Besides various mesmerizing temples, Buddhist monasteries are also a distinctive and unique landmark across Nepal. Being architecturally marvelous, and offering some spectacular views over cities and villages; visitors have also started to gain interest in these monasteries. Along with visitors, many devout followers visit these monasteries daily for religious purposes, prayers, food and community.
Here is a list of monasteries you should visit when on your next stay in Nepal.
1. Kopan Monastery
Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site, it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world which is located on a hilltop near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu and is home to over 300 monks. The monastery offers meditation retreats and courses for foreigners to learn and practice the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism.
Along with this, visitors can also attend a daily Dharma talk at 10:30 am, every day from Monday to Friday and are often encouraged to stay for lunch at the Kopan Café. The monastery also offers some spectacular and panoramic view of the town and the Himalayan mountain range.
2. Bouddhanath Monastery
Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site, the monastery is Nepal’s largest monastery located at the east of Kathmandu and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world. The whole atmosphere of the place is filled with the fragrance of incense sticks.
Thousands of Tibetans come to this famous monastery during the Tibetan New Year as the most popular Lhosar festival is celebrated here every February.
3. Lumbini Monastery
Famous as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, this monastery is one of the most popular holiest pilgrimage place and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monasteries and shrines are built by different countries in different times which reflect the architectural traditions of the respective places and giving a message of universal brotherhood and friendship.
4. Shechen Monastery
The monastery is considered as one of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Located in Boudha Nath, this monastery offers some exciting and fascinating architecture and is home to more than 300 monks.
The monastery also conducts classes on music, paintings, Tibetan-Buddhist dances and philosophy. It also has an elementary school that offers education to children aged between five and fourteen years.
5. Seto Gumba
Famous as “White Monastery”, it is one of the popular monasteries in Nepal. Situated on the northwestern hill near Swayambhu Nath Stupa, this place is visited for both religious and recreational purposes. The walls of the monastery are adorned with paintings, Tibetan murals and statues depicting Buddhist teachings, all in vibrant colors.
You can also witness the landscape of beautiful Kathmandu Valley. This is also one of the best spots to watch the sunrise and sunset in Kathmandu.
6. Namo Buddha Monastery
Surrounded by waving Tibetan prayer flags, Namo Buddha monastery is one of the most important pilgrim sites in the valley, particularly for Tibetan Buddhists. Situated around 40 kms southeast of Kathmandu, the monastery is very relaxing and comfortable. It is considered as a place where the future Buddha sacrificed his body to a tigress.
You can also witness some amazing views of central mountains like Jugal, Ganesh and Langtang Lirung from here.
7. Swayambhunath Monastery
Regarded as one of the oldest Monastery in the world, this monastery is a traditional Buddhist shrine that is situated at the hilltop of Kathmandu valley. The monastery is complete with Buddha eyes looking out across the valley, it is considered as an iconic symbol. This place offers an opportunity to visitors to study about the religious harmony.
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