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Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa


Boudanath is one of the largest stupas in the South of Asia and there are legends of how it got to have such a large perimeter. One of the legends goes like this: a poor woman wanted a place to worship her Lord Buddha and to spread his teachings for those who wanted to listen, but she did not have a large enough piece of land to build her own temple. She asked a local king in the Kathmandu Valley for a donation of land no bigger than the hide of a buffalo. This did not sound like an unreasonable request, so he gave her permission. The woman proceeded to cut the hide into thin strips and laid them out in the shape of a large circle. When the king saw what she had done, he decided he must stick by his word and let her keep the land for the temple.

The exact dates of the temple are unknown, but it is rumored to be sometime in the 5th century but again there is no literature proving that.

The Boudanath Stupa is quite magnificent. It is a large white dome-like mound with its peak near 36 meters high. The stupa sits in the middle of a round courtyard that was built up around the ancient temple. There are shops and restraints providing the perfect spot to sit and see the stupa and all of its glory, beaming in the sun. The nearby shops even play music (to sell), but it adds to the ambiance of the quiet stupa and the smell of incense fills the air.

It is interesting to sit and watch people gathering on and around the stupa, because at one time this was on the old trade route to Tibet. You can still find monks in their maroon-colored robes walking around this sacred place, and offering prayers, which helps the imagination picture what it must have been like in the past.

In the 1950’s there were many Tibetan Refugees that fled to Nepal and upon finding the Boudanath temple, they decided to stay here. These travelers eventually built the little gompas surrounding the large dome and eventually this became a “Little Tibet.” In fact one of the best times to see the Tibetan lifestyle and culture come to life is during the Tibetan New Year celebration when swarms of Tibetan Buddhists and monks gather to sing, dance, pray and offer blessings. It is a non-stop party of joy and love, gatherings of friends and families with gift exchanges and vibrant new prayer flags blowing in the wind.

This grand temple even has some interesting physical features that are only there because of time. If you get close to the dome, like say walking around the point, you will notice that up close the white color that you see has a slight green tint on certain sides of the temple. Some people have attempted to clean the green off, leaving an indent of almost a foot. The green mystery is actually bird droppings from the past years and has made, as you will see if you decide to visit this awesome temple, has made a significant difference in the shape of the dome.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page or the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.