Swayam in Sanskrit mean Self, hence Swoyambhunath mean “Self-Created One”. The Tibetan name for Swoyambhunath means 'Sublime Trees’. This Buddhist Stupa holds a special position both among the Buddhists & Hindus. However, the site which is about 70 meters above on the hill on the Ring Road of Kathmandu 3 kilometers from City centre.
The Swoyambhunath area possesses not only the stupa but many temple, shrines, Tibetan monasteries, statues of different gods. There is a small forest nearby the stupa which homes the red macaque monkey that mostly feed on the items offered by the devotees. Some of the Tibetan exiles in Nepal live nearby the Stupa. The Buddhists visit the Stupa for religious region, but everyone interested in mysticism, tantra, spirituality, ancient sculptures, & fine arts should not miss visiting the site.
Very much like Bouddhanath, Swoyambhunath serves as a major historical landmark for most of Nepal's Buddhists. It was built over 2,500 years ago and is set on top of a steep hill which requires a pretty steep climb. Various flower vendors display their merchandise at the foot for visitors.
The place is sometimes called "Monkey Temple" and for good reason. Nepal makes for very conducive playgrounds for monkeys and the Swoyambhunath temple and its forest area make a good home for the rhesus Nepalis.
Swayambhunath Stupa is a golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill. It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley. It has a lofty white dome and a glittering golden spire that are visible from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century A.D. i.e. before the coming of Buddhism in the valley.
Area Surrounding The Stupa
The surroundings of Swyambhunarayan Stupa consists of chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.
The temple is dedicated to the goddess of smallpox and other epidemics. The presence of the Harati Devi temple signifies the intermingling of the pantheons of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal.
Palace Of Peace
Atop Syambunath hill is another fascinating, though less visited temple, Shantipur, popularly known as the 'Palace of Peace'. It is said that inside the secret underground chamber of the temple lives the 8th century Tantric master, Shantikar Acharya. The master, it is believed, has lived through centuries and has full control on the weather and the King of Kathmandu must go to him in times of drought.
Amazing to look at, the architectural beauty of Swayambunath Temple gives way to the feelings of reverence and adoration. The stupa consists of a dome at the base and a cubical structure with eyes of Buddha looking in all the four directions. There are pentagonal Toran present above each of the four sides with statues engraved in them. Behind and above the torana there are thirteen tiers. Above all the tiers, there is a small space above which the Gajur is present.
According to Swayambhu Puran, the entire Kathmandu valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a mystical Lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created' or 'Self-Existent'. The Bodhistava Manjushri had a vision of the lotus at Swayambhu and traveled there to worship it.
In order to make the site more accessible to human pilgrims, Manjushri cut a gorge through the mountains surrounding the valley. The water drained out of the lake, leaving the valley in which Kathmandu now lies. The lotus was transformed into a hill and the flower become the Swayambhunath stupa.
The dome at the base represents the entire world. When a person gets free (represented by eyes of mercy and self knowledge) from the bonds of the world, the person reaches the state a bit higher. After that, the person has to cross thirteen stages represented by the tiers before attaining Nirvana (salvation).
How To Reach
There are two ways to reach the top of the monkey temple: the first and the most common is to get there with a car but the most beautiful way to reach the top of this amazing temple is to climb the 365 stairs of the temple.
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