Located three kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, Swayambhu is one of the most sacred Buddhist stupas in Nepal. It is also known as the “Temple of the Apes”, for obvious reasons: the number of mammals of this species loose, resourceful and daring.
Considered the oldest of its kind in Nepal, the stupa is a clear demonstration of faith and harmony, as it brings together Hindu temples and deities incorporated into a Buddhist site. Thus, the place is worshiped by both Buddhists and Hindus. The greatest number of visits occurs on the Buddha’s birthday, usually in May.
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To reach the top of the sanctuary, you have to overcome a staircase with very steep stone steps. However, there is also a motorized road going almost to the top from where it is a short walk. From the top, you have a panoramic view of Kathmandu.
The faithful report that the stupa was built in 460 AD by King Manadeva and, in the 13th century, it became an important center of Buddhism. But legend has it that Swayambhu was born from a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of a lake that has already spread across the Kathmandu valley.
The largest image of Buddha Sakyamuni in Nepal is on a tall pedestal, on the western border of Swayambhu, next to the ring road. Behind the top of the hill, there is a temple dedicated to Manjusri (or Saraswati), the Goddess of learning.
Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu gods fill the stupa complex. The bottom of the hill is almost entirely surrounded by prayer wheels and deities. Devotees can be seen circling the stupa at all times.
The monuments that most attract pilgrims are:
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