A golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill, Swayambhunath Stupa is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles and from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century AD. Its origins however, date to a much earlier time, long before the arrival of Buddhism into the valley. A collection of legends about the site, the 15th century Swayambhu Purana, tells of a miraculous lotus, planted by a past Buddha, which blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley. The lotus mysteriously radiated a brilliant light, and the name of the place came to be Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created or Self-Existent'. Saints, sages and divinities traveled to the lake to venerate this miraculous light for its power in granting enlightenment. During this time, the Bodhisatva Manjushri was meditating at the sacred mountain of Wu Tai Shan and had a vision of the dazzling Swayambhu light. Manjushri flew across the mountains of China and Tibet upon his blue lion to worship the lotus. Deeply impressed by the power of the radiant light, Manjushri felt that if the water were drained out of the lake Swayambhu would become more easily accessible to human pilgrims. With a great sword Manjushri cut a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake. The water, draining away, left the valley of present day Kathmandu. The lotus was then transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayabhunath StupaSwayambhunath's worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa (Newari Buddhists circle in the opposite, counterclockwise direction).
Friday, August 28, 2009
Built between the 12th and the 18th centuries, this complex of palaces, courtyards and temples is the historic seat of royalty. It used to be the seat of ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu. The durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World heritage site, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. Other than a 17th - century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages, interesting things to see here are: Taleju Temple (Built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D., Kal Bhairav, the god of Destruction Nautalle Darbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of king Pratap Malla, the big bell, big drum, the Jagannath Temple and three museums including the numismatic museum and the Tribhuvan Museum. Photography is prohibited inside the museums.
Pashupatinath Temple - situated 5 kms east of Kathmandu on the bank of sacred Bagmati river, the temple of Lord Shiva with two tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its super architecture.
It is a centre of annual pilgrimage on the day of Maha Shivaratri.