Find peace and prayers on the little hillock of Swaymbhunath northwest of Kathmandu Valley.
Find peace and prayers on the little hillock of Swaymbhunath in the north west of kathmandu valley. Visitors for whom the name was a tongue twister have called it "Monkey Temple" from the 1970s. Swayambhu, overlooks most parts of the valley giving visitors a panoramic view of the city. The stupa has stood as a hallmark of faith and harmony for centuries with Hindu temples and deities incorporated in this Buddhist site. The glory of Kathmandu Valley is said to have started from this point.
Swayambhu is one of the holiest Buddhist stupas in Nepal. It is said to have evolved spontaneously when the valley was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises.
Swayambhu literally means "self-existent one". Believed to date back to 460 A.D., it was built by King Manadeva and by the 13th century, it had become an important center of Buddhism. Legend has it that Swayambhu was born out of a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of a lake that once spread across the Kathmandu Valley once was. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal sits on a high pedestal on the western boundary of Swayambhu beside the Ring Road. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri or Saraswati - the Goddess of learning. Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities fill the stupa complex. The base of the hill is almost entirely surrounded by prayer wheels and deities. Devotees can be seen circumambulating the stupa at all times.
Exceedingly steep stone steps that lead up to the shrine is quite a challenge. However, there is also a motor road going up almost to the top from where it is a short walk. A large number of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swayambhu throughout the day. This shrine is perhaps the best place to observe religious harmony in Nepal. The largest crowds of people are seen here on Buddha's birthday which usually falls in May each year.
Some important monuments to see in this area
The huge gold plated Vajra ‘thunderbolt’ set in the east side of the stupa.
Buddha statue on the west side of Swayambhu.
The Sleeping Buddha.
The Dewa Dharma Monastery, noted for a bronze icon of Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings.
The temple dedicated to Harati, the goddess of all children. It is said that she was an ogress before Lord Buddha converted her to be the caretaker of all children.
- UNESCO World heritage site
- Bhaktapur darbar square
Bhaktapur Darbar Square
3, Jan 2020 | nepaltraveller.com
The city of devote: Bhaktapur
Among the three major cities of kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur retains some of its ancient way of life, reminding you of what the entire Kathmandu Valley must have looked like during the medieval period. The remarkable architecture, the exquisite woodcarvings and metal craft that can be seen around the city takes one back to the time of the Malla rulers who patronized art like no other dynasty. The pagoda style temples rise above the Bhaktapur skyline. The Pottery Square, the Palace (Durbar) Square which dates back to the 12th century, where devotees still celebrate their centuries old festivals and the temple squares that still remain vibrant, are Bhaktapur’s major attractions. But the city’s archaic look itself draws tourists besides the elaborate festivals that remain unchanged for centuries. The Durbar Square is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the valley.
The Mallas once ruled Kathmandu valley from Bhaktapur until King Yakshya Malla in 1482, divided the kingdom between his three sons leading to disunity and fading strength. With the valley kingdoms divided, the Shah dynasty from Gorkha was able to conquer them one by one.
Unlike Kathmandu and Patan, Bhaktapur has resisted rapid change, and a large number of women in Bhaktapur are still seen in their traditional Newari attire in black and red. Pottery, farming, singing in the temples or just sitting in the rest houses in the mornings and evenings are a way of life they have retained for centuries. Once known as Bhadgaon (Nepali) and Khwopa (Newari) the city has maintained its festivals in their original elaborate forms, many of which last over a week. After the restoration program in the 1970s, the city’s municipality has controlled the construction of new buildings in order to maintain the brick façade. One of the most popular festivals of Bhaktapur is the Bisket Jatra which attracts a large number of tourists around the Nepali New Year.