Swayambhunath promounced as “Swa – yam- bhoo- nath” or the Self Created one is a famous stupa in Kathmandu. This stupa also known as the Monkey Temple is believed to have been built atop a self existent flame which also relates to the origin of its name. Though it is a Buddhist shrine, it is extremely popular with other religions as well. While there is a motor way to reach close to the top, we chose to climb the steps.
The monkeys were playfully prancing around the small tank at the entrance and the temple has earned the name Monkey Temple due to their abundant presence. We climbed up the 365 odd steps to reach the hill dedicating each step to each day in a year until we stumbled on the Vajra and got the first glimpse of the stupa.
The compassionate eyes of the Buddha drawn on the spire of the Stupa shone through the fading sun light. The eyes are visible on all four sides signifying the omnipresence of the Buddha in every corner of the planet for that kind glance, the invisible loving touch when we most need it.
The golden pinnacle of this nearly 1500 year old structure has 13 tiers signifying the stages that one has to cross to merge with the Buddha. There are several smaller stupas leading upto the main Stupa. The souvenir shops around have an excellent collection of masks, statues, singing bowls, prayer wheels and other stuff.
The doors to the golden pagoda were closed but the soft murmurs of “Om Mane Padme Hum” reverberated through the evening air while some people proceeded to turn the prayer wheel or light the customary lamp.
This place also provides an excellent view of Kathmandu city. As the sky turned crimson and cool Himalayan air made its presence felt around us, we started our descent through the tree lined stairway providing breathtaking views of Kathmandu Valley.
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