AND NAMO BUDDHA SEMINAR
(updated October 2009)
THE KATHMANDU VALLEY
Valley is a major place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Around
the city of Kathmandu are ancient Buddhist stupas such as the
Great Boudhanath Stupa. The area surrounding the stupa which
is known as “Boudha” has over sixty Tibetan Buddhist
monasteries. There are many teachers and high lamas, either
living in Boudha or visiting.
Due to this, many students of Buddhism from all over the world
come to stay in here to receive teachings. Some monasteries
provide situations for study in Higher Buddhist Philosophy.
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s main monastery known as Thrangu
Tashi Choling is located in Boudha close to the Boudha Stupa.
In the hills nearby Boudha, Phullahari Monastery, the seat of
HE Jamgon Kongrul Rinpoche is located.
In the area of Swayambunath, is the Swayambunath Stupa also
known as “The Monkey Temple”. Located on top of
a hill, the whole hill itself is considered to be a self arisen
stupa. According to legend, Lord Manjushri cut into the lake
that was once the Kathmandu Valley and as the water was set
free the hill rose up simultaneously. Thrangu Tara Abbey, Thrangu
Rinpoche’s nunnery for Buddhist nuns is in Swayambu. There
are many monasteries in the Swayambu area including Benchen
Monastery, the home of Tenga Rinpoche and Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.
Among the many places of pilgrimage is Namo Buddha, one of the
most important, where, in a previous life as a prince, the Buddha
gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. At Namo Buddha,
Thrangu Rinpoche has a temple, school for young monks and other
Other pilgrimage sites include Pharping, a Guru Rinpoche place,
many places where Milarepa and other yogis stayed and many Vajrayogini
and Chakrasamvara places.
There is no longer
civil war with the Maoists. It has been always been quite safe
in the Kathmandu Valley and many other places. Many people have
gone trekking with no problems. If there are any changes
in the situation that make travel unsafe, they will be announced.
TO GET THERE
fly into Kathmandu directly from Europe such as Austrian Air
and from Europe and the USA through the Middle East, such as
Etihad, Gulf Air, Quatar Air (then directly to Kathmandu- daily).
Thai Airways flies into Kathmandu from Bangkok daily. Many airlines
fly into Bangkok from Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
There’s a direct flight to Bangkok from New York and also
from Los Angeles. From South America many people go through
South Africa or to Delhi via London (British Airways is one
airline). There are many flights daily between Kathmandu and
Delhi. Many airlines fly directly to Delhi from London, New
York, and many points in Europe. From Canada, Singapore Air
flies from Vancouver to Singapore/Bangkok and Cathay Pacific
to Hong Kong and Bangkok.
When reaching the Kathmandu airport, there’s a pre-paid
taxi service outside the “Arrivals” and also many
taxis. You should not pay more than 350 rupees to go
anywhere in Kathmandu or Boudha from the airport although due
to the fuel shortage the airport taxi may be more expensive
THRANGU TASHI CHOLING MONASTERY
Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery is located
very close to the Boudhanath Stupa. There is a map of the monasteries
on a wall located on the other side of the Stupa from the main
entrance into the stupa. There is a walking lane leading to
the monastery from where the sign is located. The monastery
is less than ½ block from there.
On arrival, there’s
a bank in the airport where you can exchange money into Nepalese
Rupees. The rupee is now approx. 72 rupees to the US dollar,
102 rupees to the Euro and 116 to the English pound and 74 rupees
to the Canadian dollar. That will have changed somewhat by March
There are ATM machines everywhere where you can use your bank
debit card or credit card. In Boudha, there’s an ATM machine
near the stupa on the main road. Traveller’s checks are
a hassle these days. It’s better to have some cash to
have on hand and us the ATMs. All convertible currencies can
be exchanged at the bank or money exchanges.
Entry visa can
be obtained upon arrival at the airport. The cost is $30-one
month visa or $100 for a three month visa. One can get additional
months up five months at the immigration office. A 15 day transit
visa is available You can also get a visa from a Nepalese Embassy
or Consulate in your country. This seems like a lot of trouble
considering you can get it at the airport. To get the visa at
the airport, you need one passport size photo. There is an instant
photo place at the airport if you don’t have one. The
visa regulations change from time to time but at the airport
there is not much variation.
Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery’s hotel. The hotel is
four years old with 25 nicely furnished rooms and one suite
with attached bathrooms and phones and wi-fi. Seven of the rooms
have attached kitchenettes. There’s a meditation room,
dining room/kitchen, roof top garden and private compound with
Rates (includes breakfast): Single 620 ($9) / Double 840 ($12)
Phone: (00977-1-)447-6206 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Managers: Gene Kudirka and Nyima Dorje
Located near Thrangu Monastery. It has attached
Rates: Single 500 ($7)/double 600 ($8.50)
Phone: (00977-1-) 447-2800
The guesthouse of Sechen Monastery. Located about 3 blocks from
the stupa and Thrangu Monastery. Has good rooms with bathrooms
and a restaurant. Private compound with garden. However it’s
usually booked solid.
Rates (including breakfast): Single 680 ($10)/ Double 925 ($13)
Phone: (00977-1-) 447-9009 E-mail: email@example.com
The guesthouse of Dabzang
Monastery. About 3 blocks from the stupa. Simple but clean rooms.
Located in private compound with garden.
Rates: Single 250 without attached bathroom/ 350 with attached
Double: 390 / Special room: 690
Manager: Mr. Wang. For reservations he can be reached by phone
(977 1 4472432 or 4472320) between 8:30 - 9:30 AM Nepal time.
are many other guesthouses in Boudha.
A beautiful luxury hotel in Boudha in a huge compound
with a view of the stupa, restaurants, health club, swimming
pool. Rates depend on who you book with. Rates are better if
booking through a travel agent.
There are restaurants
of almost every type in Kathmandu. . Next door to Thrangu Monastery
is The Garden Café (clean and good food). In Boudha,
around the stupa, there’s the Sakura Japanese Restaurant,
The Stupa View (vegetarian), the Little British Café,
My Three Sisters and The Saturday Café. Attached to Rabsel
Guesthouse (Sechen Monastery) is a restaurant that has very
good vegetarian food. And of course, there’s the Hyatt
which has lovely restaurants with western prices. There are
others but these are the ones I can recommend.
It depends on the season.
Mid-November to end of February is the cold season where one
would need warms clothing, warm jackets and long underwear (especially
as many places are not heated). March to May is generally warm
to hot but there can be rainy weather. End of May or mid June
to end of September (generally) is rainy season but it’s
mostly warm to hot. October is warm and it starts to cool down
around end of October. Hiking boots and gear are unnecessary
unless you plan to go trekking. There’s no snow in the
There are many pilgrimage
places and other places of interest in the Kathmandu Valley
Outside the valley, are many places in the mountains for trekking.
The northern areas have many monasteries as the people are primarily
Buddhist. In the south are jungles, protected wild life parks,
rivers for rafting. There are many travel agents and trekking
agencies in Kathmandu.
Regarding travel to India: Many airlines fly
to Delhi daily. Indian Airlines flies to Calcutta and Varanasi
several times a week. Bangkok, Thailand is a 3 hour flight from
There are communications
shops everywhere that have fast e-mail, fax and international
Kathmandu has quite good
medical facilities. There are several international clinics
including CWIC Clinic with western doctors and facilities for
lab tests and vaccines immunization. But there’s also
many good labs and cheaper clinics for these facilities.
What is exceptional in Kathmandu is the number of good doctors
in alternative health care such as Homeopathy, Aryuveda, Tibetan
Medicine, Chinese Medicine etc. In Boudha there is Sechen Medical
Clinic which is run by Sechen Monastery and has many facilities
including dentists, lab tests, a very good Homeopathic doctor,
Tibetan doctor and doctors of western medicine. There’s
an excellent eye hospital near Boudha. Kathmandu is also a good
place to buy reading glasses. Bring your prescription, in case.
Make sure that you are immunized against Hepatitus A and Tetanus
shots are up to date.
Malaria prophylactic is not recommended as it has many side
effects. There is no malaria in Kathmandu.
All hotels and guesthouses
have an inexpensive laundry service.
TO BRING & WHAT TO BUY HERE
small flashlight for power outages and walking at night
and vitamins that you take regularly. Nutrobiotic (grapefruit
seed extract) tablets or liquid are good to prevent and cure
wipes or liquid hand cleaner (Purell). You can also buy these
can buy almost everything in Kathmandu. There’s supermarkets,
pharmacies, stationary stores, good places to buy eye glasses,
watches, cameras etc. Dharma goods and handicrafts are everywhere,
statues, thankas, brocade, bells & dorjes, drums and all
ritual objects used in Tibetan Buddhism.
Seminar Coordinator: Gloria Jones: Send
Email - Tel: 00977-1-214-0440
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