culture. The Newars and Tibetans have played an important role in keeping up the tradition of Buddhism in the country. There are about 2,000 Buddhist shrines in Kathmandu valley in the form of Stupa, Chaitya or Chorten. This monuments enshrine a relic of Buddha or contain prayers, holy scripts or mortal remains of an important and holy Buddhist master. These structure are built alone or within a Vihar or Gompa where the community of devotee live and practice ‘dharma’. Stupas and vihars are also the hallmark of Nepali art and cultural.
A prayer in the ancient Hindu Scripture, Rig Veda, entreats upon God, “ Tamaso Maa Jyotirgamaya, Asato Maa Sadgamaya, Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya” or Lead us from Darkness (Ignorance) to light (Knowledge), from Falsehood to Truth, from Death to Immorality.’
Every human being on earth is in relentless pursuit of love, mental peace and spiritual happiness. According to Sanatan Dharma, the eternal religion, the proven way to overcome the tensions, stress and strain that one faces in daily life is faith in spiritualism (adhyatma). Spiritual practice (sadhana) casts ‘light to do away with darkness’ and liberates a person from sorrow, gloom and despondency. Spiritual enlightenment leads to blissful inner peace (Samadhi).
Travelling across Nepal can be not only a fascinating physical and visual journey through high mountains, cascading rivers, pristine forests and unexplored landscapes, but also a spiritual journey as well. Viewing the country through a spiritual lens will help see the people and land in that extra dimensional element that one might have missed otherwise. Among the myriad and diverse attractions that have drawn people from far and abroad to visit Nepal, one aspect that is unique to this country, but has often been either overlook or remained barely noticed, is the exalted standing this country holds in Spiritualism.
For many, Nepal remains a mystical land with its harmonious blend of two of the world’s prominent religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, it’s incredibly tolerant people living through a fascinating religious – cultural milieu and its amazing landscapes that in ancient times drew rishis (sages), ascetics, mystics and yogis who wandered in a spiritual mission in search of tatwa gyan (supreme truth), nirvana (enlightenment ) and divine grace, and today draws spiritual seekers , aspirants of a new bewildered generation seeking tranquility, mental peace and answers to questions that people had long forgotten to ask.
About Spiritual Experience in Himalaya
The culture and mysticism that we have now is the tradition from the dynastic rule of Kiratis, Lichivis, Mallas, Shah and Rana. The history goes back to the advent of Indus civilization. The Hindu mythology is full of events that are part of what Nepal is today. Of course Muslim invasion of India and Mongols thrust to the south of Mongolia and China has made major impact.
Religion based on animist trait has its own festival dedicated to nature. Lord Shiva is manifested in different form to different religious adherent. But all consider him as benevolent and fearsome God. For Kirantis, the original inhabitants of Nepal, Shiva and his concert Parvati are considered as their ancestor. There are many festivals dedicated to Shiva as a Hindu God. The Impact of Buddhism and later Brahmanism can be seen in many of the festivals held and social practice that has become culture in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal. Moreover the cult like impact of tantric power has also left deep impression in the lives of people in the valley as well as far flung villages. Weather we talk about the power of Milarappa or the power of Jhakris to ward off hail storm, in true sense it is ‘tantric power’ we are talking about; it can also be called cosmic power which is beyond the comprehension of human being. Much talked about the stories of the sage Padman Sambhaba who propogated Buddhism in remote parts of the Himalayan region is very much related to spiritualism. Spiritualism and tantric power are used interchangeably. So, none of the today main stream religions like Hindu and Buddhist in this part of Himalaya can be detached from this cosmic power. It has been said India witnessed great tantric period between 7th and 13th centuries. But many believed Nepal experienced much earlier than the ved (Hindu scripture) was written.
The shamans known as ‘Jhankris’ in Nepali that you see to-day, the witchcraft and black magic that we hear and see wherever there is presence of Jhakris, the mantras (scared speech) that are recited in the temple, gompas, scared places, and power centers scattered at many places in Nepal are all the manifestation of spiritualism. Vajrayana Buddhism that practice spiritual teaching in combination with the teaching of Buddha is one of the clear examples of present religious culture here in Nepal. Even for laymen, like us, the experiences of all such events are memorable and fascinating. So, in the Himalayas the people, festivals, religions, temples, shrines, gompas are all prominent subjects for visitors of all interest.
UNESCO has designated 7 World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley; they are scattered within a short distance. These sacred temples and palaces are the subject of tourist attraction as well as it offer delightful subject for all visitors. People have been living in these heritage sites for centuries. As much as the temples and palaces it is a great place to discover people in their daily life. Even in this fast changing world the thoughts of people in these historical places has remained unchanged.
In this specially organized tour you will be seeing many of the same subjects seen by general visitors but in different light as you meet, interact and expose yourself to the culture we hope to show you in between the lines. Only the physical experience you obtain and sites you captured in your mind could express the meaning of what people would usually do not encounter in their normal visit. Many people say the valley is a “Living Museum,” specially the cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The other prominent place outskirts of the Kathmandu are Bungamati, Khokana and Suryabinayak. People of Bugamati have continued their tradition of holding Rato Machendranath jatras (festival) every year.
In fact for people who believe in mysticism these three cities has ample evidence of spiritual power. There are many people even in Kathmandu valley who practice their healing power with spirit incognito. While talking about Jhakris (Shamans) like anywhere in the world they are basically considered as faith healers; and they are faith healers to general public. As healer they also practice traditional medicine. You may call it Tibetan medicine or In India they call it ayurvedic medicine. The source of their medicine is natural plants process in natural way rather than using mechanical process. Tourist journal like to define traditional medicine as “Magico-religious specialist” - part herbal, part priest. Their technique is spiritual rather than biological, relying on the belief that ghosts and spirit are the cause of illness. Their business is to determine the nature of the spirit, and then either to placate it or drive it from the ill person’s body. “Of course this is rough definition of the role of Shamans. Actually their role is much more complex than it is thus described. In the ethnic culture in Kiranti or non kiranti people they perform rites at the time of birth, marriage, as well as at death. Without their puja (prayer) ceremony life and birth of human being is incomplete. He is the only person who can deliver the dead to the other world - like the native American would say ‘grazing ground of ancestors.’ Worship of ancestors and nature are the basic of the animistic religion that practice spiritual world using tantric technique.
The tour described in the following itinerary have been put together to encompass the heritage that are at the cross road of change. Western influence and development have changed the life style of traditional culture quite dramatically and significantly. These cultural heritages are all at the verge of vanishing stage as we move on in the technological age. The schedule of this progamme is prepared so as to provide maximum exposure and unique experience for the members of the tour group.
Things to Engage in
lThe word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ meaning ‘union’ or to join. Yoga is a spiritual science that has been practiced and developed by the rishis and sages of India over thousands of years. Yoga implies harmoniously integrating and body, mind and soul to attain a balanced life and spiritually uniting the individual with the supreme. Yoga is a symphony of life.
The various assortments of asanas or postures, works with the body on a structural level providing enhanced physical strength, endurance and the resistance to diseases. At the mental level, it strengthens concentration and resilience raising the consciousness to a level where one can perceive the spiritual dimension. Yoga aims to attain the state of “Kaivalya” (emancipation or ultimate freedom) by means of its eight paths which in sequential order consists of Yama (self-restraint), Niyama (self-observance), Asana (body posture), Pranayama (breathing control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the sence), Dharana (concentration of mind), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (self-realization, super consciousness). Yoga is therefore a spiritual quest whereby the aspirant attains health, happiness, mental peace and knowledge.
Nepal offers a number of place in the capital city, Kathmandu and elsewhere to practice Yoga and meditation. Among the prominent Yogic schools where Yogic Asana (postures), Pranayam (control of breathing) and Dhyan (Meditation) are taught and practiced are the Yog Ashrams or Peeths as they are called. Yoga is immensely popular and practiced in Nepal.
The moment a child is born in Nepal, the exact time of birth is noted and given to the astrologer, who according to the position of the different planets in the solar system at that precise moment prepares a Cheena (horoscope). Astrologers are consulted on various occasions like rice feeding, sacred thread and weddings. Almost all religious festivals in Nepal are governed by astrological readings. Tika during Dashain, Bhai Tika during Tihar, etc are occasions when the astrologers determine the auspicious hours for these festivities to take place. They also forecast the solar and lunar eclipses and their impact on people.
Where to Go
Satsang( Group discourse in righteous company)
The Sacred Garden of Lumbini where Siddhartha Gautam was born offers a placid environ for meditation and spiritual quest. Spiritual discourses on Buddhism are offered at the monasteries here everyday. It is ideal setting for meditation and spiritual enlightenment. Countries with significant Buddhist populations have constructed monasteries and stupas in their native design reflecting their art and culture, and they offer space and tranquil environment for meditation and spiritual quest.
Singing bowls: My number one recommendation is buy yourself a Nepalese Singing Bowl. Even though their origin are Tibetan when I was in Tibet they singing bowls all came from Nepal! These heavy metal bowls can be rubbed along their edge with a small wooden stick to produce a harmonious tone. Said to be healing in quality it’s got a nice tone to it!
Prayer wheels: If you’ve been trekking in Nepal or visited a monastery or two you might have noticed monks spinning prayer wheels around. They are available in most markets and are lighter than they look. Inside each is a small scroll with a prayer written out in Nepalese script.
Cashmere or Pashmina: Pashmina is meant to be the soft underside of a goat while Cashmere is obtained from elsewhere (there’s some debate about this). Either way Kathmandu is filled with vendors selling blankets, scarves, shawls and clothing made of cashmere. And, they all have fancy names from water cashmere to cool cashmere. Do note that most of the fancier named products generally have nylon or a cheaper material woven into them. Here is where you need to be aware of fakes.
Incense Holders: These long metal tubes with carvings and small gemstones are food in most markets. They look great and are used for storing incense.
Thankas: People come to Nepal just for Thankas! These are original Nepalese paintings made from embroidery. Often using precious metals like silver or gold thread Thankas are not cheap! But they are well worth an investment so if you buy one make sure it’s got a certification number showing where it was made and by whom.
Silver & Jewelry: Again people come to Nepal just to buy the silver jewelery here. It’s got a reputation for being over 92% sterling and purchasable at a great price. There are many silversmiths in Kathmandu and my advice is to come knowing what you are talking about!
Nepalese carvings & handicrafts: Wood carvings in Nepal are plentiful. From little Hindu gods to life-sized face masks. Again it’s worth knowing a little about wood carving before randomly buying something you think might be quite old. It’s illegal to export antique artifacts from Nepal though plenty of vendors will make their goods look quite old with a dash of boot polish, weathering and an odd bit of burning!
Handmade clothing: It’s usually bright, colorful and hard-wearing. Do test the color fastness before putting into a washing machine though! Soaking it in cold water and salt helps to retain the color fastness.
Khukuri knives: Traditional long knives used by Nepalese Gurkhas. Many found in Kathmandu today are specifically made for the tourist market but that doesn’t make them any less of a great keepsake. Just make sure not to pack them into your carryon luggage!!
Duration : 10 Days
Group Size : 3-5 pax
After your arrival in Kathmandu we take you places in Kathmandu valley that are related to Gautam Buddha and his teaching. There are many temples and stupas dedicated to Buddha in Patan. You will visit Swambhunath and Boudhnath. And then travel to Lumbini, birth place of Gautam Buddha. After paying homage and prayer to Lord Gautam Buddha at the sanctum we visit the restored garden and surrounding areas that has many ancient monuments, monasteries and stupas and the archeological site at Kapilvastu where Gautam Buddha spent his early years of childhood. Archaeologist has discovered that the foundation of the palace scattered in the area has 13 successive layers of human habitation dating back to 8th century BC.
On the 5th day we cross Nepal border and enter into India. Drive to Gorakhpur and arrive at Kushinagar. En-route we visit Vaishali. Kushinagar is the last resting place of Lord Buddha located near the Hiranyavati River. He was cremated at the Ramabhar stupa. Kushinagar used to be a celebrated center during the Malla kingdom. It has many stupas and viharas date back to 230 BC-AD 413 built during its peak prosperity time. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka who later converted to Buddhist teaching built a magnificent statue of Buddha carved on a single piece of red sandstone. The famous Chinese scholars Fa Hien, Huen Tsang, and I-tsing visited Kushinagar in their journey. Vaishali is the last place where Buddha preached his last sermon. In the last leg of the tour we travel to Bodhgaya. Sidhartha Gautam attained his knowledge of Nirvana - eternal peace at Bodhgaya.
Vaishali is a very special place to Buddhists as the Lord delivered his last sermon and announced his impending "Nirvana". We stay at Bodhgaya for two nights to visit Rajgir, Nalanda, Sapta pari cave and Venevamas. During your stay at Bodhgaya you will come across many Buddhist sites. We visit Rajgir where Buddha spent 12 years. Buddha held his first council at Nalanda after he attained Nirvana. Nalanda founded in the 5th century was known as center of intellectualism at that time. At the end of the tour we fly to Delhi; stay overnight and fly home next day.
Duration : 9 Days
Group Size : Min 5 pax
This tour includes three full days in the city center of Kathmandu valley that provides insight into the rich cultural heritage of Nepal that includes Nepalese culture, life style and art and architecture dates back to centuries. Beside the regular sightseeing tours of temples and Gods the tours allow you to understand and feel more about the culture of Nepal. It is indeed true this is the very reason why the valley is in the heritage list of UNESCO. Many people find Kathmandu valley as an open museum. Beside the regular places we take you to Kritipur, Bungamati and Khokana. These places where culture is very much traditional are less frequently visited by tourists.
Pokhara is next popular tourist destination after Kathmandu. The serene lakes and the close up view of the majestic Himalayan peaks are simply wonderful. The Pokhara valley lies in the Nepal Midland. In the south is Mahabharat-Lekh and to the north is high Himalayan range. It covers an area about 125 square kilometers. It lies equidistant (170 km) between the Tibet to the north and India in the south. Pokhara derived its name from the word "pokhari" meaning lake and is dominated by Machapuchere Himal (6997m) - the "Fishtail" shaped peak and the giant Annapurna Range. We stay overnight in Pokhara before the trek.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu we take you to see cultural heritages of Kathmandu valley listed by UNESCO in its World heritage list. Durbar squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, Stupas of Swambhunath and Boudhanath, and the Hindu temple of Pasupatinath and Changu Narayan are all located within Kathmandu valley in the city centers except Changu Narayan. You will find Kathmandu an open museum. Most of the buildings are made of wood engraved with meticulous design with metal doors and roofs. These monuments are center to many festivals that happens here throughout the year. It is best to visit during festival time. After the tour of Kathmandu you would be thrilled to find rich culture, life style and art and architecture that date back to centuries still thriving. After going through many temples, images of Gods, and architecture that are part of the heritage we take you to Nagarkot (2195 m) to see sunrise view over the Himalayan range including Mt. Everest. We enjoy the mountain and its cool, fresh air. Nagarkot is situated on north eastern rim high above the valley. Our next destination is Pokhara. It is famous for its serene lakes and close up view of the Annapurna and Machhapuchare himal. We spend two nights in and around Pokhara taking easy walk on the ridge near Phewa lakes and boat ride from the foot of Sarankot to your hotel. You get to see mountain villages, meet villagers and get close up view of Machapuchare peak and whole range of Annapurna Himal. We fly back to Kathmandu, stay overnight before flying home.
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established on 1 Oct 1990 (NEPAL)