Kopan Monastery

Buddhist Monastery in Bodhnath (Boudha)
Image by Godong / Getty Images
Image by Godong / Getty Images

On a hilltop north of Bodhnath, Kopan is popular among foreigners for its courses in Tibetan Buddhism. Visitors are welcome to explore the monastery and join in the morning meditation sessions.

Kopan Monastery was founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe, who died in 1984, leading to a worldwide search for his reincarnation. A young Spanish boy, Osel Torres, was declared to be the reincarnated lama, providing the inspiration for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Little Buddha. Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche no longer resides at Kopan (he recently renounced his vows to become a cinematographer in Ibiza!).

You can visit Kopan on the pleasant walk between Bodhnath and the Gokarna Mahadev Temple or even from Nagi Gompa in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. A taxi here from Kathmandu costs around Rs 600, or Rs 300 from Bodhnath.