Boudhanath StupaBuddhist Temples | April 9, 2010
Boudhanath Stupa (also called Boudha, Boudhanath, Bodhnath or the Khâsa Caitya) is one of the holiest Buddhist sites located on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. It is in fact the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. Boudhanath Stupa is called Khâsti by Newars and Bauddha or Bodh-nâth by the modern speakers of Nepali.
The culture in and around the stupa remains Himalayan with a strong presence of Tibetans and Sherpas, and this can be found from several restaurants selling Tibetan food like momos and thukpa.
Some says Boudhanath was founded by the Nepalese Licchavi king Úivadeva while others opine its origin dating back to King Mânadeva (464-505 CE). Tibetan sources claim a mound on the site was excavated in the late 15th or early 16th century. The temple became an important centre of Tibetan Buddhsim after thousands of Tibetans following the Chinese aggression in 1959. Today, the temple stands an important place of pilgrimage and tourism.
The nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt Meru, the gods’ abode while the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or ‘Bodhi’ from which Boudhanath Stupa gets its name.
Towards the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. Besides five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani). ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara. The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms.
The square tower is topped by a pyramid with 13 steps, which represents the ladder to enlightenment. The main entrance to the upper platform of Bodnath Stupa is at the northern side.
- Shechen Monastery (a beautiful temple founded by the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche)
- Khawalung Monastery (A beautiful Tibetan monastery which was inaugrated by Trulshik Rinpoche and Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche in October 2005. It has monks from remote region of Nepal and Tibet)
- Losar festival (Tibetan New Year) organized in February or March. Boudhanath during this time hosts the largest celebration in Nepal.
Hotel Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Taxis are available from the airport (fare not more than 150 Nepalese Rupees. One can reach the Boudha Gate, the stupa entrance direct from the airport.
Most places of interest here around the stupa can be explored on foot.
Best time to visit:
October-November and February-April are the best time to visit Kathmandu.
- Gokarna Forest Resort
- Gangchen Guest House, Bouhdanath, Tusal
- Samdrup Guest House main gate at Boudha Stupa.
- Shechen Guest House
- Hyatt Regency Kathmandu