NEPAL. Kathmandu: Buddhism has always been a part of Nepali cultural life. It has Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, and it has the world’s standout Buddhist sites, the hilltop temple of Swayambhunath and the Great Bouddhanath stupa.
Along with Swayambhunath, the Great Bouddhanath Stupa is the second most important Buddhist shrine and the most liked sightseeing place in Kathmandu. It is the most sacred Stupa for the Tibetan Buddhists and was constructed shortly after the demise of the Buddha using many kilograms of gold for decoration, during the 5th century.
The Stupa reportedly entombs the remains of Kassapa Buddha. As you enter the courtyard, you can see devotees and monks sitting around the Stupa engrossed in their rituals and rotating the hand prayer wheels. The soothing chants of “Om Mane Padme Hum” are mesmerizing and the gong sounding solemnly from the buildings surrounding the Stupa leaves a person spellbound in the musical ambiance.
Boudhanath also called as Boudha in local accent, and situated in the center of city is semicircle shaped. The huge mandala makes it one of the largest spherical Stupas in the world, and is the world largest Chorten. The base of the Stupa structure consists of three large platforms decreasing in size. These platforms symbolise the sky whereas the circular vase supporting the semi-sphere signifies water. The eyes of Buddha painted on Stupa are described as inscrutable, impassive, empathy and shrewd. Around the base of the stupa are 108 small images of the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, and a ring of prayer wheels, set in groups of four or five into 147 niches.
Boudha is a very engrossing and spiritual area where devotees walk more than three times a day (kora) enchanting holy mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum.’ And on special days, they make 108 (108 is an auspicious number in Tibetan culture) kora around the Stupa. You might also come across devotees prostrating themselves full-length on the ground in the courtyard on the east side of the stupa.
Pictures of Dalai Lama, Tibetan ayurvedic medicinal stores, Buddha statue shops, traditional arts shops can also be seen around the Stupa. The variety, and flavors of cuisines found in nearby restaurants are absolutely delicious making you hungry. The restaurants serve variety of foods from Himalayan Yak cheese to branded liquors.