The Swayambhunath Temple or the ‘Monkey Temple’ is believed to have self-manifested from a lotus flower which formed a part of the lake that spread across the erstwhile Kathmandu valley. Placed on top of a hill, the visit to Swayambhunath Temple blesses one with spectacular panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley.
A Warm Welcome by the Monkeys at the Entrance
Swayambhunath Temple is among the most auspicious and important spiritual center for the Buddhist people of Nepal. We visited the Swayambhunath Temple in the evening, when the twilight was just setting in. Here’s a photo journey of the spell-binding moments of the Kathmandu valley.
Entrance Fees: NRs. 50/- (SAARC Countries)
NRs. 200/- (Non SAARC Countries)
At the entrance of the Swayambhunath Temple is this serene idol of Buddha in his meditative posture. At one corner of the entrance you will also find a water fountain where the monkeys flock, making it almost impossible for the travelers to stand and take pictures.
There are two different staircases to climb up the temple and the one to the right of the entrance or the West side is rather gradual. It also has occasional pit stops if you want to rest for a while and enjoy the views.
It is a nice idea to halt for a moment, turn around and catch the skyline behind, as the sun prepares to set on the town.
The Swayambhunath Stupa on Top
Once you are there, you can witness the Swayambhunath Stupa placed compact, with other structures. The walls and doors reflect intricate carvings, showcasing the diligent and dexterous work of the ancient artists.
The prayer wheels run all around the periphery of the stupa. A set of five small temples called the Dhyani Buddha are placed along the periphery, with golden gilt doors and netted facade gate in front of these temples. Inside these small temples, the priests light up the evening oil lamps as a part of their daily evening rituals. All the while, the monkeys are busy rejoicing and creating ruckus, although they do not attack the visitors here.
At the top of the monumental stupa, the meditative eyes of the Buddha gleams back on its visitors. The sun makes way for the evening to set in and the moon gently orients itself at the crown of the Stupa. Numerous colour flags hang down from the top of the crown. From the top of the Stupa is a metal spire made of 13 discs that represent the 13 steps to enlightenment.
What else you see here
With the onset of the day end, it is time for the priests at the Harati Devi Temple to light up the butter lamps whose fragrance fills up the surroundings.
This giant effigy of Buddha under reconstruction and restoration work a part of the Shri Karma Raj Mahavihar Monastery. Wrapped in saffron robe, it is a massive idol made of shining gilded copper drawn to perfect symmetry.
The entry to the Stupa is through this near vertical stairs from the Eastern side. Sitting on the stairs, it feels as if you are almost about to lose your steps to stumble down. Right in front of this entry is a giant size metal vajra.
The top of the temple gives a panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley and the numerous lights glitter up with the evening setting in. Stop here for a moment and let the beauty fill in your inner soul.
Finally, the night sets in. But the dusk still remains at a distance. At a distance, the ridge lines are clearly visible, and the Kathmandu valley prepares for the night.