Sacred Sojourn

Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

Blessed with the densest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Kathmandu Valley is a treasure trove of religious, cultural, and architectural heritage.  It’s pagoda roofed temples, squares choking with sculptures, sites that are holy to both Hindus and Buddhists, and countless festivals evoke Rudyard Kipling’s famous line, ‘The strangest dreams of Kew are the facts of Kathmandu.’ Walk into the Kumari Temple in Kathmandu, and the dream of seeing a living goddess comes true.

     

    Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu

    Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to hotel

    Day 02 Visits to Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath

    Breakfast at hotel. Full day sight-seeing of Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath.
     
    Kathmandu City
    Three dynasties, a century-long oligarchy, and hordes of hippies have at one time or another occupied the center of old Kathmandu, the Basantapur Durbar Square. Kumari, the living goddess, lives here. In this one square are the wonders, eccentricities, and diversity of Nepali temples. Enter the Hanuman Dhoka Palace and go back in time. Inside are the residential quarters of the kings of the Malla Dynasty (1200–1769 A.D.) and the square where Nepal’s kings were crowned, and temples whose interiors have never been seen by anyone except the priests. 
     
    Swayambhunath
    The stone stairs leading up to the Swayambhunath stupa are dauntingly steep. The all-seeing eyes on the stupa beckon you. Huffing and puffing you clamber to the top, where a breeze cools your sweat-drenched body. Swayambhu, or the Self-Born, is the oldest religious structure in Kathmandu. It is also one of the best places to view the Kathmandu Valley from. Om Mani Padme Hum, the unofficial soundtrack of Swayambhu, drifts to your ears, and for a few blissful moments your world is composed entirely of prayer wheels, butter lamps, monkeys, mutts, and Buddha sculptures. Kathmandu feels like another world.
                   
    Pashupatinath
    Pashupatinath, which is named after Lord Shiva’s form as ‘Master of the Beasts,’ is one of the holiest sites in the world for Hindus. The main temple that houses a black Shiva linga sits surrounded by temples and shrines. Just outside the temple’s walls life encapsulated in scenes: animals being sacrificed; bodies being cremated; sadhus posing for photos and demanding money in return; wailing and singing. A little further and above these is the deer park, where blackbucks and chital saunter. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva once frolicked here in the form of a stag. The Vishwarupa Temple houses Shiva in his supreme and all-encompassing form, an image so powerful that a cloth is wrapped around it to prevent exposure.
     
    Boudhanath
    Boudhanath is a novel experience, one where the Buddha’s all-seeing eyes gaze at restaurants and curio shops, as devotees go around the stupa. Buddhism finds itself in the middle of consumerism here. But it is not limited by its location. On the contrary it transcends boundaries: backpackers in T-shirts walking abreast with grey-haired Tibetan women, doing the kora around Asia’s largest stupa. Streets lead off in every direction from the stupa, like canals designed to carry the spiritual energy generated here by the countless prayer wheels and the ceaseless humming of Om Mani Padme Hum.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 03 Visit to Bhaktapur and Patan

    Breakfast at hotel. Full day sight-seeing of Bhaktapur and Patan.
     
    Bhaktapur
    Bhaktapur, which means ‘City of Devotees,’ is devoted to living up to its name. The city’s foundations were laid out in the 11th century, during the reign of King Ananda Malla. By the 18th century, it had turned into a mosaic of 172 temples and monasteries. Bhaktapur’s charm is that several of those structures remain today. Notable among those historical gems is the towering Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Tole. Walk west from there and you will arrive in the great outdoor museum-like Bhaktapur Durbar Square, where the masterful Palace of 55 Windows and the Golden Gate will have you spellbound.
     
    Patan 
    Merger is the theme in Patan. Chaityas are fused with Shiva-Lingam, a medieval palace serves as a museum, livings are made by fashioning gods, festivals are held in the same courtyards where at other times children play football. In the Patan Durbar Square you will find the equivalent of mall rats, whiling away time in this timeless location. Enter the Golden Temple to watch a boy of six or seven, clad in an old dress, perform the daily rituals. Above all, don’t miss the opportunity to enter the low, anonymous doorways. Losing your way is often a means to finding something in Patan.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 04 Fly by Buddha Air to Bhairahawa

    Fly to Bhairahawa and drive to hotel in Lumbini. Full day sight-seeing in Lumbini.
     
    Lumbini
    To visit Lumbini is to go to the root of Buddhism. It was here in 563 BC that Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who would later go on to attain enlightenment and become the Buddha, was born. Lumbini has always been a destination that drew pilgrims. Perhaps the most famous of these was Emperor Ashoka, who made the pilgrimage to Lumbini in 249 BC, erecting a sandstone pillar that remains to this day. Pilgrims from far-flung foreign lands continued to come to Lumbini long after the region ceased to exist as a Buddhist stronghold. The two most famous pilgrims were Fa Hsien and Hsuan Tang, who visited Lumbini, traveling over land from China, in 403 A.D. and 600 A.D. respectively. Another king, Ripu Malla, made a pilgrimage to Lumbini in 1312. Countless pilgrims have been to the hallowed grounds at Lumbini since a prince decided to leave his royal home and become a seeker. Not everyone, however, came to pay their respects: marauding Mughal forces destroyed Lumbini toward the end of the 14th century. It marked the beginning of an era during which Lumbini was slowly deserted. It disappeared from maps and memory. It was only in 1896 that the Ashokan pillar was rediscovered by an excavation led by Khadga Shumsher Rana, the then governor of Palpa.
     
    Following the design of the Lumbini Development Zone by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1978, a building spree of sorts started in Lumbini. The 4 km by 2.5 km park, at the center of which is the revered Maya Devi Temple, is an enchanting blend of ancient temples and archaeological ruins and monasteries built by various countries in their traditional designs.       
     
    Ashokan Pillar
    The Ashokan Pillar is a monument of piety and humility. Erected by Ashoka, the great Mauryan emperor, this 6-meter high pillar made of pink sandstone signifies the conquest of reason and compassion – tenets of Buddhism – over an emperor. The pillar contains inscriptions in Pali. Like Lumbini itself, the pillar was lost for centuries when the town dwindled into oblivion. It was rediscovered in 1896 by Khadga Shumsher Rana. It now stands next to the Maya Devi Temple, its original place.  
     
    Maya Devi Temple  
    Regarded and revered as the site of the birth of Lord Buddha, this temple is a site where history and religion meet. It is perhaps the thing most pilgrims have gone and continue to go to get a glimpse of. A major breakthrough in the rediscovery and verification of the Maya Devi Temple was made in 1992, when several ruins were excavated. Of the things uncovered was a commemorative stone resting on a brick plinth dating back 2200 years. The inscriptions on the stone matched the descriptions of a similar tablet laid down by Emperor Asoka during his visit in the 3rd century BC. Walking on a raised boardwalk, you arrive at the central piece of the temple: a stone carving of the Buddha’s birth. It is an object that marks not just the site of the Buddha’s birth but the beginning of a new spiritual era in the Indian Subcontinent, and, ultimately, in the world. The stone is believed to have been placed there by Ripu Malla in the 14th century. Although faded almost to the point of disappearance, the image of Maya Devi clutching a branch as she gives birth to the Buddha is still a beacon of the Buddhist faith, a jewel in this place where religion and history themselves become indistinguishable.      
     
    Pushkarni Pond 
    The pond, which lies beside the Maya Devi Temple, is the same one where Buddha’s mother bathed before giving birth to him. Like silent witnesses to the agelessness and sanctity of this scared pond, the area nearby is covered with the foundations of brick stupas and monasteries, the oldest belonging to the 2nd century BC and the latest to the 9th century AD.  
     
    World Peace Pagoda 
    The white edifice of the World Peace Pagoda, which is located outside the main compound of Lumbini, stands out from its green surroundings like a lotus. Constructed by Japanese Buddhists to serve as a beacon for global peace, the stupa contains a golden statue of the Buddha in a posture he is said to have assumed after being born.
     
    Lumbini Crane Sanctuary
    The wetlands in the vicinity of the World Peace Pagoda are a visual aberration from the religious monuments of Lumbini. This soggy expanse is protected as a crane sanctuary. Like pilgrims of yore, migrant bird species like Sarus crane roam here, delighting pilgrims and the ornithologists alike.
     
    New Monasteries
    The foundation of the Lumbini Development Zone in 1978 kick-started a unique building spree, with the major Buddhist countries in the world building monasteries in the landscape set aside as a monastic zone. The zone has turned into a garden embellished with monasteries built in the Tibetan, pagoda and classical Greek styles, to name a few. There are monasteries built by the Japanese Buddhists, people from Manang, the Chinese and Vietnamese, the governments of Mongolia and Bhutan, the Austrian Geden International Foundation, the German Tara Foundation, Japanese Sokyo Foundation, and the French World Linh Son Buddhists.

    Day 05 Fly back to Kathmandu

    Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Bhairahawa airport, and fly on Buddha Air to Kathmandu. 

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    The best time to visit?

    February to March and then from September to December are the best times to visit.
     

    Attire

    Kathmandu is hot from March to May. September is cool with chances of rain, so carrying umbrellas is wise. Avoid dresses that reveal too much of your body. October onwards, warm clothes are needed for Lumbini’s chilly mornings and evenings.
     

    Visa

    The minimum duration of a tourist visa to Nepal is fifteen days and costs $30.
     

    What to do when inside temples and monasteries?

    When inside or near temples and monasteries do not act in any way – excessive photography, talking loudly, wearing shoes into prayer rooms – that impinges on the activities of the priests or devotees.
     

    Necessary Items

    Sunscreen, insect repellent, hats and sunglasses, binoculars, Swiss army knife, book on Nepal’s birds (for Lumbini Crane Sanctuary).

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

    Package Includes

    • Transport, pick-up, and drop
    • Sight-seeing
    • Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu (Hotel with B&B Basis)
    • Lumbini (Hotel with B & B Basis)
    • Return Air Tickets (KTM-Bhairahwa-KTM)
    • All activities in Kathmandu and Lumbini
    • Entrance fee for: Kathmandu, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Bhaktapur, Patan, and sites in Lumbini

    Package Excludes

    • Visa fee at the International Airport
    • Laundry
    • Personal expenses
    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

    Adult (12yrs+) Child (02-11yrs) Infant (below 2yrs)**

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    ** Infant tickets will be issued at the check-in counter before your flight at 10% of adult fare rate

    Download PDF Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)