Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Swanky Swayambhu

On a hilltop just west of central Kathmandu sits one of the finest Buddhist temples in the area. Featuring a grand stupa and a commanding view of the city, Swayambhu is a great place to get acquainted with the Buddhist faith and take in a nice panorama of Kathmandu. Not to mention some Rocky-like exercise climbing the bazzilion stairs to the site. You gotta work for the faith.

How old? Buddhists showed up in the valley around two thousand years ago and the temple dates to perhaps the fifth century. We know, we read it in The Rough Guide. Buddhist stupas are constantly being re-plastered and painted so they always look like Tom Sawyer and his friends just finished a job. Fresh!

The front entrance, bottom of the stairs, east side of the site. A daunting climb awaits.

The stupa. The eyes of Adi-Buddha are always on you and the rings above the eyes count to 13, the steps of enlightenment. Enough getting stared at, time to take in the view and do some staring of our own.

Spinning prayer wheels are a staple at temples. They'll ring the stupa and also be found around other buildings. Always clockwise! More wheels outside the temple.

And let's go in for the beautiful close-up. It's a nice touch, walk around, spin a 100 wheels and power pray. A final detail of the intricate architecture. 

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