Swayambhunath Temple – Standing high atop the hill watching over the Kathmandu valley with the eyes of Buddha, Swayambhunath is just three kilometers west of the city. Popularly known as the monkey temple, the name is pretty obvious because as soon as you arrive, the monkeys are everywhere.
The stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist sites of Nepal which is enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage site and its establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley as per the myth. According to Swayambhu Purana, it is said that the entire valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a lotus. The valley then was known as Swayambhu, meaning “Self-Created.” The name came from an eternal self-existent flame over which a Stupa was later built.
The place is the perfect combo of Hindu and Buddhist ideologies as we can clearly see the architectural harmony between two monuments, the Buddhist stupa and the tiered Hindu temple standing proud side by side. This represents the unity and harmony among the religions in Nepal.
The iconic Stupa is a magnificent giant white structure on which are painted the bright captivating eyes of the Buddha. The white dome represents the earth or says the entire world and the 13 tiered structure signifies the stages that humans must experience to achieve nirvana according to Buddhism.
The steep but rewarding 365 step ascent to the top with many statues of Buddha will take to this enchanting space. Colorful Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the breeze all around which is believed to be carried to the heavens by the winds will no doubt captivate you in the aura of the place.
The air here feels thick with the pleasant smell of incense and butter lamps, the chants of devotees and the devotional music played by stores selling prayer beads, rosaries, audio CDs, books and incense. The energy of the place feels so special maybe because it is rendered stronger by its location high above the city with the hilltop views giving a remarkable sunset experience.
There are many smaller religious structures, temples and idols of various deities such as the Hindu goddess of smallpox Hariti and river goddesses Jamuna and Ganga, among many others around the complex. A black statue of Dipankaraor the ‘Buddha of Light’ which is believed to have achieved the highest stage of enlightenment before Gautama, carved in the 7th century is exceptionally eye-catching.
The eastern side was constructed by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century where there is a beautiful collection of painted Buddha statues plus the stone showing the birth of Buddha with mother Maya Devi. At the base of the hill, there are the statues of Dhyani Buddhas representing five basic qualities of Buddhist wisdom.
The kind of experiences people seek in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley is exactly the experience you will get on this land of Swayambhunath.
Call us at +97714260802 or contact Himalaya Trekking company to visit this beautiful temple.