Situated 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, Boudhanath, is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu, visible as soon as you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. It is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley. Boudha Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhu, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.
The 36-meter-high stupa of Boudhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. With countless monasteries surrounding it, Boudhanath is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. It is located on what was a major trade route between Nepal & Tibet. Many traveling merchants used it as a resting place. It is also a popular tourist site. It is known as Khāsti in Nepali and Jyarung Khashor in Tibetan language.There are at least 29 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries & Nunneries) around Boudhanath.
Facts of Boudhanath
Boudhanath has a dome topped with square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides. The Nepali character for the number 1 is used instead of a nose is a question-mark-type symbol. Which actually, symbolises the unity and the way to reach enlightenment—through the Buddha’s teachings. Above this is the third eye, symbolising the wisdom of the Buddha.
Many Buddhist monks & nuns can be seen walking around Boudha Stupa. As a ritual, many people walk three or more times around the stupa for inner peace while repeating the mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.
In early in the morning people can be seen feeding the birds which is considered an act of giving and compassion. It is also common for Buddhist holy places to have organised feeding of birds, fish or animals.
During the days of & surrounding the full moons, the air is often thick with incense & mantras sung by monks, & the number of people visiting the Stupa increases significantly. Boudha is a fascinating & very spiritual area.
People generally travel here in search of inner peace. Walking around the stupa area provides travellers with a sense of spiritual calmness. This can be attributed as one of mysterious charms of Boudhanath.
The culture around Boudhanath is very much Himalayan. It has a strong presence of Tibetans & Sherpas, as can be evidenced by the number of restaurants selling momos, thukpa & other Tibetan foods near to the location.
2015 Nepal earthquake badly damaged Boudhanath Stupa, severely cracking the spire. Hence, the whole structure above the dome, and the religious relics it contained, had to be removed, which was completed by the end of October 2015. The reconstruction began on 3 November 2015 with the ritual placement of a new central pole or “life tree” for the stupa at the top of the dome.
Post Earthquake reconstruction of Boudha was completed 1st among other heritage areas of Nepal. The reconstruction of stupa wasn’t done by the government but local people and collective donations of the public.