A Travel Guide to Swayambhunath

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Swayambhunath is one of the oldest religious sites atop a hill within walking distance of 3 km to the west of Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Swayambhu is the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site among Buddhists and followers of Tibetan Buddhism while Hindus call this sacred destination Swayambhunath.

Swayambhunath is home to the large amount of monkeys so peoples call it as Monkey Temple.

When was Swayambhunath built?

This Swayambhunath stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises. Believed to date back to 460 A.D., King Manadeva built it, and by the 13th century, it had become the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage place among Buddhists.

What is Swayambhunath famous for?

UNESCO World Heritage Destination in Kathmandu

Swayambhunath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Destination in Kathmandu, has been the city's pride since the 5th century and is the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site.

Monkey Temple In Kathmandu

This sacred pilgrimage site is also home to hundreds of monkeys living in the northwest parts of the stupa. It is believed that the monkeys transformed from the head lice of Manjushri, one of the Bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism.

You will see those monkeys almost everywhere around the stupa. And now this Swayambhunaath Mahachaitya is nicknamed "Monkey Temple".

Challenging 365 Stone Steps

The main entrance to the stupa has a lengthy around 365(I haven't counted) stone staircase from the road that leads directly to the stupa.

Panoramic View Of Kathmandu

We can view a panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley from Swayambhunath Stupa.

Prayer flags covering the temple

World Peace Pond

As an alternative way to reach the stupa, there is another way to the stupa on the western side of the stupa. The first thing you see is a world peace pond. There is a statue of Buddha in the middle of the pond and a small bowl at the base. The coin and bowl are attractive features here. People test their luck by tossing a coin into a bowl.

The Vajra (Lightning Bolt)

As you make your way up the strenuous 365 stone steps to the stupa, you'll come across a huge brass-plated Vajra (Lightning Bolt) that is decorated with Tibetan calendar animals. This enormous and magnificent lightning bolt attracted the stupa and represents the strength of enlightenment.

Combination of Buddhism and Hinduism

It's common if you see a Hindu devotee near the stupa. Swayambhunath is one of the oldest religious structures of its sort. Several shrines and temples are housed inside the stupa complex.

Hariti Temple, Shakyamuni Temple, and Pratappur Temple are among the most important temples. Swayambhunath stupa is a Buddhist and Hindu shrine. The stupa is a sign of unity since it represents Nepal's combination of Buddhism and Hinduism

Major Tourist Attractions In Swayambhunath Stupa

  1. Magnificent Domed Stupa
  2. The Vajra (Lightning Bolt)
  3. Harati Devi Temple
  4. Shantipur,Pratapur and Anantapur
  5. Shree Karma Raj Mahavihar
  6. World Peace Pond

Opening Hours 
5 AM-8 PM, throughout the week

When to go to Swayambhunath

Make sure you go to Swayambhunath before 9 am to enjoy the stunning sunrise and beautiful panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley

Entry Fee
For locals – Free
For SAARC citizens – NPR 50 per head

For foreigners – NPR 200 per head

Children below the age of 10 are free to enter

How to Get to Swayambhunath Temple? 

Via Taxi: Swayambhunath is around 4 km from Thamel.

Via Local Bus: Local buses routinely depart from Ratnapark and Sundhara towards Swayambhunath.
Swayambhunath Stupa is just around 3 kilometers from Thamel, therefore if you live close, it's best to walk there to avoid traffic.

Wants to visit a similar stupa in Kathmandu Valley? Boudhanath Stupa is similar in terms of the stupa structure and is also a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site.

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