Located in Kathmandu, Nepal, Boudhanath, also known as Boudha, is a stupa. The Buddha’s relics and remains are kept inside the semicircular-shaped Boudha stupa. One of the biggest spherical stupas in the world, the stupa has a huge mandala. One of the top tourist attractions in Kathmandu is the Boudha Stupa, which was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in 1979.
The first stupa was probably constructed sometime after 600 AD, when the two wives of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo converted him to Buddhism. The current stupa structure was most likely constructed in the aftermath of the Mughal invaders’ destruction in the fourteenth century.
The enormous Boudhanath stupa acts as a horizon between the ground and the sky and as a portal to heaven. Three enormous platforms that get narrower make up the stupa structure’s base.
These platforms stand in for the sky, whereas the semi-sphere is supported by a circular vase, which represents water. The Buddha’s painted eyes on the stupa have been variously described as opaque, apathetic, empathic, and cunning. The Stupa’s building incorporates the five elements that best characterize Buddha: earth, air, water, fire, and space.
- Biggest Stupa in the World:
The first is the fact that this temple is one of the biggest in the entire planet. That’s because this temple’s diameter approaches 100 meters. That is around the size of a soccer field on average. You can be certain that Boudhanath is the largest temple in Nepal because to the available area for it.
The second fascinating feature about this Buddhist temple is that Boudhanath is quite well-known among Tibetans. This is so because many Tibetans regard this temple as a hallowed site. You should also not be surprised if many Tibetan Buddhists are making frequent trips to this temple in Nepal to pray or engage in similar activities.
One of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage places in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu, Boudha is a breathtaking and spiritual place. Monks engage in prayer and music on the day of the full moon, and all Buddhists visit the location as part of their pilgrimage.
Many individuals perform a daily ritual of circumambulating the stupa three or more times while chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” out loud (in a “kora”). Mantras and prayers are carried to heaven by prayer flags attached to the stupa that flutter in the wind. The stupa is a popular destination for prayer by people of all cultures, despite the fact that it is a sacred space for Buddhists. At 36 meters high, the location is extremely fascinating, with intriguing energies and symbols hidden around every corner.
- The Three Dimensional Mandala:
The stupa’s architecture is magnificent and extraordinary to see. The stupa is a three-dimensional mandala since it also consists of alternate squares and circles. Many religious views are held within this building. The base, square harmika, dome, spire, and pinnacle of each stupa structure have symbolic meaning.
These are the stupa’s five components. In this temple, Hindus practice their strong religious convictions. The stupa’s nine levels stand in for the fictitious Mt. Meru, the cosmic center, and the 13 rings that connect its base to its summit stand for the route to enlightenment, or “Bodhi”—hence the stupa’s name. A crooked 16-sided wall encircles the stupa at its base.
The sculptures around the foot of Boudhanath Stupa feature the 108 forms of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani), who is directly related to the stupa. Avalokiteshvara’s mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, is etched next to his representations on the prayer wheels that round the stupa’s base.
- Shopping Hub for Many Cultural Products:
For many people, Boudhanath serves as a center for shopping. A variety of stores exist that sell both branded and locally produced goods. Tara Oriental is widely recognized for its cashmere products, Drichu is well renowned for its handcrafted clothing, and you may discover classic Thangka paintings, which are well known throughout the world.
Inside the stupa’s grounds, there is a Thangka learning center that you can visit. Numerous opulent hotels, like the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, Hotel Tibet International, Ghangri Boutique Hotel, and Shambaling Boutique Hotel, are located close to Boudhanath. The biggest celebration in Nepal is held at Boudhanath during the Losar festival (also known as the Tibetan New Year) in February or March. The Boudhanath stupa receives hundreds of visitors each day and is open every day for 24 hours.
Even though it is crowded, the location is nonetheless extremely quiet. People of all ages visit this location to relax, take leisurely strolls, take pictures, eat delectable meals, and, most importantly, to find mental tranquility. Being in the heart of Kathmandu, it is quite convenient to travel there, and the airport is only a short distance away. From high-rise buildings, distant hotels, and residences, we can also see Boudhanath. It is a must-see location in Kathmandu.
- Eyes of Buddha:
The stupa’s hemisphere is supported by a circular plinth-like structure that is visible on the stupa’s summit. The water was indicated by this construction. Along with having square towers on top, the stupa has the eyes of Buddha painted on each of its four sides.
The Nepali character for harmony, the nose structure, is also depicted on the base of the eyes. The path to enlightenment, which was taught during the study of Buddhism, is also shown by this structure. Additionally, there is a third constructed eye above the two others, which stands for Buddhist wisdom. The summit of the tower has a pyramid with thirteen stages, representing the enlightenment’s thirteen initiation steps. The abstract representation of the fire element is a triangle.
The fifth element in Buddhist philosophy is symbolized by the spire, which is “symbolic of ether and the Buddha Vairocana,” and is embodied by the gilded canopy atop the stairs.
- The five sets of prayer flags:
A flag is tied at the stupa’s summit. Some of the world’s prayers and mantras are contained in this prayer flag. The flag is constantly flapping in the wind. There are five sets of prayer flags available, and each set comes in a variety of color options. These five hues reveal the five different sorts of illumination while also denoting the elements. Many birds come to the stupa in the morning, and the birds were fed here. The events taking place in the stupa are part of the everyday ritual. The practice of feeding fish, birds, or other animals is prevalent in Buddhism.