Nepal celebrates Buddha Jayanti to remember Lord Buddha's birthday
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated across the country to remember the birth of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha also known as Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Gautam Buddha was born in Kapilvastu, Nepal around 500 BC. He is said to be born on a full moon day, the same day he achieved nirvana and left this world. The literal translation of Buddha is “the awakened one”.
This day recognises Buddha as an enlightened teacher who attained full enlightenment and shared his insights to help people break away from the cycle of suffering and death. This festival is really auspicious for Nepalis and is widely celebrated in different parts of the country.
Below is a list of very popular and famous Buddhist shrines in Kathmandu City:
1) Swayambhunath Stupa
Also known as the ‘Monkey Temple’, Swayambhunath Stupa is a popular pilgrimage in the country. It rests atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley and is mobbed by monkeys. Swayambhunath Stupa is truly a perfect example of the integration of two iconographies, Buddhism and Hinduism. It is also one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal. The place is great to watch the sunset over Kathmandu. The stupa is surrounded by a variety of shrines and temples; some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions.
2) Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa is an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists and Nepalis. It is a very popular tourist destination in Kathmandu. The monastery became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. As a daily ritual, you can see people roaming around the stupa, chanting the very auspicious ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’. Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world.
3) Kathesimbu Stupa
Kathesimbu Stupa, also known as Sigal Baudha Stupa, is a seventh-century copy of Swayambhunath temple. According to legends, it was built with the remains of the materials from Swayambhunath. Located in the south of Thamel, the stupa is set in a hidden courtyard.Like the Swayambhunath, there is a two storey pagoda and in the northeast corner is the Tibetan-style Drubgon Jangchup Choeling Monastery. Around the stupa are dozens of other stupas and small temples.
Photos by Saroj Patrabansha and Ranup Shrestha