It's one of the destinations which speaks for itself! A UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with its own charisma. Swayambhunath Temple is one of the oldest temples which still stands today even after several earthquakes of 2015. Fondly called the “Monkey Temple” by the locals (as it’s thronged by monkeys all the time!) is a fascinating destination – a perfect ambigature of Hindu and Buddhist ideologies.
One of the perfectly crafted temples of Nepal, it is also the oldest temple. One can see the temple from a distance as the two eyes crafted out stare across the entire valley. Representing unity; it is a representation of Lord Buddha’s all – knowing and seeing eyes.
- Entry Fee : NPR 200 per person
- Timings : All days of the week 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM
- Visit Duration : 2 to 3 hours
History & Present
There is a mythology attached with this temple, which has its own combinations! But the fact is once the entire area of the temple was filled with water. It is in this water that Lotus grew. And thus came out the name Self Created” or Swayambhu! It has been taken from the eternal flame of Hindus over which a STUPA was built. And thus what we see today is the huge massive Nepal architecture called Swayambhunath Temple.
This temple was constructed by great grandfather of King Vrsadeva at the beginning of 5th century. It is said Emperor Ashoka visited this temple
The Temple & Its Surroundings
The temple is a 13 tiered bee-hived structure with the white dome representing the earth and the top representing the 13 stages of human life. Prayer wheels with sacred Buddhist mantra “Mani Padme Hum” embossed on them make this place come to life. Thousands of prayer flags fill in the air with Buddhist prayers on them. At the base there are the statues of Dhyani Buddhas representing five basic qualities of Buddhist wisdom. Surrounded by religious stupas from all around – it’s simply altruistic!
The Eastern Side
If you are visiting the temple, then must visit the eastern side without fail! This side constructed by King Pratap Malla in 17th century, filled with monkeys – so watch your steps, glasses and the cameras! But there is more to it than just the monkeys. A beautiful collection of painted Buddha statues; bass – reliefs plus the stone showing birth of Buddha with mother Maya Devi. Spectacular vision!
Do get reading from the various fortune tellers here if you believe in astrology. On their side are lined up pairs of Garudas, elephants, horses, peacocks, lions – the vehicles of Dhyani Buddha.
It also houses the famous 6m high figure of Shakyamuni – the oldest form of Lord Buddha. Its good to be around this statue around 4 p.m. in the evening as a daily evening prayer is held with enormous sounds of honking horns and chants of Sanskrit sutras.
There are other things to see in the temple. It’s a huge structure – the entire place. Representing the 5 elements of nature – earth, fire, water, air and ether; the hill top of this temple is also a place to be in….