Lumbini is of course where it all began, the birth of a great new religion, Buddhism, with the birth of Siddhartha Gautam, who later on in life went on to gain nirvana and become the Buddha, or the Enlightened One. Thus, Lumbini is the primary pilgrimage site for the millions of Buddhists all around the world. At the same time, there are many monasteries (viihars and mahavihars), and stupas throughout Nepal that are also important places of pilgrimage for Buddhist devotees. One such is Seto Gumba, also known as Druk Amitabh Mountain Monastery, which is located about three kilometers from Halchok, near Swayambhunath Stupa, in Kathmandu. Hiking to this splendid monastery is a favorite pastime for many, and should take the average person about two-and-a-half hours to get there. The scenery on the way, and of course form the top, is spectacular. If you don’t feel up to walking all that way uphill, you can drive there from Sitapaila on the Ring Road. The Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery is also located here at the monastery, and it is a major nunnery, with about three hundred living there at any given time. This magnificent monastery is renowned for its Tibetan-style architecture, as also for its fantastic statues (some of which are very large-sized) and paintings so colorful, they are a treat to the visual sense. Seto Gumba was founded in 1989 by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, and it is open to visitors on Saturdays. That is when you’ll find lots of people, both locals and tourists, lounging about in the monastery’s lovely garden, and admiring both the visual art on display, as well as the panoramic view of the valley below. Another famous Buddhist destination is Kopan Monastery, which is located on Kopan hill, north of Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu. There’s a great big Bodhi Tree there, so called because the Buddha meditated under one, and the monastery has some three-hundred-and-sixty inhabitants that include lamas, monks, gurus, and daily workers. It is an important center for the study of Mahayana Buddhism, which is based on the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism that was founded by Lama Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), a famous monk who was born in Amdo of Tibet. Affiliated to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), Kopan Monastery was established by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1969, and the first community to live there was a group of twenty-five monks from Solukhumbu district in 1972, who underwent a dedicated program of study, meditation, and communal living under the care and tutelage of Lama Yeshe. In the present time, monks, starting as young as seven years old, flock here from throughout the country, as well as from around the Himalayan region, to receive a classic monastic education. One of Nepal’s biggest nunneries, Khachoe Ghakyil Ling (Pure Land of Bliss), was established at the base of Kopan hill in 1994, and it houses close to four hundred nuns. It had an interesting beginning; in 1979, two young women who had escaped from Tibet, were invited to join the monastery, and thereon, the number of women continued to grow, and eventually, a new nunnery had to be built nearby.