Boudhanath Stupa: The Largest Stupa in Asia

Boudhanath temple is one of the most important religious places for Buddhist peoples located about 11km from the center and northeastern edges of Kathmandu. It is one of the three great stupas of Nepal; the two others are Swayambhunath and Namo Buddha.  Boudhanath is also called as  Khasti in Nepal Bhasa, Jyarung Khashor in Tibetan language or as Bauddha in Nepali.

It is known that Boudhanath is the largest stupas in the world, measuring almost 100 m in diameter and 40 m in height. It is also the biggest Stupa in Nepal. Stupas are essential to Buddhism as the cross symbol is to Christianity.

The place named Sankhu was the shortest route for trading between Kathmandu and Tibet in ancient times. Due to this purpose, you can find the mixed combination of Nepali locals and Tibetan people in that area.

HISTORY OF BOUDHANATH

It is said that Boudhanath temple was founded by the Nepalese Liichhavi King Sivadeva.  In 1979, Boudha Stupa was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is said that the plinth represents earth, the Kumbha or dome means water, the harmika or square tower represents fire, the spire is air, and the umbrella at the top is the void. Also, some other people say a piece of bone of Siddhartha Gautama is present in Boudhanath Stupa.

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath Stupa

2015 Earthquake

The devastating earthquake severely damaged the Boudhanath Stupa on Saturday, 25 April 2015.

The whole structure above the dome was severely damaged, which was reconstructed on 22  November  2016, which was funded by the Boudhanath area development committee and some private donations given by Buddhist groups and volunteers for reconstruction.

It was estimated that $2.1 million and more than 30kg of gold were required for the reconstruction. The reconstruction process was prolonged and unmanaged, so many small stupas were left unrepaired.

Boudhanath after Earthquake
Boudhanath after Earthquake

Pictures After reconstruction

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath Stupa

INSIDE OF TEMPLE

There are many small stupas around the central Stupa. There is also Goddess Saraswoti temple near the small stupas, which proves that Nepal is a secular country. The dome is whitewashed continuously, and its base represents the one hundred deities peaceful and wrathful deities. There is one big Mani wheel inside the temple, which is very artistic. The eyes of Lord Buddha are painted on the upper part of the Stupa, which denotes peace and non-violence. Inside the Stupa, we can see that devotes walk more than three times a day enchanting holy mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum.’

Surrounding of Boudha stupa are narrow alleys where the walls are painted with Buddha images. There are many shops inside its territory where we can buy statues and posters of Buddha, Tibetan ayurvedic medicinal stores. Variety flavors of cuisines are also found in nearby restaurants, which is delicious. The restaurants serve a variety of branded liquors and foods brought from Himalayan Yak cheese.

Interesting facts about Boudhanath

1. In 1979, Boudhanath was listed in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed that the Boudhanath stupa is the most worshipped Tibetan Buddhist temple both inside and outside Tibet.

2. Every portion of Boudhanath stupa has parabolic significance: the base, dome, square harmika,  spire, and pinnacle are the five elements.

3. This Stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16- sided wall at the bottom.

4. We can also see the Avalokiteshvara- Om Mani Padme Hum mantra carved on the prayer wheels.

5. On the top of Stupa, the eyes of Buddha are painted on all the four sides of the square tower. Also, there is a question mark type symbol instead of a nose, which is a Nepali character for the number 1. It symbolizes unity and the way to reach enlightenment through the Gautam Buddha’s teaching.

6. At the top of the pyramid, there are thirteen tiers that represent the thirteen steps of initiation, leading to enlightenment.

7. The prayer flags fix to the Stupa carry mantras.  Generally, this flag comes in sets of five.

Reasons to visit Boudhanath

1. Peaceful surrounding

You might be thinking about the area around the Boudhanath stupa is a crowded area with lots of noise and pollution. But let me tell you that, as soon as you enter through the main gate of Boudhanath, you will feel the existence of a peaceful environment that would melt your heart as well.

Also, the people around that area, i.e., known as monks are really kind-hearted and loves to live in peaceful surroundings. You will hear the mind relaxing music of Buddhism all over the area and local shops. Moreover, the stupa itself reflects the peace and harmony.

2. Tamang Gompa Monastery

If you are visiting the Boudhanath Stupa, never miss out to explore and visit the Tamang Gompa Monastery that locates just in front of the stupa entering the gate.  This monastery is the main area where the Buddhist monks pray their prayers every day and where people are also allowed to explore the monastery of a certain area.

Inside the monastery, you will notice the walls carved and filled with murals and Tibetan symbolism. You are also allowed to go to the roof of that monastery and take a breathtaking view of the Boudhanath stupa.

3. Asia’s Largest Buddhist Stupa

Boudhanath stupa was listed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and Asia’s largest Buddhist stupa which will surely be enough and strong reason for you to visit this place.

This stupa is also considered as the most important Tibetan Buddhist stupa. Now through the eyes of a tourist, it is always worth visiting the areas with these special feelings and reasons.

Is it worth visiting Boudhanath?

With all of the above reasons and amazingly important stupa, it is always worth visiting Boudhanath stupa once or multiple times in your lifetime. If you are visiting Kathmandu, then take a short tour to Boudhanath stupa and get all the positive vibes for your future adventure in Nepal

So, yes definitely, it is worth visiting Boudhanath Stupa.