The precise history of the Boudhanath stupa is unknown. This is one of the most sacred sites in Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet. Boudhanath is a Buddhist religious site, or a stupa, located in Kathmandu, Nepal. It’s actually the largest and most sacred Tibetan Buddhist site outside of Tibet itself.
The Boudhanath Stupa has stood as a beacon of Buddhist belief, towering over the surrounding town as a giant mandala of peace and beauty and also giant eyes. Built sometime around the 14th century, the huge meditative monument is said to have been created just after the passing of the Buddha. The huge offering site quickly becomes a focal point of worship and offering in the area. The structure of the building consists of a giant dome, on the top which sits a Buddhist pyramid tower. All of this sits on top of huge steps shaped like mandalas themselves.
Originally the stupa’s spot was on an important trade route which allowed for a steady stream of possible converts. Among the Nepalese in Kathmandu, the stupa is simply referred to as “Chorten Chenpo” which translates to “Great Tower” or just “Great Stupa.” No matter what pilgrims called it, they flocked to the monument in droves.
History of Boudhanath Stupa
At some point after AD 600, the first Stupa at Boudhanath appeared, when the Tibetan ruler Songtsen Gampo changed over to Buddhism. As far as effortlessness and immaculateness of line, no other Stupa in Nepal comes close to Boudhanath. From its whitewashed dome to its glided tower painted with the infinitely knowledgeable eyes of the Buddha, the landmark is flawlessly proportioned. Join the Tibetan travelers on their morning and night Koras (circumambulations) for the best atmosphere.
Bone of Gautama Buddha
The stupa was originally built to house holy relics. It is not certain if anything is interred at Boudhanath. Some claim relics of past Buddha, Kashyapa is interred at Boudhanath Stupa. However, there are some who believe that there is a piece of bone that once belonged to Gautama Buddha.
Significance of Boudhanath
The most important thing about Boudhanath stupa is the many architectural and numerological tributes it pays to Buddhism. From a bird’s eye view, the map of Boudha Kathmandu looks like Mount Meru – the mythical mountain at the centre of the cosmos as per Buddhism. Four meditating Buddha statues guard the four cardinal points of the temple. From the base to the top, there are five different segments that signify each of the five elements of nature. The plinth at the bottom represents earth, upon which the temple is built.
The magnificent white-washed dome is water that sustains life. Above that is a small square base where there are eyes drawn on all. The Boudhanath stupa eyes are said to be Lord Buddha’s watching over the world. On top of that goes up a spire with 13 steps. The triangular shape of the spire represents fire. The 13 steps are to mark the 13 rites of passage to attain enlightenment as said by Buddha. Above the spire, the gilded canopy spread like an umbrella is the embodiment of air and finally the gilded spire; rising above all is what represents the ether, or void or the eternal space.
Special Events at Boudhanath Stupa
Large crowds of Tibetan pilgrims celebrate The Losar (Tibetan New Year) in February or early March. Furthermore, along with a portrait of the Dalai Lama, long copper horns blow along with the various masked dances. Another special event celebrated here is Buddha Jayanti (the Buddha’s birthday) on the full moon of April–May, when a picture of the Buddha gets strutted around the Stupa on an elephant. Moreover, the full moon of March–April, when ethnic Tamangs – the first gatekeepers of the Stupa – combine here to organize relationships, and several qualified ladies are lounging around the Stupa.
Entry Fee For Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa entrance fee for foreign nationals is 400 NPR, for SAARC country nationals is NPR 100 and is free for Nepalese people and children below 10 years of age.
How to get to the Boudhanath Stupa?
Hire a private car to Boudhanath is the easiest and most common form of tourist transport. You can get a car anywhere from Kathmandu Car Rental. Thamel to Boudhanath costs which cost around 2000 rupees.
Restaurants around Boudhanath Stupa
There are plenty of restaurants around the Stupa, with rooftop sitting for and standard tourist menus. Stick to Tibetan food and enjoy the view. Other, more authentic Tibetan restaurants with trademark curtained doors and windows lie in the back lanes of the main road. Most places remain open till 0900 pm.
Destruction and Rebuilding
For centuries, the Boudhanath stupa was an important pilgrimage site and place of worship. However, on April 25 of 2015, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal. The devastation was enormous. Roughly 9,000 people were killed, millions lost their homes, and dozens of important religious sites were severely damaged. Boudhanath was one of them. The domed stupa actually proved relatively resistant to the earthquake, but the spire was destroyed.