Swayambhu literally means 'Self-Existent One.' Swayambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. According to translations from an inscription dating back to 460 A.D.. The most popular as a monkey temple (Swayambhunath Stupa) lies 3 km away from west of Kathmandu on small hill. It is also most visited Buddhists monument and holy shrine for both Hindu and Buddhists which was built by King Manadeva first. In 14th century Mughals from Indian sub continent attacked the Kathmandu valley and destroyed most of the historical monuments. Later it again renovated and during Malla Dynasty’s king Pratap Malla in 17th century enhanced the architecture also added rocky steps to get to the Stupa. At present day, the Stupa is a solid hemisphere of brick and clay, underneath an arrogant conical spire capped by a pinnacle of bronze and copper and has Lord Buddha’s eyes adorned on all the four sides of the spire base.
The mound represents the four elements of earth, fire, wind and water. The 13 gilded rings of the spire symbolize the 13 steps of the ladder leading to Nirvana, the final salvation. The shrine is bedecked in colorful prayer flags. Pilgrims and tourists pass to Swayambhumath’s holy premises through a path of 365 steps. Close to the stupa is the Dewa Dharma monastery, noted for bronaze icon of the Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings. Besides from the hill top travelers can enjoy wonderful views of entire Kathmanadu valley. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri or Saraswati - the Goddess of learning. Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities fill the stupa complex.
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Budhanilkantha-12, KTM. Nepal
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