• Last Updated on May 6, 2022

Swayambhunath Stupa: Cultural Heritage site in Kathmandu

The Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, is a revered Buddhist Chaitya that is believed to be over 2,000 years old. The iconic spire is adorned with the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha on all four sides. Perched atop a hillock that rises 77 meters tall, the temple is located just 3 kilometers west of Kathmandu city.

Swayambhunath Stupa is a sacred Buddhist site located in Kathmandu. It was constructed around 250 B.C. and is a beautiful example of traditional Buddhist architecture. The white dome represents the pure gem of Nirvana, while the thirteen-layered golden spire atop the dome symbolizes enlightenment. The Stupa also features four all-seeing eyes of Buddha painted on each side, adding to its spiritual significance.

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A brief history of Swayambhunath Stupa

The history of Swayambhunath Stupa is steeped in both oral tradition and written records. According to Buddhist folklore, over 2,000 years ago, the Kathmandu Valley was submerged in water. From this lake, a single lotus blossom emerged, and the valley became known as Swayambhu, meaning "self-made" or "self-existent one." Both ancient sacred texts and archaeological evidence support this story, making Swayambhunath Stupa a significant cultural and religious site in Nepal.

The history of Swayambhunath Stupa is steeped in legend and mythology. One story tells of a sanctuary that emerged from a lake with an eternal flame, upon which the stupa was built. Another tale involves Manjushree, who used his sword to split open a mountain and reveal the valley below, from which the stupa emerged from a lotus. According to written records, King Vasudeva (Vyasadeva) is said to have built the sanctuary at the beginning of the fifth century. Regardless of its origins, Swayambhunath Stupa remains a significant religious site in Nepal.

The history of Swayambhunath Stupa dates back to 640 when King Mānadeva is believed to have done some work at the site. It is speculated that the stupa emerged from a series of smaller temples on the hill, which eventually merged into the large stupa that stands today. During the 17th century, Pratap Malla constructed the long stairs that lead up to the stupa. Today, Swayambhunath Stupa is recognized as the most impressive stupa in Nepal, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Dipankar Buddha in Swayambhunath Stupa

Interesting facts about Swayambhunath Stupa

  • Swayambhunath Stupa is one of the biggest stupas on the planet, estimating nearly 100 meters in width and 40 meters in height. On the off chance that you get the opportunity to visit the Patan Museum in Patan Durbar Square, you'll have an opportunity to see relative models of different stupas (a.k.a. chaityas), that frame some portion of a far-reaching show on the stupa.
  • In reality, regardless of whether it is the model or a genuine article, this world legacy landmark is a grand sight. Not just that, the zone in which it is found, that is Swayambhu, was once practically like a kingdom in itself.

Buddha Statue in Swayambhunath Stupa

  • Swayambhunath got its another famous name "Monkey Temple" because Manjushree, the bodhisattva of intelligence, and training was raised on the hill, which the Swayambhu Temple presently remains. There is one more interesting story about the stupa that once the head lice changed into the monkeys that presently live around the sanctuary.
  • Things You Would See Around Swayambhunath Stupa
  • Down a trip of ventures from Shantipur is a gathering of small stupas, a ringer, and the world harmony lake. To the back of the lake is a small wood. Then inverse the world harmony lake is the side access to the stupa complex.
  • Simply up the slope is Wochen Thokjay Choeling Monastery. In the interim outside the stupa's side passageway is the regular history exhibition hall, and further along, the street Buddha Park, which contains some noteworthy humongous Buddha statues. For day-trippers or those needing to make the most out of their visit, it's profoundly recommended you found out about the structures and privileged insights around Swayambhunath.

Things To Do Near Swayambhunath Stupa

  • There's a whole other world to do around Swayambhunath than most manuals let you know. Typically, it's a 1-hour stumble on a visit. Benefit from your extra charge by getting the best manual for Nepal. Here are only a couple of highlights.
  • Climb the full 365 steps to the top and take a breather up to appreciate the little stupas and monkeys, and watch vendors' costs going up!
  • Circle the stupa at the very top (clockwise)
  • Do visit the little sanctuaries and holy places around the main stupa.
  • Visit one of the many singing bowl stores in the back lanes at the best, and enjoy the sights of Kathmandu from there.
  • On the off chance that you have time stroll down the stairs behind the stupa to the world peace pond.
  • To the back is a Buddha Park while towards the south is a characteristic history historical center.
  • There's additionally a religious community close to the best behind harmony lake too.

Note: Be careful with the monkeys - they take sustenance, and sparkly items and will take things from your hand or pack! Moreover, be careful with trinket store, which can cost around Swayambhunath - Nrs 200 singing bowl may set you back Nrs 2,000 here.


A visit to Swayambhunath Stupa is included in Kathmandu Half Day tour or Kathmandu Full Day Tour, Taste of Nepal Tour, Spirit of Nepal, Glimpse of Nepal Tour and most of the trek package under Outfitter Himalaya.

Arjun Rijal

Arjun Rijal

Hello, Hi & Namaste from the Himalayas !!!

I am Arjun Rijal, Founder Director of the Outfitter Himalaya Holidays P. Ltd & working as a travel planner/consultant for Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet Travel. I love hiking, trekking, and traveling.

I have been in most of the trekking regions in Nepal, that include Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base camp, Annapurna Circuit, Manaslu, and Langtang. I also have travelled to Bhutan, India & planning further travel to many other countries in the world.

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