By Vacation India
Women walk around the stupa kathmandu
A vendor outside Boudhanath Stupa sells corn kernels to visitors to feed the birds. In the background people line up to visit the temple © Rojen Maharjan

The greatest monument in all of Nepal is Boudhanath (Open 24 hours), which is 5 kilometers (3 miles) northeast of Kathmandu on land and surrounded by buildings with pastel-colored walls.

Of the numerous Tibetans who have settled in Nepal after 1959, Boudhanath (also known as Bhoudha) is the location of the largest settlement. Few locations outside of Tibet provide such a glimpse into their heritage, and the numerous contemporary temples and rinpoches (high-ranking lamas) who live here have made this one of the most prosperous centers of Tibetan Buddhism on the planet.

pilgrims circle stupa Boudhanath kathmandu

Two elderly pilgrims at the Boudhnath Stupa, just outside Kathmandu. It has a massive mandala, making it one of the largest spherical stupas worldwide © DimaBerkut

The enormous white dome, which is positioned on circular, climbing steps in the potent design of a mandala, is topped by the piercing red, yellow, and blue painted all-seeing eyes of the primordial Buddha. There are 147 insets with supplication wheels and a ring of 108 Buddhist god figures around the base of this massive and startlingly simple stupa. Comparatively easier to reach than Swayambhunath, Boudhanath allows visitors to join the monks and pilgrims on the kora, the traditional clockwise circuit of the dome, by ascending to the foot of the stupa.

During the Losar Tibetan New Year festival, which takes place around February and March, poles are re-lit, sealed, and draped with meditation flags. A Dalai Lama image is displayed in front of multitudes of Tibetans as they dress to the nines and adorn themselves with jewelry as horns bleat in the background. Masked dancing rounds out the festivities on this most joyous and scenic day in the valley.

The area around the Stupa is constantly busy, with travelers and worshippers mixing between butter candle kiosks and souvenir booths as Tibetan music is played from nearby structures.

Shechen Monastery boudhnath kathmandu

Shechen Monastery, near Boudhanath, was one of Tibet’s six major Nyingma monasteries. After its destruction in Tibet in the 1950’s it was rebuilt in the same rich tradition in Nepal by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. At the complex monks receive education, food, shelter, clothing and medical aid free of charge © Omer Serkan Bakir

A large statue of the Buddha inside the Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu. The stupa was declared a World Heritage Site in 1979 © SPmemory

After the 2015 earthquake restoration work needed to be done to the Boudhanath Stupa. Foreign and local donors contributed some $2 million, as well as 31 kg of gold for the stupa’s pinnacle which suffered the most damage © dutourdumonde

Two female Tibetan monks worshiping at the Boudhanath Stupa near Kathmandu. Due to prosecution in China, many Buddhist monks migrated to Tibet © piccaya

Tourist couple walking alongside the prayer flags suspended from the golden pinnacle of the Boudhanath Temple. The flags carry the powerful mantra ‘om mani padme hum’, a rhythmic chant which literally means ‘Praise to the jewel in the lotus.” © Christopher Moswitzer

Three pilgrims in traditional dress at the Boudhanath Temple in Kathmandu. The giant stupa with its whitewashed dome was constructed during the 14th century © ROBERT67

Adult students learn the art of drawing and painting mandalas at an art school in Bhaktapur, often referred to as an open museum. The town is located close to the Boudhanath Temple © ROBERT67

Decorated elephant statues at the Boudhanath Temple. In Buddhism these animals are associated with the Ganesh deity and symbolize wisdom, power and strength © gringos

The Boudhanath Stupa is lit up for the celebration of Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year. The festivities last for 15 days of which the main events take place during the first three days © dutourdumonde

Monks in extravagant masks and elaborate costumes perform a sacred dance during the Tibetan New Year celebrations while young novices watch from behind a railing. These Cham dances took place at the Shechen Monastery near the Boudhanath Temple in Nepal © asiafoto

The Boudhanath Temple is famous for its majestic spherical shaped stupa. The design is highly symbolic where the plinth represents earth, the dome water, the square tower fire, the pinnacle air and the umbrella on top is a symbol of the void in space © Ugurhan Betin

All around the Boudhanath Stupa are any eateries, souvenir shops and other businesses. The stupa is a huge tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year © Stefano Barzellotti

A souvenir shop near the Boudhanath Temple sells images of the Buddha and a variety of other items © Marco Gallo 16. The square towers of the Boudhanath Stupa are painted with the omnipotent eyes of the Buddha looking in the four directions © beemore

The square towers of the Boudhanath Stupa are painted with the omnipotent eyes of the Buddha looking in the four directions © beemore

Traditional musical instruments displayed in a store near the Boudhanath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal © Marco Gallo

Vendors sell devotional butter lamps to worshipers outside the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu © fotoVoyager

A plate filled with money and rice is placed as an offering in the Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu © Marco Gallo

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