One of the largest and most ancient stupas in the world is located 11 km north-east of the center of Kathmandu. Boudhanath Monestry is the most important place of pilgrimage and prayer for Buddhists in the world. Its building dominates the horizon, which is no wonder, since with its height of 40 meters and diameter of 100 meters, it is the largest stupa in Nepal.
From above it looks like a huge mandala or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. Its shape is the classic stupa shape: a dome rises from a square base, topped by a box, which closes with 13 steps tapering in a conical shape, topped by a gilded canopy and gold
spiral is located. These geometrical forms correspond to the basic elements – earth, water, fire, air, space – and the shape of the stupa is reminiscent of the seated meditating Buddha.
The all-seeing eyes of the Buddha were painted on all sides of the square shape enclosing the dome, and prayer flags were attached to the top of the stupa, which are released with the help of the wind and spread the positive power of prayers and mantras to the environment.
Several legends surround the construction of the stupa. According to one, King Bikramadity advised to build a bath (Dhunge Dhara) in the southern part of his palace, but no trace of water was found. The king therefore called his astrologers to a consultation, who suggested that a human sacrifice should be offered in order to find water and defined the conditions that the chosen victim should meet.
During the selection process, only the king and his two princes met the criteria. The king accepted this sacrifice and was beheaded in order to find water. One of the princes, in his grief, vowed to build a stupa to commemorate the king's sacrifice.
According to another legend, many centuries ago there lived a woman named Jadzima, who was very religious and decided to build the largest stupa using her hard-earned savings. When Jadzima died, his four sons continued the construction. During these years, there was a very severe drought in the country and the necessary water for construction was not available. The workers spread clothes on the ground at night to collect the dew and use it for construction. Ten years
finally, when the building was finished, the sun did not set for five days. Heaven was so moved by the dedication of the people during its construction that all 84,000 Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Gods, Goddesses and Dakinis gathered from the ten directions to shower the stupa with flowers and blessings and then intertwine with the stupa. This is why the Boudhanath Stupa is considered the root of Buddhism, representing the mind of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
It is believed that holy water or ambrosia seeps from the stupa once every twelve years. Many people visit the stupa to witness this miracle and to receive the ambrosia and the blessing that comes with it.
The four sons of Jadzima, who helped build the stupa, were reborn later. The eldest son was reborn as the most revered spiritual king of Tibet, Trisong Detsen, who devoted all his energy to the spread of Buddhism. The second son was reborn as the holy monk Santarakshita, who is considered the first monk of Tibet. The third son was reborn as Guru Padmasambhave, considered the second Buddha and the founder of the Bazrayana tradition, defeated and suppressed by the religion
malicious spirits, demons and hostile forces hindering its spread. The fourth son was reborn as one of the Buddhist ministers of the Trisong Detsen dynasty.
It turns out that anyone who circumambulates the stupa with a pure heart and prostrates himself to pray creates good karma, which helps to make all his wishes come true, and thus closes the door to rebirth in the lower levels. The stupa's power and compassionate blessings are beyond the imagination and conception of all sentient beings. That is why generations of believers have prayed and pray with great devotion for protection, inspiration, purification, blessings and miracles at one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world.
Swayambhunath Stupa's tall white dome and glistening golden roof can be seen from long distances from all sides of the Kathmandu Valley.
Historical records found in stone inscriptions prove that the stupa was an important place of pilgrimage already in the 5th century. In Buddhist mythology and origin theory, and in everyday religious practice
occupies a central position and is probably the holiest of Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The complex consists of a stupa, several shrines and temples, and is complemented by a monastery, a museum and a library.
Several legends are associated with the stupa. According to one, long ago the Kathmandu Valley was a large lake from which the Swayambhu hill rose as an island. At the top of the hill stood a natural crystal stupa. Buddha, after visiting the place, said that it was a wish-fulfilling stupa, and whoever was touched by the wind that had touched the stupa before him would be freed from the cycle of existence.
Later, a Chinese Buddhist monk pumped out the lake, making the crystal available
stupa for everyone. Today, the dome-shaped building protects this crystal stupa from robbers.
Another legend also says that there was a lake in the valley. In the middle of this lake, a beautiful golden lotus blossomed. A monk had a vision that showed him the golden lotus, so he traveled there to pray to the flower. Arriving at the lake, he saw that the valley would be a suitable place for pilgrims, so he cut a channel between the mountains, through which he let the water of the lake down. The leaves of the lotus turned into a hill and the flower into a stupa.
The stupa represents the mind of the Buddha, so it is believed that visiting the stupa is the same as meeting the Buddha in person. It offers peace, freedom and joy to the whole world and helps to achieve perfect enlightenment. The stupa softens physical and mental difficulties, diseases, famine, and conflicts.
An interesting feature of the stupa is that it functions not only as a Buddhist but also as a Hindu place of pilgrimage.
Before sunrise, many Buddhist and Hindu monks climb the 365 steps leading to the mountain and begin their anti-clockwise walk around the stupa.