As the country of birthplace of Gautama Buddha, place of the highest mountain i.e. Mt. Everest, place of thousands of religious monuments and sculptures, and one of the most peaceful country, Nepal has been the destination of thousands of mountain lovers, adventurers, religious devout especially Buddhist devout, travelers etc. Being the land of birth of Gautama Buddha, Lumbini in Nepal is considered as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the whole world and there are numbers of giant Buddha statues, stupa, and shrines as a representation of Gautama Buddha.
Nepal is a sovereign country located in South Asia between China and India but is the land of eight of the ten tallest mountains which also include the highest point that have been recorded i.e. Mount Everest. Putting mountains aside, Nepal is also known all over the world as the land of thousands religious monuments and sculptures. Some of these religious monuments are believed to be thousands of years old. These religious monuments are either Buddhist monuments or Hindu monuments since both Buddhism and Hinduism have been existed in Nepal for more than 2 millenniums. The history of Hinduism is even older than that of Buddhism.
Nepal and Buddhism
As Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal, Lumbini along with three other places are considered as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The other three most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites are Sarnath, Bodh Gaya, and Kushinagar. Even though Lord Buddha attained Nirvana in Bodh Gaya, Lord Buddha taught Buddhism in Nepal during his travel to Lumbini after spending most of his childhood in Lumini. Nepal Buddhism is considered as the one of the ancient form of Buddhism i.e. Vajrayana Buddhism is practiced and taught in ancient form which is rarely seen in any Buddhist countries in the world. Aside being the birthplace of Buddha, Nepal is also place which house some of the largest Buddhist stupa in the world i.e. Swayambhunath Stupa, Bouddhanath Stupa etc. These Stupas are quite famous and in the big Buddhist events such as Buddha Purnima, Swayambhunath stupa and Boudhanath Stupa are decorated with lights.
Both Swayambhunath Stupa and Bouddhanath Stupa are the most popular Buddhist monuments in Nepal. And what's more amazing is that people other than Buddhist also visits and worship these stupa. Thus Nepal is also one of the few countries where Buddhism and Hinduism co-exist together with harmony and peace. These Stupa consists of hundreds of small Buddhist stupa, Nepali Buddha statues, Buddha images, Thangkas, shrines etc.
Some popular Buddhist traditions in Nepal that are popular among Buddhist people are Newar Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Newar Buddhism is especially followed and practiced by few Newar ethnicities and Tibetan Buddhism is especially followed by Buddhist people i.e. Tibetan-Nepalese ethnicities i.e. Gurungs, Lepcha, Tamang, Magar, Limbu, Rai etc. Due the close relationship between Nepal and Tibet from hundreds of years, Newar and Tibetan Buddhism are closely related with each other. Shakyauni Tibetan Buddha statues in Jokhang Temple which brought by Princess Bhrikuti also deepened two countries religious relations.
Buddha statues in Nepal
In General Buddha statues are the representation of Gautama Buddha himself. Nepali craftsmen are famous all over the world for their superior skills in depicting every single features of Lord Buddha in a statue of Buddha such as postures of Buddha, pose of hands, legs, and different styles of Buddha statues. These various features depicts different characteristics of Shakyamuni Buddha such as Reclining Buddha shows the postures of Shakyamuni Buddha during his last moments in the land of earth. Some of the famous Nepali Buddha statues are
- Shakyamuni Buddha Statues
- Vairochana Buddha Statues (One of the Pancha Buddhas)
- Maitreya Buddha statues
Aside from these famous Buddha statues, Nepali craftsmen are also quite skilled in making Nepal Tibet Buddha statues due to close relation with Tibetan-Nepalese ethnicities. Aside from statues of Buddha, statues of famous Buddhist figures are also considered quite important in Nepal i.e. statues of Avalokiteshvara, statues of Manjushrees i.e. major Bodhisattvas, statues of Tara, statues and images of Vajrayogini.