Namo Buddha Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located just a couple of hours from the capital city of Kathmandu. It’s a great day hike from Dhulikhel and is worth visiting if you’re interested in learning about Buddhism. You can stay at the monastery guest house and eat with the monks and attend their chanting sessions in the morning. The monastery itself is massive and fairly modern on the outside, but features traditional brightly painted artwork on the inside. If you need a break from the city, this is a great overnight or day trip.
Brief History of Namo Buddha
The history behind the Namo Buddha Monastery is an interesting one. The story is a bit long, so I’m just going to share the highlights. In ancient times, there was a king who had three sons. The two oldest sons were known for their skills in the martial arts, and they helped the king govern the kingdom. The youngest was different, for he was very compassionate. His name was Great Being. One day, the three sons went into the forest to hunt and have fun. They spotted a tiger’s den and approached it with caution. The two eldest prepared their bows and arrows, but inside they found a weak mother tiger and her cubs. She was so weak that she couldn’t even lift her head.
The youngest felt compassion for the tiger and asked his older brothers not to kill her because he believed killing things was wrong. But, he was left with a bit of a conundrum. If he wanted to help the tiger, he would have to kill another living being to feed it because the tiger was too weak to hunt for herself. If he didn’t get the tiger food, it would surely die. They all began to walk back to the village, but the youngest prince turned around and returned to the den. He cut his wrist to give the tiger his own blood. After drinking his blood, the tiger pounced and consumed the young prince leaving only his bones. His sacrifice allowed him to move on to a higher realm, and the Namo Buddha Temple was built in his honor on the spot where his family found his remains.
The full story of Namo Buddha Monastery is much longer, but my abbreviated version covers most of the highlights. In the monastery, you’ll see that the tiger’s imagery is ubiquitous throughout the temples. Today, the monastery is used as a type of school where novice monks train. There’s a guest house on the premise for foreigners who would like to visit for longer than a day.
Namo Buddha Hotels & Accommodations
Budget Hotel in Namo Buddha: Namo Buddha Old Guesthouse ($15 USD per person including breakfast and dinner). These are the older accommodations attached to the monastery, so you are able to sleep nearby, meditate with the monks, and eat at the monastery.
Email [email protected] for bookings
Comfort Hotel in Namo Buddha: Namo Buddha New Guesthouse ($30 USD per person including breakfast and dinner). This is the newer accommodations available at Namo Buddha Monastery which allows you to immerse yourself in the daily rituals of monastery life.
Email [email protected] for bookings
Luxury Hotel in Namo Buddha: Namo Buddha Resort ($113 USD per couple) Namo Buddha Resort is not part of the monastery, however it’s located nearby and is perfect for those who want more comfort. Something everyone raves about is how amazing the vegetarian food is.
Namo Buddha Monastery Guide
Altitude: 1,760 m (5,774 ft)
Location: 42km (26 miles) Southeast of Kathmandu
Important information: You can’t wear shoes inside the individual temples and monastery, but you can wear them outside. You’re not allowed to take photos inside the monastery or temples, but you can take photos outside. Please be respectful and ask the monks before taking their pictures.
Things to do in Namo Buddha
There’s a lot to see and do around Namo Buddha Monastery. You can visit the main monastery where the monks do their daily chanting. We arrived just before 10am and they were beginning their morning chant which lasted at least an hour. Sit quietly in the back and you are able to come and go as you please without disturbing anyone.
There are several temples located just above the main monastery if you follow the stairway up and to the right. Here, you’ll find the Crowned Buddha Shrine, the Sixteen Arhats Shrine, and the Gold Buddha Shrine.
On the far side (opposite the main monastery) you’ll find the female monks chanting near a shrine dedicated to the moment that Great Being gave his life to the tiger. Inside the small temple is imagery of the story. Past that temple is the Namo Buddha View Point which overlooks the valley. This is said the be the place of the tigers den. You’ll see five white stupas, a small temple, and a few tea houses. Down the road on the other side are millions of prayer flags covering the hill. It’s really beautiful to walk through.
Namo Buddha Photography
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.