Swayambhunath stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal, residing inside the western part of Kathmandu valley. This is the best place to see the entire city, as it is located on the top of a hill. In 1979, the stupa was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It has some architectural importance as well. The stupa consists of a dome at its base above which there is a cubical structure painted with the eyes of Buddha observing the all directions. The dome represents the entire world, eyes symbolizing wisdom and compassion, curly signals symbolizing the nose represents the unity of all things in the world.
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The Monkey Temple
Swayambhunath Stupa also known as the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The literal meaning of Swayambhu is self-existence. According to an inscription found dating back to 460 AD, this temple was built by King Manadeva during the 13th century. The Swayambhunath temple is an important place for Buddhists.
Some legend states that the Swayambhu was born from a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of a lake in Kathmandu Valley in ancient times. The largest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is situated on the western part of Swayambhunath Temple. Behind the hilltop, there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati. Besides that, some people also believe, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Manjushree. Manjushree invented the Kathmandu Valley by flushing out the water of the Huge Lake that Kathmandu Valley once was.
The base of the Stupa is entirely surrounded by prayer wheels. Some devotees can be seen in the Swayambhunath stupa circumambulation around and playing the prayer wheels.
Some important monuments to see around the Swayambhunath area are: gold plated Vajra ‘thunderbolt’ set on the east side of the stupa, the Buddha statue residing in the west side of Swayambhu, the sleeping Buddha, the Dewa Dharma Monastery, the temple dedicated to Harati.
To climb uphill to the temple is a challenging task. But for accessibility, there is also a road from where you can drive up almost to the temple premises. The Hindu and Buddhist followers visit this temple. This temple is perhaps an amazing example of religious harmony and secularism in Nepal. Tourists must pay for the entrance to observe the world heritage site. Indian and SAARC nationals apply NPR 50 and foreign nationals should pay NPR 200.