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Boudhanath
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Boudhanath Stupa is one of the holiest sites in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is known as Bauddha or Bodhnath. This was built in 14th century after the Mughal invasions, and today it remains as an important place of pilgrimage and meditation center for Tibetans, Buddhists and Nepalis and is also a very popular tourist site. 

Details About Boudhanath Stupa:

From above, Boudhnath Stupa looks like a giant mandala, or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. As in all Tibetan mandalas, four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points, with the fifth, Vairocana, enshrined in the center (in the white hemisphere of the stupa). The five Buddhas also personify the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), which are represented in the stupa's architecture.

There are other symbolic numbers here as well: the nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt. Meru, center of the cosmos; and the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or "Bodhi" — hence the stupa's name. At the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. In addition to the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with the Bodhisatva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani), whose 108 forms are depicted in sculptures around the base. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara - Om Mani Padme Hum - is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.

The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms, decreasing in size. These platforms symbolize Earth, and here you can look out at the mountains while listening to the chants of the devout doing kora, walking around  the stupa praying. Next come two circular plinths supporting the hemisphere of the stupa, symbolizing water. As at Swayabunath, Bodnath is topped with a square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides.

Instead of a nose is a question-mark-type symbol that is actually the Nepali character for the number 1,symbolizing unity and the one way to reach enlightenment—through the Buddha's teachings. Above this is the third eye, symbolizing the wisdom of the Buddha.

The square tower is topped by a pyramid with 13 steps, representing the ladder to enlightenment. The triangular shape is the abstract form for the element of fire. At the top of the tower is a canopy, the embodiment of air, with above it a gilded spire, symbolic of ether and the Buddha Vairocana. Prayer flags tied to the stupa flutter in the wind, carrying mantras and prayers heavenward. The chanting does here ultimately bring in a peaceful joyness in oneself.

The main entrance to the upper platform of Bodhnath Stupa is on the north side. Here Amoghasiddhi, progenitor of the future Buddha, presides. Below Amoghasiddhi is the Buddha Maitreya, the future Buddha. Here we can get into the temple, climb the stupa, see the mountains and experience the Buddhist and Tibet heritage of Nepal. Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are the streets and narrow alleys lined with colourful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors. April 2015 due to earthquake it damaged partially.

Location:

It is located about 11 Kilometres from the centre and North-eastern outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu valley by the village of Sankhu in the Northeast corner passes by Boudhanath stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Ca-bahi. It then turns directly south heading over the Bhagmathi river to Patan.

History Of Boudhanath Stupa:

Boudhnath was probably built in the 14th century after the Mughal invasions; various interesting legends are told regarding the reasons for its construction. After the arrival of thousands of Tibetans following the 1959 Chinese invasion, the temple has become one of the most important centres of Tibetan Buddhism. Today it remains as an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists and local Nepalis, as well as a popular tourist site.

Places To Visit Around Boudhnath:

  • Pashupathinath temple: The Pashupathinath temple is a famous, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Pashupathinath and is located on the banks of Baghmati river and it is hardly 2.6 kilometres from Boudhnath.
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square: Also known as Basantapur Darbar Kshetra in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of the three durbar squares in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal. It is surrounded with spectacular architecture and shows skills of newar artists. It is around 7.2 Kilometres from Boudhnath.
  • Garden of Dreams: A neo classical historical garden is situated in the midst of Kathmandu city, Nepal. The garden was famous as the garden of six seasons and was created by Late field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana. It is around 5.3 kilometres from Boudhnath.
  • Himalayas:   Kathmandu is located nearly east side of Himalayas. The distance between Himalayas and Kathmandu is 132 kilometres.

Boudhanath

 

Food In Boudhnath:

Food is good and authentic. You get good continental, Chinese and local Nepalese food.

Some Restaurants:

  • Stupa view restaurant and café
  • Hotel patio
  • Road house café Boudha

Accomodation: 

  • Hotel Manokamana
  • Hotel Tibet  International
  • Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
  • Royal Astoria Hotel
  • Hotel Norbusangpo

Shopping In Boudhnath:

Boudhnath aside from being a major tourist destination in Kathmandu is also a great place to buy souvenirs especially if you’re on the lookout for any arts and crafts related to Buddhism. You can buy mallas (prayer beads), prayer wheels, incense, incense holders, religious statues, handcrafted Tibetan cabinets and carpets, a variety of artworks and more.The most popular product that you’ll definitely notice would be thangkas (Buddhist paintings) and mallas.

Nepal Festivals And Events

During the festival of Losar (Tibetan New Year) in February or March, Boudhanath hosts the largest celebration  in Nepal.

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