Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath, situated on the top of a hill, west of
Kathmandu, is one of the most popular, holy and instantly recognizable
symbols of Nepal. The temple is colloquially known as the 'monkey temple'
because of the large tribe of roving monkeys who guard the temple.
||Before 5th century
||365 steps lead to the Temple that is
believed to be 'Self-Created' or 'Self-Existence'
||Wold Heritage Site
Swayambhunath Stupa is a golden spire crowning a conical wooded
hill. It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in
Kathmandu Valley. It has a lofty white dome and a glittering golden spire
that are visible from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a
stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important
Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century A.D. i.e. before the
coming of Buddhism in the valley.
Area Surrounding The Stupa
The surroundings of Swyambhunarayan Stupa consists of chaityas, temples,
painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.
The temple is dedicated to the goddess of smallpox and other epidemics. The
presence of the Harati Devi temple signifies the intermingling of the
pantheons of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal.
Palace Of Peace
Atop Syambunath hill is another fascinating, though less visited temple,
Shantipur, popularly known as the 'Palace of Peace'. It is said that inside
the secret underground chamber of the temple lives the 8th century Tantric
master, Shantikar Acharya. The master, it is believed, has lived through
centuries and has full control on the weather and the King of Kathmandu must
go to him in times of drought.
Amazing to look at, the architectural beauty of Swayambunath Temple gives
way to the feelings of reverence and adoration. The stupa consists of a dome
at the base and a cubical structure with eyes of Buddha looking in all the
four directions. There are pentagonal Toran present above each of the four
sides with statues engraved in them. Behind and above the torana there are
thirteen tiers. Above all the tiers, there is a small space above which the
Gajur is present.
to Swayambhu Puran, the entire Kathmandu valley was once filled with an
enormous lake, out of which grew a mystical Lotus. The valley came to be
known as Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created' or 'Self-Existent'. The
Bodhistava Manjushri had a vision of the lotus at Swayambhu and traveled
there to worship it.
In order to make the site more accessible to human
pilgrims, Manjushri cut a gorge through the mountains surrounding the
valley. The water drained out of the lake, leaving the valley in which
Kathmandu now lies. The lotus was transformed into a hill and the flower
become the Swayambhunath stupa.
The dome at the base represents the entire world. When a person gets free
(represented by eyes of mercy and self knowledge) from the bonds of the
world, the person reaches the state a bit higher. After that, the person has
to cross thirteen stages represented by the tiers before attaining Nirvana
How To Reach
There are two ways to reach the top of the monkey temple: the first and the
most common is to get there with a car but the most beautiful way to reach
the top of this amazing temple is to climb the 365 stairs of the temple.