Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath Temple is just a few minutes walks away from Retreat Serviced Apartment from wher you walk via the Swayambumarg that is dotted with tourist shops selling singing bowls and other handicrafts to the temple. You will enter the main east gate, where 365 steps take you to the top.

At the top you find the Swoyambhu Stupa normally joined by 2 smaller stupa's. The smaller stupa's are currently rebuilt after they were damaged by the earthquake of 2015. At the top you find a magnificent view of Kathmandu Valley and the breathtaking panorama of the northeastern Himalayan range. It's fun to try to locate Retreat Serviced Apartments from here. 

Swayambhunath is a fascinating, chaotic jumble of Buddhist and Hindu iconography where one can see the religious harmony of the vast Nepali culture. Even the 2015 earthquake failed to topple Kathmandu's best-loved temple, though outlying buildings crumbled in the tremor. Coming to Swayambhunath is an intoxicating experience, with ancient carvings all over the space and the smell of incense and butter lamps hanging heavy in the air. The mystical atmosphere is heightened in the morning and evening by local devotees who make a ritual circumnavigation of the stupa, spinning the prayer wheels set into its base. It is a great place to watch the sunset over Kathmandu. The view is splendid at dusk as city lights flicker one by one, and even better when a full moon hangs in the sky. Visit Swayambhunath temple Kathmandu Nepal.

sunset view of Swayambhunath from Retreat Serviced Apartments

According to legend, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake – geological evidence supports this – and the hill now topped by Swayambhunath rose spontaneously from the waters, hence the name Swayambhu, meaning ‘self-arisen’. The compound is centered on a gleaming white stupa, topped by a gilded spire painted with the eyes of the Buddha. Depictions of these eyes appear all over the Kathmandu Valley.

The dome at the base represents the entire world. When a person awakes (represented by eyes of wisdom and compassion) from the bonds of the world, the person reaches the state of enlightenment. The thirteen pinnacles on the top symbolize that sentient beings have to go through the thirteen stages of spiritual realizations to reach enlightenment. There is a large pair of eyes on each of the four sides of the main stupa which represent Wisdom and Compassion.Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye. It is said that when Buddha preaches, cosmic rays emanate from the third eye which acts as messages to heavenly beings so that those interested can come down to earth to listen to the Buddha. The hellish beings and beings below the human realm cannot come to earth to listen to the Buddha's teaching, however, the cosmic rays relieve their suffering when Buddha preaches. Between the two eyes (also called Wisdom Eyes), a curly symbol, symbolizing the nose, is depicted which is a Nepali sign of number figure one. This sign represents the unity of all things existing in the world as well as the only path to enlightenment through the teachings of Buddha.

Each morning before dawn hundreds of Buddhist (Vajrayana) and Hindu pilgrims ascend the 365 steps from the eastern side that lead up the hill, passing the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa.