24 Nov 2020

Experiencing Swayambhunath Stupa – The Monkey Temple of Nepal.

It was the perfect choice to start off the day at Kathmandu with Swayambhunath or the familiar monkey temple. Simply for two reasons; the incredible view over the Kathmandu city and the alluring beauty of the ancient architecture of the temple. Sited in the middle of the Kathmandu city with the demanding 365 strenuous steep steps to the top of the hill, the temple is yet the famed centre of faith for both Buddhist and Hindus. Seemingly, the hill is full of genteel monkeys and it’s a delight to see them swimming through the pool with some diving manoeuvres. For locals they are holy, and you will find them feeding every now and then. It’s quite obvious now why it’s labelled as Monkey temple. Though your eyes will observe the lazy dogs too in the complex. Too much of monkeys for now. Let's roll back to Swayambhunath!

As you head up to the stairs in search of the much-awaited stupa, before long, you show up at a square were at the distance the stupa seems to wait for you. As you walk around the area, it’s fun to roll a prayer wheel every so often until you see a large gate where a 12 feet tall Tibetan prayer wheel is housed. If you are alone, find someone to move this wheel together. Interestingly for every revolution, a bell sound is heard.

Legend has it that, suddenly a lotus flower blossomed in the middle of an ancient river. Gradually, the flower spread across the Kathmandu valley and the mystic river. A large image of Buddha (Sakyamuni) appeared on the top of the lotus and noticed by Bodhisattva (one who is on the path towards Buddhahood) named Manjushri. Eventually, he raised a hill from the river. As the teachings of Bodhisattva says that one should keep his hair clean and short, however, Manjushri let them grow touching the ground and got infected with lice. It’s believed that the lice jumped out of the water and turned into monkeys. This lets so many monkeys over the hill. Utterly Interesting!

Once your eyes stuck on the majestic stupa, a pair of eyes on the Stupa will hold your attention that expresses that the god is omnipresent. Above these eyes, there is another eye expressing the eye of Wisdom. Noticeably, there are five Buddhas on each side of the Stupa.

To soak in the serenity of the temple, try hitting the spot early in the morning when intriguing rituals are carried out.

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