Enjoy the slideshow of the previous pilgrimage
Photos courtesy of Kathy Laritz
The 2024 Annual Jewel Heart Trip offers travelers the opportunity to join a pilgrimage visiting Buddha Shakyamuni’s birthplace in Lumbini and Kathmandu, Nepal.
Our journey begins in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Kathmandu Valley is surrounded by green mountains above which tower mighty snowcapped peaks. It consists of three main cities of great historical and cultural interest: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The Valley covers 218 square miles and is situated 1340 meters above sea level. The Valley may have been inhabited as early as 900 BC. According to some legends Buddha and his disciples may have spent time in the area around Patan.
Some of the main sights we will visit during the pilgrimage:
Swayambhunath. This location is one of the most famous and historical areas of the Kathmandu Valley. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also one of the oldest and most glorious Buddhist shrines in the world. It is said to be two thousand years old. It is also known as the “Monkey Temple” because there are many wild monkeys in the area. Legend states the Kathmandu Valley was once covered by a lake. A beautiful lotus floated on it. Manjushri had a vision of the lotus and traveled there to see it. He cut a gorge through the surrounding mountains and drained the lake. The lotus transformed into a hill and its flower became Swayambhunath Stupa.
Namobuddha Stupa, located on a hill above Panauti, is the place where Buddha in one of his previous lives as a prince, offered his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. There is a cave with statues of the prince, the tigress, and cubs on this site. Namo Buddha, also known by Tibetans as “Takmo Lu Jin,” literally means “tigress”.
Boudhanath Stupa, thought to have been built circa 600 AD, is the largest stupa in Nepal. It is also one of the largest stupas in the world and the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. This dome-shaped monument represents the Mind of the Buddha. There are 147 niches around the outer wall each containing prayer wheels; 108 Buddha forms are carved into the monument’s base. It is said to contain relics of the Buddha. Boudhanath has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hiranya Varna Mahavihar aka “Golden Temple,” located north of Durbar Square in Patan. Legend states the temple was built in the 12th century AD.
Mahabodhi Stupa aka “Temple of the Thousand Buddhas” is a copy of the Maha Bodhi temple in Bodhgaya. It is said to have been built in the 16th century AD by Indian pilgrim Jivaraja. The shikhara is covered with terracotta reliefs of Buddha.
Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace. It was said that Maya Devi was spellbound by the natural grandeur of Lumbini. While she was standing, she felt labor pains and catching hold of a drooping branch of a Sal tree, the future Buddha was born circa 623 BC. The most visible landmark in the Lumbini Garden is the Lumbini Pillar erected by King Ashoka. The Pillar’s inscriptions confirm the site as the Buddha’s birthplace. The Maya Devi Temple was built to commemorate this auspicious event. The temple houses the “Sanctum Sanctorum” i.e. the stone slab marking the exact spot where Buddha was born.
The group will also visit Manjushri’s Throne, the Nepal National Museum, monastic communities of nuns and monks, KTM & Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Pharping where both the Vajra Yogini Temple and Guru Rinpoche Cave are located.
The trip will only happen if at least 8 participants sign up, if not we will cancel by Feb 29th, 2024.
This is a great opportunity to join us on a once in a lifetime trip. Please check the detailed itinerary schedule, registration, and tour deposit form. The package fee also includes a $1000/per person donation to Jewel Heart and is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. The trip will conclude at Kathmandu.
Participants will need to purchase their own health and trip cancellation insurances and will be asked to sign a waiver. For further details and questions, please contact Ujjen Tsewang at [email protected] or 734 994 3385 or 734 845 7686.