Walking pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India and Nepal by 108 Koreans
Attribution: Preeti Prajapati, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

108 Buddhist pilgrims from Republic of Korea will walk over 1,100 kms as part of walking pilgrimage tracing Lord Buddha’s footsteps from birth to Nirvana. This unique Korean Buddhist Pilgrimage to India is the first of its kind.  

The 43-day pilgrimage to Buddhist holy sites in India and Nepal begins from 9th February and completes on 23rd March, 2023. The walking pilgrimage will begin from Sarnath in Varanasi and will culminate at Shravasti after traversing through Nepal. 


The pilgrimage is being organised by the Jogye-Order of Korean Buddhism, more specifically Sangwol Society, a non-profit organization of Korea with an aim to spread Buddhist culture of devotional activities through a pilgrimage to sites in India where the life and footsteps of the Buddha are preserved.  

The pilgrims which include monks will pay homage to eight major Buddhist holy sites, experience Indian Buddhism and culture, and have a bilateral meeting of religious leaders and hold a prayer assembly for world peace and a blessing ceremony for the dignity of life.  

The program during the pilgrimage will include walking meditation, Buddhist ceremonies, 108 prostration ceremonies and dharma assembly. The total number of participants in various programs, including opening and closing ceremonies are expected to be above five thousand. 

With an opening ceremony on 11th February, the foot march will begin from Sarnath (Varanasi) and walking through Nepal, it would conclude on March 20 at Saravasti in Uttar Pradesh, covering a distance of nearly 1200 kilometres in more than 40 days. 

The pilgrimage has the potential to popularise the Buddhist pilgrimage route in India much like the Camino de Santiago of Spain, it will attract Buddhist travellers to India from around the world.  

At a time, when the world is beset with tensions and conflicts, Lord Buddha’s message of peace and compassion is the need of the hour. During this pilgrimage, Buddhist monks would offer prayers for a peaceful and prosperous world. 

Buddhism was introduced in Korea in the 4th century and soon became the official religion of the ancient Korean kingdom. Today, 20% of Koreans are Buddhists, who regard India as their spiritual home. Every year, thousands of them visit India on pilgrimages to various Buddhist sacred sites. To emphasize common Buddhist ties with Korea, Prime Minister Modi had presented Korea with a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree during his 2019 state visit to Korea. 


The Main Programs of the India Pilgrimage 

Date Content  
 09 February 2023  Informing-the-Buddha Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage
(6 a.m., Jogyesa Temple) 

Departure (Incheon)→Delhi→Varanasi 
 11 February 2023 Opening Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage  

Venue: Deer Park (in front of Dhamekh Stupa) 
 21–22 February 2023 Bodh Gaya (Mahabohi Temple): pay respects & perform daily closing ceremony  

Time: 11 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2023 
Dharma Assembly for World Peace  

Time: 8 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2023  

Venue: in front of the bodhi tree at Mahabodhi Temple 
 24 February 2023 International Conference at Nalanda University
(to highlight our pilgrimage routes)  

Venue: Nalanda University (10 a.m./ 4 p.m. for the pilgrimage group) 
25 February 2023 Vulture Peak (Rajgir): pay respects & hold prayer assembly  

Venue: Gandhakuti on Vulture Peak (11 a.m.) 
01 March 2023 Buddha’s Relic Stupa Site (Vaishali) & daily closing ceremony  

Venue: Buddha’s Relic Stupa Site (11 a.m.) 
03 March 2023 Kesariya Stupa & daily closing ceremony  

Venue: Kesariya Stupa (11 a.m.) 
08 March 2023  Pay respects to Mahaparinirvana Temple & Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar
& daily closing ceremony  

Time: 11 a.m. Mar. 08, 2023 
09 March 2023  Prayer Assembly at Kushinagar where the Buddha entered parinirvana  

Time: 8 a.m. Mar. 9, 2023 

Venue: Plaza next to Mahaparinirvana Temple 
14 March 2023  Prayer assembly at Lumbini (Nepal) where the Buddha was born. 
Venue: Plaza in front of Ashoka Pillar (11 a.m.)  

Offering robes to the Buddha 
20 March 2023   Closing Ceremony for the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage
(Jetavana Monastery, Shravasti)  

Venue: Plaza next to Gandhakuti at Jetavana Monastery 
23 March 2023  Arrival (Incheon)  

Closing of the Sangwol Society India Pilgrimage
(1 p.m. at Jogyesa Temple) 




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