Gyalwang Drukpa Leads Buddhist Pilgrimage from Varanasi to Lumbini

Accorded State Guest Honour

Over 1000 Drukpa monks and nuns to participate in the 1000 km Yatra

6th Dec 2013; Varanasi / Bodhgaya: His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Buddhists led a gigantic congregation of over 1000 monks, nuns and followers from both India and abroad on a 1000 kilometre pilgrimage. The Gyalwang Drukpa is globally renowned and acclaimed for his pioneering efforts towards the environment and is the spiritual head of Drukpa Buddhists, a 1000 year old Buddhist lineage with its seat in the Himalayas and the most prominent amongst all the lineages based in India. The pilgrims assembled in Varanasi, and thereafter proceeded to Bodhgaya. The pilgrimage formally started from Bodhgaya, and cover Vaishali, Rajgir, Kushinagar, Shravasti before culminating in Lumbini in Nepal. This was followed by 1 4-day retreat in Kathmandu. Recognising His Holiness’ efforts and stature, the government of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh accorded him a State Guest honour, and the congregation enjoyed the full support of the state government as they traverse from Varanasi to Lumbini.

The schedule of the pilgrimage through the Buddhist circuit is as follows:


Tibetan Date



9th month 12th day

All pilgrims arrive in Varanasi


9th month 13th day

Varanasi / Sarnath


9th month 14th day

Varanasi-Bodh Gaya


9th month 15th day

Bodh Gaya (full-day prayer)


9th month 16th day

Bodh Gaya -Vaishali-Rajgir


9th month 17th day



9th month 18th day



9th month 19th day



9th month 20th day



Speaking on the pilgrimage, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa said, “The entire circuit comprising the various towns that we covered is extremely close to our hearts. It brought us mentally and spiritually close to the Buddha. The governmental support provided by Bihar and Uttar Pradesh was very encouraging and motivating, and contributed immensely in making this entire pilgrimage a most cherished one for the Buddhist participants.”

About the Drukpa Buddhists

The Drukpa Lineage, based in the Himalayas, has a 1000 year history. It is the most prominent of the various Buddhist lineages in India. Its followers form the majority of the populace in the Indian regions — Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, the NE states, as well as in Nepal. Bhutan is an officially declared Drukpa country. The lineage also has millions of followers across various part of the globe, including US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland and the South East Asian countries of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The Drukpa Buddhists follow the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in philosophy, i.e. the philosophy of "getting enlightened for the benefit of others" and the methods are based on the Tantrayana teachings passed down from the great Indian saint Naropa, born in 1016. The lineage has been at the forefront of various noteworthy initiatives —

  • Peace PadYatra in Sri Lanka in March-April 2013 in collaboration and participation of the Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksha
  • AshokaStupa restoration in Nangchen, China in July 2012
  • 6 yearly Pad Yatras since 2006 to promote environment awareness
  • The 2nd Guinness World Record for “Most Trees Planted Simultaneously” in 2012 for planting 99,103 trees in 55 minutes
  • The 1st Guinness World Record for “Most Trees Planted Simultaneously” in 2010 for planting 55,033 trees
  • Relief mission to Ladakh post flash floods in August 2010
  • Relief mission to China’s Yushu region post the earthquake in April 2010



About The Gyalwang Drukpa

The Gyalwang Drukpa is the head of the thousand year old Drukpa Order, based in the Himalayas and has millions of followers worldwide. His mission is to promote universal harmony and inner peace by integrating the spiritual tenets of love and appreciation into daily lives. His work includes promoting gender equality; establishing educational institutions, medical clinics and meditation centres; and rebuilding heritage sites in the Himalayas. He is the founder and spiritual director of the award-winning Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India, which provides its students with a modern education while preserving their local culture. In 2007, His Holiness founded the not-for-profit international humanitarian organization Live to Love which has Aamir Khan and Michelle Yeoh as its global ambassadors. In September 2010, the United Nations honoured His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Award for his efforts to “create compassion into action”. Earlier in September, he was named the “Guardian of the Himalayas” by WaterkeepersAlliance (a Foundation) for his conservation efforts in the Himalayas.

More about the Gyalwang Drukpa at

More about Live to Love at


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