Buddhism, once born in undivided India as a reforming branch of Hinduism, was spread around 12 nations and in some of them it is the major religious path. With an inherent message of what is important in our lives, Goutam Buddha has taught us about the eternal philosophy- nothing is stable… money goes away, beauty fades with time, people gets old and finally death claims all.
Nepal has around 9% Buddhist population, but many famous buddhist temples.The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath, one of the largest stupa of the world, dominates the Kathmandu skyline. . The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the must visit place in Boudhanath. Our cab driver took us in a back way and told go this way, you don’t have to pay the tickets 😛
The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudnath Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Cā-bahī or ‘Little Boudnath’. Many refugees who entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, settled around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha. Till date, you will see many devotees silently offering their prayer , touching their head in the stupa wall or rotating the prayer wheels.
Along with the monasteries, the whole area is predominated by many souvenir shops displaying varieties of handcrafts, prayer wheels, singing bowls, laughing buddha idols, buddisht religious songs’ CDs, pashmina shawls etc.
There are also many cafes and restaurants as well as hotels nearby. If you want to experience the religion closely, you have an opportunity to stay in the Khawalung monastery near the stupa. I did not know about it, while visiting Kathmandu, otherwise we would have spent at least one night here.
“The rooms are basic, there are shared toilets and showers and the Monastery provides 2 or 3 simple meals a day and coffee & tea. During your stay you can join daily in the morning- and afternoon- Puja with the Monks and if you like to hear anything more about the Monastery or Buddha’s teachings please ask Lopon Jigme Lodoe or one of the other Monks.The rate is 700 Npr per person per night including all the meals. The profit will of course benefit the Monks and the Monastery directly.”
The stupa has an interesting history. It is said that Kāṣyapa was a Buḍḍha who lived a long time before Shākyamuni Buḍḍha. after Kāṣyapa Buḍḍha’s demise, an old woman, with her four sons, interred this great sage’s remains at the spot over which the great mound now stands, the latter having been built by the woman herself. Before starting on the work of construction, she petitioned the King of the time, and obtained permission to “proceed with” building a tower. By the time that, as a result of great sacrifices on the part of the woman and her four sons, the groundwork of the structure had been finished, those who saw it were astonished at the greatness of the scale on which it was undertaken. Especially was this the case with the high officials of the country, who all said that if such a poor old dame were allowed to complete building such a stupendous tower, they themselves would have to dedicated a temple as great as a mountain, and so they decided to ask the King to disallow the further progress of the work. When the King was approached on the matter his Majesty replied: “I have finished giving the order to the woman to proceed with the work. Kings must not eat their words, and I cannot undo my orders now.” So the tower was allowed to be finished, and hence its unique name, “Jya Rung Khashor Chorten Chenpo.” Though the 2015 earthquake has affected it badly, the renovation is going on and we hope to see it in a better shape next time.
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